Tips for Learning How to Find Where Your Ancestors Lived

by Staff & Contributors

Many families have their own set of mythology or origin stories but like family histories, these myths and stories change shape as they pass from generation to generation and from an individual to another family member.

Every family sleuth will get stumped from time to time while researching their ancestry. However, the birth of the internet and genetic research have taken a lot of the tedium and expense out of genealogical studies.

The most helpful tool in discovering where your ancestors called home is to buy a DNA test and take a deep dive into your ancestry to see how your family has moved across the world over thousands of years.

DNA Testing

Unfortunately, not all genome screens are created equally. There are certain variables to consider before purchasing a DNA test because some of them are no more than accurate than a fortune teller. DNA Weekly is an objective comparison website that accurately rates and reviews genetic tests that are available on the consumer market today.

They offer advice on how to select the most suitable test for your needs and how to interpret the results when you receive them.

An important tip to remember is that the more genetic samples the laboratory has, the better chances you have of finding genetic and chromosomal matches.

Family Search

The Mormon faith believes it is the duty of the faithful to baptize the dead so that they may be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Mormons also strongly believe in being of service and helping others.

Baptizing the dead is not without its pitfalls. Private organizations (even some as benevolent as the Mormon Church) receive criticism for keeping records concerning the ancestry of millions of people.

Family Search is a website that has access to millions of genealogical records. Family Search belongs to the Mormon Church but is free for anyone to use. By far and wide Family Search is the absolute best free resource available to amateur genealogists. There are family tree templates, guides for troubleshooting when you get stuck in your research, and honest recommendations about outside resources and their usability.

The Mormon Church like most organizations with mass genealogical data is held to the letter of the law. Accessing information concerning living family members is considerably more difficult than older ancestors. It is easy to understand why such caution is necessary if you remember how Nazi Germany used similar records to kill nearly 20 million innocent people just because of their heritage.

Talk to Your Family Members

POne of the most under-utilized resources by family sleuths are their families.

Memories are tricky things and our minds can alter memories to suit a preferred narrative that makes sense to the person remembering the past.

Discussing family origins with older members of your family can clarify facts from fantasy and help you narrow down the origins of your ancestors. Ask to see old photos, keepsakes, and any other memorabilia that might be able to confirm your theories about your ancestral home.

Examine Case Studies

Perhaps the most famous genealogist, Elizabeth Shown Mills, is the best person to study when it comes to the wide world of ancestral case studies. Mills’ website ‘Historic Pathways’ is the best way to start examining case studies.

A genealogical case study can provide ideas and tips on how to proceed when you have exhausted all the traditional resources available to you. Case studies often document how a genealogist has discovered crucial data through creative troubleshooting.

DNA testing can also come in handy to verify the information that you have already found and provides many other leads to finding where your ancestors lived and where your family truly originated.

Previous post:

Next post: