Until recent times, the law of inheritance in England and the United States stated that if a human being was born outside of wedlock, and therefore did not have a documented legitimate ancestor, he or she was a bastard, and was considered unfit to inherit anything from which a family owned. This idea of feudal and Saxon origin was formed in the early 1800’s when much of society’s laws were governed by Royal bloodlines and class determined a person’s fate and existence. You may also see family tree diagram templates.
A “bastard” therefore was barred from certain civil rights, reducing an individual to less than half a person unless his or her origins were known. Even in ancient times, where you came from pretty much defined who you were, and it was a son’s duty to continue what his father did, and his father before him. You may also see photo family tree templates.
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Back then, a person was always identified as some man’s son, and if your father’s name was worth a dime, you wear it with pride wherever you go, and protect it more than your life. That’s how serious it was. Families played a crucial part in forming kingdoms, communities, and a nation. You go where your family goes and when you tarnish the family name, they had every right to banish you from you from your father’s house and their lives. You may also see 3 generation family tree templates.
It was considered a just act, and people, especially noblemen, made the most unthinkable sacrifices in the name of their families. You don’t get to live your life the way you want to, which is a freedom most of us enjoy today, because we were fortunate to be born at a time that allows us to become who we want to be, as opposed to becoming who are our fathers were, just like their fathers, and their father’s father before them. You may also see free family tree templates.
We no longer have to continue such a cycle, and that didn’t make our families any less important to us, nor did it mean we don’t love our parents enough to let them dictate our lives even before we even uttered our first words as children. You may also see large family tree templates.
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More than legacy, and royalty or not, it remains important to know the people in your family who lived in more difficult times, if only to understand further who your great-grandparents were, how they lived and what challenges they had to face to survive the times. While your family’s history doesn’t define you, knowing it will help you understand a big part of who you are. You may also see simple family tree templates.
Today it’s becoming more common for people to research their origin and know more about their ancestors, through creating a family tree, since it’s probably the best and most organized way of getting one’s lineage traced as far back as your discoveries can allow. After all, you’re using the same idea with genealogy and the latter is as much about having the right view and managing expectations just as much as it is about the who, what, where, when and how of your ancestors.
You can use different strategies, whatever would be helpful for you to have a better perspective on what you need to have a sample family tree that you and your family can always refer to, when you need to make sure who’s who, among your relatives and great-grandparents, just as long as you also learn more about the other members of your family, living and dead.
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Picture this. You’re constantly told you’re the spitting image of a great-grandmother. Or that you share your father’s love for the guitar which would be hardly surprising of course. But imagine you and your siblings’ surprise if you somehow find an old, old family picture dated more than a hundred years ago and see that there’s a striking resemblance to the people there to the ones you look at in the mirror every day. You may also see 4-generation family tree templates.
Some people will let it pass as something natural, which it is, in many ways. But there should be more than just accepting you share the same traits and facial features to people in your family who lived ages and ages ago. It should make you want to find it more, because stories of people who lived a long time ago are always fascinating, let alone those who are related to you. Maybe it’s a school project.
Maybe it’s for the sake of feeding your curiosity. Or maybe you want to take on this challenge as a learning experience and a very personal one because it should be really just as personal as it is educational on so many levels. Fortunately, a free family tree can help make that possible, if you do it right.
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What’s a Family Tree?
A family tree by definition is a pedigree chart representing family relationships in a conventional tree structure. The more detailed types of family trees that are used in medicine and social work are known as genograms. Family trees are often presented with the oldest generations at the top and the newer generations at the bottom. As things change, they can also develop to something more important than just serving as reference and charts to distinguish one family member from another. You may also see large family tree templates.
This is because establishing lineage sometimes play a big part in people’s rights to gaining a property, can be used in a court of law for proving or disproving points, and inheritance, all of which has the ability to cause damage or be changed by conflicts, disasters, and diseases. Just think about the families that were torn apart by World War II and the disputes over land ownership in Europe when common law existed and was only settled through the establishment of family trees. You may also see family tree art templates.
A family tree showing your ancestors will obviously resemble a tree in its shape, which would be wider at the top part than the bottom. Family trees can have different themes. You can choose to put all direct descendants of a single figure, or you can go as far as including all ancestors recorded of a living individual. Others might go for a tree to have an organizational chart for a company or an organization, holders of a certain office of a government or monarchy, like the Kings of England.
