September 26, 2014

Genealogy Research Writing: Using Vital Records to Re-Create Your Loved One’s Life Story

By Traci Pollard

Genealogy research for some is establishing names, dates, places and origins of distant family members by gathering information as to whom they were, where they lived, who they married, and how many children they had. While all this information is important, there is so much more to know about the family member. I realized that this was not just a person who has lived and died, but a key genetic part of who I am today. I want to know all about that person, who was he or she? Were they a kind person, with good values? Did they believe in God? Did they love their family members? Are there any genetic diseases in my family tree? Often times research records will indicate and answer all of these questions.

When I research a family member, I put so much more into my research. I am re-creating the character and life history of the person who I am researching.  Using the historical information that I gathered, I can combine it all to tell their personal story of love, trials, tribulations, personal interests, profession, socio-economic status, land ownership, family relations, religion, political status and so much more. There is so much data out there on the Internet today!

Begin your family research with you writing down your historical information that you know, proceeding on to the next generation (your parents). While gathering and writing down information, you are systematically moving up the ancestral tree one generation at a time.

It is so important if given the opportunity to sit with an older member of your family and gather information from them. I remember sitting with my grandmother and asking her many questions about her family members and upbringing. I remember taking tedious notes, not knowing much about the people she spoke so highly in love about. It was years later after she passed away, that I pulled all that information she gave me and researched her family. I met through research so many distant cousins, children of the sibling she spoke about, the problem came with the excitement of wanting to pick up the telephone to share all the information with her, and she was no longer there.

When researching, remember to take good notes, source where you find the information, and stay organized. You will find so many fascinating facts about your family, it will be very easy to wander off in your research to another trail or surname, but if you do that, you will find out that you have information scattered all over the place, making it difficult for someone else to pick up where you left off.

What a beautiful gift of knowledge you share with your loved ones, their past. We all give our children roots and wings, and family history is often such a blessing and beautiful gift to do that.

Traci Pollard is the wife of a retired military officer and mother to five children. Traci is an Author, an Elementary school teacher as well as a Women’s Ministry leader. She an Avid Genealogy Researcher, having researched back over fourteen generations on both my maternal and paternal sides. Traci enjoys writing, blogging, reading and traveling. Connect with Traci at her blog;

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