MURPHY'S EMERALD IDYLL
The field of Genealogy is an extremely
broad one covering all kinds of records in all kinds of places. It
represents a challenge for someone starting out. The very first place to
start is with the people in your family who may have memories you can use.
Talk about family memories with the senior family members. Often they can
provide valuable clues.
One basic given in genealogy is that the BMD records (Birth, Marriage, Death) also known as Vital Statistics, can provide you with information about the next generation back by listing the subject's parents and their point of origin. If the ancestors had any property of value, sometimes deeds and wills may help. Naturalization papers are often helpful.
Different legal jurisdictions began saving records at different points in time, frequently leading to, dead ends for certain kinds of records. United States immigration records date from about 1820, following a law passed in 1819. Canada's immigration records date from about 1865. Many records were lost through fires and other disasters. Before legalized collection dates, one may have to rely on church records, family bibles, or even family histories compiled by others. The records of the United States government are kept by the National Archives and Records Administration., or NARA, for short. It maintains regional centers around the country. Its filmstrips may also be obtained on loan through the public library's ILL--Inter library Loan-- system. This also connects to the Canadian government's system. In addition to being able to peruse records locally when you are not certain about your information, you can obtain a document by mail for nominal fees when you have specific facts.
A second great source of help in getting started is the enormous record collection maintained by the Mormons, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They have centers located around the world. They have millions of records computerized and make computers available to you without cost. If you need a particular set of records which are on microfilm, to examine at length, they can obtain it for a month's loan for a small fee of several dollars (which may be subject to change) as are the NARA films, by the way. Their link will follow with some others. No attempt to push their religious beliefs is ever made. Genealogy is a public service they offer.
There are a lot of things which can be learned from joining message boards or special interest email lists. A Message Board is a website Where a person may post a message saying he is looking for a certain person or family which settled in a certain area , or arrived in the country at a certain time. The message remains there hopefully until someone has some helpful information. You may have to return to check it from time to time, or they may notify you if you have a reply.
A Message List is a site which send you copies of all the email which are sent in each day or week. Sometimes the traffic can get heavy. They may send the emails one at a time or in digest form once a week or so--whichever you choose. These sites deal with family surnames or geographical locations like a country or a county. You sign up for whatever interests you. Sometimes these people live near libraries and may offer to do lookups for you. I joined the Ships List for a year or so. I found a lot of people who were confused about the NARA system of looking up arriving passenger ship lists.
There are two lists: one is an INDEX and the other is the actual PASSENGER LISTS. I put together a short article explaining the difference which many people found helpful. I am including it on this site.
You might consider buying a genealogy software which allows you to enter details about your ancestor as you acquire them, save notes , and print out reports or family tree graphics. I use Family Tree Maker and have found it useful. However I caution people about buying cd's. You can go crazy as well as broke doing that. I have bought no less than 24 cd's. Some came with the FTM software and others I bought later. I have yet to find a single relative on them. I found my grandmother's birth registration in 1866 at the Mormon center. However, they did not have her five brothers and sisters on record, nor did they have their parents' marriage record.
Using NARA immigration records I found my grandmother's arrival in Boston with her sister, Ellen in 1883, and her parents and the other kids arriving in 1885. I found these with tips gained from talking to an elderly aunt of my father who happened to be the daughter of Ellen. These arrivals were not on any of my cd's. These cd's are touted as "having millions of records" on them. They remind me of Carl Sagan who always spoke of "billions and billions of stars." Sometimes looking for your family's "stars" can be just as challenging.
The only reason I found my mother's grandfather, James, coming into Boston was because of his uncommon name, McGlinchey. During the years covered on the NARA filmstrip (1846-1891) there were only 56 of them. When I searched for Whelan in the same time period I found 450 of them--just into Boston and just for those years. Murphy's or Kelly's anyone?
I don't regret having bought all those cd's, I learned a lot from them. I was also able to find relatives for some other people. I am just sorry that I expected so much from them and faced such a disappointment. Buy cd's if you want, but don't expect too much. Other sources can be more useful.
In gathering information in the past several years I accumulated a folder full of URL's related to genealogy. I have over 200 now. I won't overwhelm you with them all, only enough to get started.|
These I am including have good tutorials with far more information than I could include here.
http://www.cyndislist.com A monster site which has everything.
http://www.nara.gov National Archives and Records Administration Main Page
http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/genindex.html#begin Good place for a beginning genealogist to start
http://www.familysearch.org/ LDS site (Mormon Church)
www.state.ma.us/sec/arc Mass. Archives
http://www.ingeneas.com/new/index.html Canadian Data Base
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild site, Passenger lists for over 5,000 ships
THE COMPASS (Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild). Fully searchable site includes comprehensive collection of links to resources including map of ship routes, ship passenger list addresses, immigration and naturalization, ancestral resources, passenger lists and ship arrivals (U.S.A.), passenger lists and ship arrivals (non-U.S.A.), ships, and maritime resources.
info on ship details, ownership, schedules, and record availability.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cgaunt/gen_int1.html Genealogy Resources on the Internet
www.loc.gov Library of Congress online
http://www.genuki.com/ (Excellent Irish/English site. Many articles)
http://www.seanruad.com/ IreAtlas site. Lookup County and Townland names in Ireland.
http://www.nationalarchives.ie/ Irish National Archives
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