This would heavily be based on what we refer to as dynamic marriage to keep the links together between dynasties, and knowing where you’d get your sources and getting the information you need is also not enough to get your family tree constructed yet. You may also see free family tree templates.
Building a Family Tree
There’s no perfect time for knowing the people from your older generation. When you think you’re more than prepared to do it, you may still feel like you’re working on a great puzzle with pieces that don’t add up because there’s a great uncle here and another cousin to be added. Tying the ropes would seem more challenging than when you have made the outline, but you still got this. You can work on each line or period based on what you have researched. You may also see simple family tree templates.
Remember that this wasn’t meant to be an easy task, especially if you have decided to put more than just faces to the names but the most important information about each member and a trivia or two. For most people, doing this has its perks because you’ll find out one great grandfather lived and fought in the Civil War. Or your mother’s great-grandmother was friends with a female American author, a cousin twice removed had been part of the 60’s counterculture movement, and so on. You may also see family tree chart in excel.
You’ll have one surprise after another and that would be the best part of making your family tree. Because you can never tell with history, especially if you’re uncovering pieces of your family’s past. Even if you find out something you don’t like, it will still be worth the research. You surely know that there isn’t a family who doesn’t have bad secrets. You may also see family tree templates for kids.
There are people who have a special kind of nostalgia. The kind you have for people you can’t put a face on and places you have no idea where to find. But there’s also that rare connection you get out of visiting places you have never been to and feeling a rare kind of connection to them, knowing that they’re tied with your ancestor’s stories. You may also see blank family trees.
It also somehow allows you to develop a stronger connection with the rest of the world since most of the family histories are often about stories of immigrants that crossed oceans and many borders to escape wars, have a better life and eventually have children that would become the citizens of the world. You may also see family tree book templates.
There are even others who are so determined and focused in discovering more about their heritage that they go joining online organizations for studying and exploring lineage, heritage, family bloodlines and genealogy in general which isn’t such a bad thing. But there’s an easier option which is to use a family tree and update it as needed. You may also see family tree builders.
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Determine The Size Of Your Family
This will take you back to the basics. You need to check just how big your family is. You may want to think about your cousins, relatives, or just limit it to direct descendants, depending on how much you want to find out or how many you think needs to be included, because the amount of time it takes to complete your family tree is largely dependent on the size of your family. You may also see four-generation family trees.
People tend to underestimate family size until they realize they still have aunts, uncles, and their children to consider, thus, it’s wiser to estimate the size of a typical extended family. Through this, you will then have a general idea of the work you need to put in, to get it done. You may also see blank family tree templates.
Start at Home
People can really find out many things that are both trivial and helpful with the right amount of digging into the lives of their forefathers, especially if you go as far back as 150 years. For example, we know that a generation is 32 years, representing five generations, meaning you can do a throwback near the time of your great-great-great grandparents. That’s what makes up the most of your family tree. You may also see creative family trees.
You may also want to begin hunting for information and you can’t get any better with a place to start searching than your own house. The best clues about your lineage are usually found at your family home, especially if your parents had inherited your house from their parents. Check your attic and parent’s rooms if you can, for certain papers such as legal documents: birth certificates, marriage certificate, class or yearbooks, newspaper clippings, ledgers and military records. Make electronic copies of each document you may find useful or file them on paper, just as long as you keep them in a safe place that you can always go back to.
Ask Your Family
Most of the time, your immediate family are the best way to help start your family tree and information you need for your older generation. If you’re serious about maintaining a family tree, keep a record of your parent’s memories and those of your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles and their children as you go over the digital copy of your family tree. You may also see seven generation family trees.
Try asking your relatives about certain people in your family and gather information about their lives, especially those of vital importance, like how they dealt with years or times that were historically relevant for both good and bad reasons. You can make an outline of questionnaire so that you also have a guide in collecting information. You may also see editable family tree templates.
Check Official Records
You can also add the United States Census Records to your starting points because you can access it online and check census reports which date back to 1790 up to 1950. These record will have you overwhelmed with information for the taking such as the birthplace of your relatives, where your ancestors originally came from, their first language, what their first recorded occupation was and the names of people living at the first family home when the census was taken. You may also see blank family tree chart templates.
