In my experience it can also be pretty challenging.
But as a beginner to the computer and finding that a challenge, I found that when the genealogy bug bit me at the beginning
of 2002, it was a great motivator!! Also much more interesting than simply beating the terror of it all, learning
how to send emails and trying to find my way around my new toy, the computer, and Microsoft Word. Eventually I became
a little more enlightened and daring.
I was very fortunate that my maternal grandmother,
had been a meticulous keeper of official papers. She had her own birth certificate (original) which gave me the names
of her parents, and also the date and place of their marriage. She also had her marriage certificate, her father's wedding
certificate, my grandfather's birth certificate, and those of my mother and her sister, plus their marriage certificates.
She even had my father's birth certificate. All of these were also original!
I was incredibly lucky to have all this information
to hand before I even began. I was also incredibly lucky that this maternal family of mine was Scottish, and I have
learned that Scottish Certificates hold an incredible amount of information, particularly the early ones.
If you are just starting out, free - familysearch.org
- and Ancestry.com are great places to do searches and find information about your ancestors. And you can also create
an online tree. Even if you only have the name of your great grandmother there is a good chance you will find a record
Another good place to start looking for information
and connections is Rootsweb.com and Genealogy.com. These two sites have an amazing number of forums, every surname
you can think of and every place you can think of. There is even one for Wellington, New Zealand, and we're a pretty
tiny corner of the world down here. You can search and post messages by topic interest, surname or locality. These sites
are free to register and use. Genealogy.com however, has become a read only board, but still very valuable for researching
your names and location. Existing entries will still be available to search and browse.
An excellent free forum, and probably the most helpful I have used over
the last few years, is - rootschat.com - this is just great for beginners, and esperienced researchers alike. it's interactive, with
experienced and friendly volunteers to answer your questions and help you with your research.
Also beautiful photo restorations, and dating, handwriting deciphering
from some of the old documents. Lots of pointers and resources there. And perhaps you may soon feel
able to contribute some help yourself. Certainly worth a visit to rootschat.com
As you will see on the next page, I
have compiled a list of links that have been extremely helpful to me in my research. And remember good old Mr.
Google!! And not just as a last resort. Simply typing in a name and location could bring you a sweet surpise.
Just try it!
Once I had some names and dates then I could
begin looking for more information about the lives and times of my ancestors. I wanted more than just names
and dates. I wanted to see how they had lived!
My Scottish families were from a coal
mining area of Ayrshire in Scotland, in a little village called New Cumnock. So that's when good old "GOOGLE" came in.
My best friend!! Hence all the links to the New Cumnock & Ayrshire web-sites.
Good luck should you decide to have a go, and happy
hunting!! I have met many family members on the internet, made new friends and have managed to trace living
relatives all around the world. Not only I have traced them, I've travelled to UK twice and met a lot of my
relatives and friends. It's a wonderful hobby, and yes, fun and rewarding.
So do try it! You can start by asking your parents and grandparents lots
of questions about their families. Who were they, where did they came from, and how did they live? Do they remember any family
stories to tell you.
Were they hard working coal miners like like my maternal side, or were they hardworking,
affluent and wealthy, as my paternal side. What a contrast!
My grandparents and parents had all passed away by the time I got motivated to start
my research, but fortunately my grandmother had left a little box of treasure in one of the top cupboards in her kitchen.
It was full of birth and marriage certificates. She also had some beautiful photos, and had talked to me about her family
since I was a wee girl!
Encourage your children to become interested too, even it they're grown up! Just tell
them little stories and events from your own past, and if they ever decide to take up this fascinating past-time, they will
be able to add their own generation's story to what you already have recorded.
So make a start early, its a life-time journey, and well worth it!