Once the genealogy bug bites you, you’ll be introduced to world-wide, online libraries of information and total fascination. You’ll be off and running. You’ll be seen in cemeteries copying information onto the tablets. Pictures of headstones will start appearing on your blog posts. Older family members will begin to look forward to your “long verbal communications” and graphic visits. They may wonder how you can talk so much and ask so many questions, and it’s all fun.
Bring along some donuts, and settle in for discussions of stagecoach travels. The pages of New York’s family history are old, tattered and sometimes water-stained, but you won’t even notice. Inhaling the century old-dust of ancient deed and tax ledgers will become your new preferred perfume.
Begin Your Investigations At Home
Beginning your search at home with family members leads you into the past. Older generations are happy to recall their earlier days. Answers to some of the mysteries can start with these ideas:
- Birthdays and marriage records reveal important dates.
- Scrapbooks and family Bible entries are storehouses of names and places.
- Military service records tell you not only the rank, but the time spent in serving.
- Obituaries offer a wealth of information. You may discover an unknown grandparent’s name.
- Online social groups are great places to ask questions and find missing relatives.
- Take a look at the census records, and explore old deed books for land transfers.
Spend time at some estate auctions, and look for paper documents. What may seem worthless to some, could be valuable to you.
Visit the Genealogical and Historical Groups in New York
This is a good place to find self-published, paperback books. People want to write about their experiences and their family. Times change rapidly, and older homes are replaced by paved parking lots and shopping centers. You may find an old homestead tucked away in some stranger’s memory. Old newspapers are full of birth records and obituaries.
One date of a birth may lead to other cities or even countries. Plan to take along a notebook, a snack and a camera to capture some photos. Making copies of documents are a good way to study at home. Sign-in your family name and you may discover a third cousin in the same room. Anything can happen when you’re looking for your roots.
Now that you know about the many different ways to zero-in on past generations, you can begin filling notebooks, printing out rare pictures of ancestors, and all in all, find out who you are and why you are who you are. It’s a mysterious road map to hidden family treasures. Unlock the rusty clasps and delve in.