How can I track my ancestors

Genealogy: How to Research Family History

Where is our family from? How to answer questions from grandchildren and where to find information about your own family tree.

© dpa

Who is the baby in the stroller? Anyone looking for their ancestors will find important clues in photo albums from the past.

When her grandson was born, her mother-in-law Helga Scabell told of the eventful life story of her husband. For Scabell this was the trigger to go in search of clues and delve into genealogy. "In the meantime I have found Scabells all over the world," says the woman from Bremen, who never let go of the genealogy.

Genealogy based on old family photos

Often old photos or documents of deceased family members arouse interest in one's own ancestors. Sifting through the old recordings and sorting documents is the start of the hobby genealogy: "Try to find out who can be seen in the pictures and write it down on the back," advises the genealogist Andrea Bentschneider from Hamburg.

Genealogy with conversations and software!

Step one is to gather information. This inventory also includes talking to older relatives. "Make a note of everything - or let a dictation machine run along," recommends Scabell. “It is important to be well organized right from the start. Otherwise the overview is quickly lost, ”says Bentschneider, who recommends careful documentation. Computer programs are helpful here - step two on the way to the pedigree. "There are around 60 different ones on the market - from freeware to expensive purchase programs," says Bentschneider.

Genealogy on the internet

Data can also be entered online - another step in the family tree. Offers such as the free CompGen metasearch can be used for this purpose. For other platforms, however, fees apply. This is the case with, for example: Data entry is also free of charge here. Access to the databases, on the other hand, requires membership, which, depending on the scope, costs up to 21.95 euros per month.

Genealogy needs archives, registry offices and church records

Both platforms enable the exchange with other genealogists and the comparison of data: Perhaps someone has already done research on certain people? You can find out about this quickly via the Internet. Access to millions of data sets stored online makes your own family research easier, but does not completely replace searches in archives, registry offices and church registers on site.

Hire professional genealogists for genealogy

If you want to complete your pedigree but don't want to go looking for it yourself, you will find support from a professional who can be found through the Association of German-speaking Professional Genealogists. “The price range varies depending on what the customer wants. That starts at 50 euros for procuring a certain certificate and can climb up to 25,000 euros. This does, however, contain a comprehensive family tree and trips abroad or the like, ”explains Andrea Bentschneider.

Pedigree researchable up to around 1700

As a rule, the pedigree can be traced back to around 1700. That is how far the church records go back, one of the most important sources. From around 1875 civil status data was also recorded by the registry offices. They are also a treasure trove for family history researchers. In addition, army directories, passenger lists of ships that German emigrants brought to their new homeland, or other historical evidence provide insights into the world of the ancestors.

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Name research by the name advice center of the University of Leipzig

Sometimes access via name research may also help. The contact point is then, for example, the name advice center of the University of Leipzig. "The rarer the family name, the greater the chance you have of finding out something this way," says specialist advisor Gabriele Rodriguez. Regional references, for example, can often be made using the spelling. This gives genealogists clues as to where they should look further.

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Source: dpa

| Updated: Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:31 am

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