Beginning genealogists often turn to resources such as Ancestry.com or FamilySearch when they want to begin doing research on their family. Both of those websites are useful and popular. However, they aren’t the only places that hold valuable information about your family history. Try looking into some of these unexpected places to find genealogy information.
The Family Bible
New genealogists might think this is an odd place to look for family information. However, there was a time when it was common for families to write a list of the birth dates and death dates of family member inside the cover of the family Bible. Ask around and see if your relatives happen to have one (or more) of these really old Bibles in their possession. There could be a wealth of genealogy information written inside it!
What if your family no longer has them? There are several resources that you can use to (hopefully) locate them. The Daughters of the American Revolution Library may be helpful. Or, you could try Cyndi’s List . They have a page devoted to information about “Lost & Found” Family Bibles.
>New parents often purchase a pre-made baby book shortly after discovering that a baby is on the way. These books also make great baby shower gifts. The books give parents room to list everything about their baby. This will include a birth date, health information, and anecdotal stories regarding the baby’s first words. Some of them will include photos. Seek out the baby books of your relatives and ancestors. You will learn so much about them!
Journals and Diaries
What was your ancestor’s day to day life really like? What thoughts did he or she have about the important (now historical) events that happened while he or she was alive? The answers could be found in one of your ancestor’s journals or diaries. This is a good resource for family stories. You may come across references to relatives that you didn’t know existed!
Have you ever heard the old saying “A picture paints a thousand words”? It’s true! Looking at old photos of your relatives can tell you everything from what clothing was in style that year, the types of transportation/technology they used, and more. You may discover photos of ancestors that you were unaware of.
Those interested in looking at a random collection of old photos should check out Flickr’s Historical Old Photos group. You may or may not find your ancestors in there. Either way, you could still learn about hair styles and fashion from the same time period that your ancestors lived in. Those seeking more specific photos should start with Classmate’s collection of High School Yearbooks.
Image by Chuck Coker on Flickr.< Return To Blog