A big hello to all members at GENPALS2003 Everyone here is searching for their history, their background, their ancestors. It is our hobby, our interest, our livelyhood.
The main reason of course is, that we not only want to find out who our ancestors were and where they came from, but we like to record and gather information for our offsprings, so they too, when their interest in this subject awakens, can see who YOU were and were YOU came from.
There are many ways to go about it, you can start writing all you know down, ask your parents, if they are still alive, about all their family members. When you have some names and dates and places, go and start a family tree. There are many free sites nowadays on internet; Els and I have ours at tribalpages.com , but you can choose for yourself which site you like. These sites are very helpful and informative. You start with yourself and then add your parents in the appropriate places. It is all written there in front of you and you just have to follow the prompts. It is NOT difficult and such fun.
Once you have some people on your tree, you can start your search for other members. One very easy way is to google for it, just type in the surname and you'll be surprised how many entries you will get. Now comes the hard work......looking at each site if it appears to be a genuine family tree. Most owners or that tree have their: contact me to click on and you can fire away your questions. Do not copy anything without asking the owner. Firstly you are breaching the copyright rules, secondly, the information might not be correct. Just by writing and asking you will find out.
If you know where a person has died, it is not too difficult, many places nowadays have the registrar on line, most data has been painstakingly put on internet. Sometimes, in the case of birth, death or marriage certificates, it is a case of being very patient, as they download slowly. But it is very rewarding and exciting at the same time when you see this dead person come to life in front of your very eyes! Believe me, you will feel wonderfully smart when you have found a dead ancestor and you can actually record him on your tree.
You might not always be lucky in your search. Even if you find the boat he's been sailing on and when he arrived in a distant land. If you get stranded, then contact us here. Place your request on the message board and there is a whole team out here willing and able to help you. But don't expect miracles, and it will take time. But who cares??? The dead are dead and they don't mind to wait. But it will be great when you do meet them after all.
Please have fun finding your ancestors, it is a very rewarding job.