If you decide to trace back to the 1900s or even further if you want to know the questions they took, like how many children a woman gives birth to and how many had survived which is always a good information in coming around with your family history. Or you can still continue talking to your relatives and not just settle on what you can remember during family gatherings conversation on the dinner table. You may also see family tree chart templates.
Record their answers while maintaining the right amount of doubt and skepticism about which information is factual and which of their stories are nearly far-fetched or the result of family “myths” but remember that their stories may still have some clues worth going over when you verify official records from archives, consensus and others. You may also see word family tree templates.
Older Records Require More Effort
According to practice, people tend to work on their family tree and going both vertically and horizontally. This is still okay but doesn’t forget to focus on branches of your family tree that you want to start with, first. Otherwise, it can get all messy and complicated, if you try to do everything at the same time. Ideally, you have to choose branches where it would be easier, quicker and cheaper to gather all the information you need. You may also see a free family tree for kids.
This means setting aside the research on the older generation or branches of your family tree, because the farther your throwback is, the more work and resources it would require. You also risk losing accuracy and quality of information gathered which would take more skill for getting the real facts later. And it sure is fun to discover someone related to you who lived a hundred years ago but often the amount of time used to research just one family ancestor could have been used for knowing about a dozen relatives and would make the completion of your family tree quicker. You may also see how to select the right family tree.
So that your family tree will be accurate and organized, you need to think if it’s worth sacrificing time for just one person in place of many others you can include. You need to be sure if you can handle the trade-offs involved, otherwise, you may end up being easily frustrated and halt your family tree altogether. You may also see family tree book templates.
Don’t Trust Previous Works Too Much
There’s a good chance that you’re not the only person in your family who tried to do a research and create a family tree, and you might just be able to access it online or in the form of a book that’s been published. Try checking these things before you commit much of your time to a certain family line, but be careful not to take everything you read online or even in a book published by someone who has little to no credibility, seriously. You may also see family tree chart samples.
Information, even when they’re published or hold authority sometimes lack basis. Make sure that anything you find online has reliable sources and you yourself should make sure that those sources are correct and wouldn’t jeopardize your excitement and who you think you are. Only then are you allowed to have someone else’s research as a reference? If you do, be sure that they are given the credit they are due, probably in your very own author citations and acknowledgments. You may also see a basic family tree.
As someone who’s doing research and trying to get his or her genealogy right, as much as possible you would want to aim for a perfect family tree. While loopholes in tracing your roots can’t be avoided, and there would always be one discovery after another along with DNA, try to keep an open mind about families in general, especially the ones with royal bloodlines to farmers, having a great research about them with only factual information, is still very important. For many people, there is no such thing as “too much” in building a family tree that could be very useful to each of the members of a family’s present generation or direct living descendants. You may also see five-generation family trees.
Have a Healthy Sense of Doubt
Anything on record is still considered to be open for interpretation, or even doubtful in some cases, including documents which government authorities and offices have produced. The information you may find is only as good as the person who had it exposed. Learn to question an information’s origin when checking sources and practice the art of healthy pessimism because you can never be sure about a person’s reliability when giving out information that’s supposed to be valuable. You may also see seven generation family tree template.
Make sure that the transcription of records didn’t mess with its validity. Also, consider the period of time the information was generated and how factual certain stuff is because some things or situations may be seen differently depending on their nature and the time they happened. Some things are considered good today when they weren’t in early times. Always have backup sources and have as many as you can find to have extra sources and in order to refute other documents that don’t hold much weight. You may also see three generation family tree.
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Surely, you would want your family tree to be as reliable as possible but that will only serve its purpose to publishers and future generations when you have kept good records of your work as you develop it. There’s no point spending time and effort in it if you will be contented with one that doesn’t have much to help others with. Don’t treat your family tree haphazardly and format it just like you would any business document: Accurate. Reliable and organized if you want people to take it seriously and if you want the rest of the family to treat it as a very important record that deserves to be seen and kept well. You may also see family tree template with siblings.
Being organized means you know your works’ strength and weaknesses and you know where to work from there, including the identification of sources that are known for their reliability. Having a record of this information and having a format you can develop into something tangible and very useful is good not only for your credibility but also for staying on track, focused on your original goal, which is to learn about your past, who you are and who you’re meant to be. You may also see free family trees.