Family History Vs Genealogy

Family History

Making a family tree that reaches back several centuries is a major undertaking which reveals who were your ancestors and in a way, tells you who you are. But on the other hand, a chart of names and dates does not reveal much about your family history. Who were all those people, what were they doing, how they lived, etc. Genealogy does not answer these and other questions you may have about your ancestors. Family history, on the other hand, does. However, a lot of research is required to be able to get a wider picture about your family history and who your ancestors really were.

If you would like to trace your family history rather than simply create a family tree, you need to go through the very same records that are used for making family trees. If you already made a family tree, you will obviously have a lot easier job than if you just started to gather information from your family members and relatives. On the other hand, starting from scratch enables you to make both your family tree and get a wider picture about your ancestors at the same time. In addition, you are less likely to go the “wrong way” back if you are not only tracing names and dates.

Many highly useful information that can help you find out more about your ancestors can be found in the classic genealogical sources which are used to make family trees including birth and death records, marriage certificates, census, etc. For example, a marriage certificate does not only reveal the names of the bride and groom and the date of their marriage but it also reveals their occupation and address, witness names as well as the names and occupation of the fathers of the married couple. With a little bit of further research, these information can tell you a lot about how the newly married couple lived. Unfortunately, marriage records began only in 1837 in England and Wales, and a few years later in Scotland and Ireland. For marriages that occurred earlier, use religious records which are kept by the religious institutions.

The census is another great source for family history because it reveals a lot about a person’s life – occupation, if disabled – the nature of disability, number of rooms with one or more windows (in Scotland), marital status and other personal information. The census, however, gives more detailed information about the UK’s population only from 1841, while the amount and type of information vary from one survey to another as well as from country to country.

Other sources worth researching include military records, wills and newspapers. But unless you have famous ancestors, you should also do some research on local history in order to get a better sense of how their life could have been like.