Your family line is as much a puzzle as it is a tree with roots and branches. Researching your family means answering questions and digging up one person’s story and those findings can lead to more stories. You can make piecing together your family history as detailed as you’d like or as simple as possible.
Maybe you want to know more about a grandparent’s childhood like I have–my grandmother is pictured as a 4-year-old in the above photo–or learn about your distant cousins. Uncovering their stories could lead you to an in-depth study of genealogy.
What is Family Research?
Family research often begins with discovering facts like when a great-grandparent lived and when they were born or died. But digging through genealogy is much more than uncovering facts. It may also link you with distant relatives who could provide stories about the relatives you’re searching for.
You’re acting more like a detective who’s finding clues and then piecing them together to create a whole picture.
Are Family Photos Enough?
Pictures of your distant relatives complement the stories you uncover—and the stories you uncover give added meaning to your photos. You can give your children and grandchildren inspiring stories to let them know about challenges that relatives overcame and to show the positive family values that were passed along from one generation to another.
Sharing photos can also connect you with relatives you didn’t know you had.
Resources for Researching Family
Newspaper obituaries are helpful places to begin and may offer a few paragraphs or longer. County historical societies may also unearth information about specific individuals and about the lives they lived during a period of time.
For example, in Los Angeles County the cities of Cerritos, Artesia and Downey were home to many small dairy farms as recently as the 1960s and 1950s. If you had relatives in that area you could write about the milk they’d buy from the small, local dairies and maybe the types of cars they drove.
A free resource to use is the U.S. Gen Web project where you can easily search historical records for states and counties. County coordinators are volunteers and if they can’t do “on the ground” research they can research online or guide you.
If you need to make a plan on getting started with extensive family research or you get stuck along the way then professional researchers are available through FOREVER®, a company that provides an all-in-one solution to help you preserve your most meaningful memories.
You can select a research plan or book a consultation and see the progress being made as I show in the image capture below.
As you piece your story together, the next step is storing everything safely—and permanently.
Permanent Storage for Family Research
You can store your photos and narrative documents together in one safe place using FOREVER®, a service I use personally and advise my clients to use. FOREVER® guarantees permanent storage that’s designed to last because the company is committed to staying up to date with the inevitable changes in technology.
The company also has various contingency plans in place in case of natural or manmade disasters.
You can upload photos and write brief or lengthy descriptions of each picture. Make them as long as you’d like or brief like one or two sentences.
A benefit in using FOREVER® is that your content isn’t subject to data mining for marketing purposes because you own your space. You also don’t have to worry about Terms of Service that let social media companies and low-cost photo storage sites make random decisions that can negatively affect your account.
With FOREVER®, you’re in control over the photos, slide shows, VHS tapes and more that you upload and store.
Contact me and ask what I’ve learned in researching my family. I’ll be glad to help you get started.
It’s fun and easy to write your family story. Check the Events page on my website and join friends of mine who encourage each other and offer tips on journaling notes and writing their family’s stories as they uncover facts and stories.
You’re invited to try FOREVER® for free with 2GB of free storage. See for yourself how easy it is to upload photos and older media files that you can easily digitize.