What Is Genealogy?

Genealogy is the study of your family lineage. It traces your ancestry back through time giving a name and a place where you came from. Genealogy focuses mainly on tracing the names and people. It does not go into the stories and occupations of a person. This is a straightforward approach to learning about your lineage.

Family history looks at the bigger picture. A family history will contain the genealogical records of a family, but it will also look at the lives of those people in your family. A family history may share the occupation, look at journal entries, old letters and family events that shaped the family. It also looks for the siblings of your direct ancestors as a way to fill in additional holes.

Often people will begin to do their genealogy and then realize that they want to learn more about their family history. They may try to learn more about the region that the family lived in and the politics or lifestyle that they experienced.

People who do genealogy often want to pass their discoveries on to the next generation. They may do this with just a genealogical chart, but they may also pass on the stories and family history of their generation. With technology this can be expanded to contain old home movies, voice recordings as well as journals and letters.

Genealogy can give you an anchor to your past, and help future generations learn more about you. It connects the links of the family through time. There are times when family may fall out of contact with each other, but genealogy can reconnect them. It can be a great teaching tool for younger generations.

Genealogy charts, books and family history stories and books can make a great gift for the next generation. As you do your research and being making your records, you should decide why you are doing your genealogy and keep your records with that in mind. If you plan to present the information to your children or grandchildren think of things you can use to make the information more accessible to them.