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Your Living Relatives are a Resource

Your Living Relatives are a Resource

Every genealogist has access to a resource that is filled with information, easy to find, and fun to use. Unfortunately, many genealogists overlook this wonderful resource, or do not recognize it for the treasure that it is. What is it? It is the genealogist’s very own family!

If you are looking for family stories, the best place to start is by interviewing your living relatives. It is best to prepare the questions you wish to ask them beforehand. Make sure that you have a way to document the story they tell you. Some genealogists will employ the old fashioned method of using pen and paper to write down these stories, while others will prefer to use computer technology to make an audio or video recording of the interview. All of these methods will work to preserve these precious family stories for future generations to read, watch, listen to, and enjoy.

Do you have a genealogy mystery that you have been trying to solve? Ask your older relatives your questions. It is possible that one of them will remember the details you are looking for, and be willing to share those memories with you. This is a great way to do some “behind the scenes” genealogy research. Find out what was going on in your ancestor’s life when he or she decided to put their child up for adoption. Learn how your great grandparents met each other. Discover what your relatives were like when they were children. It is possible that one of your relatives will remember when an ancestor was born, when she died, or when, exactly, she got married. You may be able to fill in some of the missing pieces just by asking good questions to your family members.

Old photographs are another excellent tool to use. Unsure about just who it is standing next to your grandfather in this photo? Perhaps your grandmother, mother, or father, will recognize that person. This can lead to a few more family stories. Including your living relatives in your genealogy research can be very rewarding!

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