25 July 2013

Successfully Researching the Lives of Ancestors

Welcome to Ancestors Within at bisnonni.blogspot.com if you have not been here before.  And welcome back to everyone who likes visiting here regularly.

This record of my genealogical research has been unavailable to the public in recent months.  For security reasons, I set it behind a password while I took another of my investigative journeys.  Keeping our identities safe is particularly important when we are away from home.

Discovering more about the lives of ancestors can sometimes be helped along by visiting the places they once inhabited.  Although many current features of those locations may not be familiar to them, if they had the opportunity to be there today, our own time there needs to be used wisely, unless we have endless amounts of time and money.  

For most of us, doing plenty of research and some basic planning before we set off is therefore essential, though it always takes time.  I am particularly interested in uncovering interesting biographical details, rather than seemingly endless charts of ancestral connections.  At all times, it is especially important to remember the purpose of our journey if we are to avoid wasting time and/or money.  Are you well prepared for the journey ahead?

One of the most interesting aspects of any biography, at least to me, is how the person in question overcame difficulties.  Learning about such achievements can even help us to overcome the challenges we face ourselves, especially when we meet unexpected obstacles during our journeys, and during our prior and future research.

When we know that at least one of our ancestors managed to triumph over some sort of adversity, then that knowledge is worth treasuring.  Life itself can be a continual journey of discovery, if we allow it to be so.  Biographies are essentially about the existence of someone we would like to know better, wherever and however we may find that information.

Our ancestry is the prologue to our own journey, and what we write may become the epilogue.  If you are just starting out with your own family history research, I have already written an introduction to the topic.  If you have read it, have you found it useful?  What is the purpose of your own research?

The above introduction mentions some items I had not discovered at the time.  Fortunately, in the past year, a long-lost photograph of my husband's maternal grandfather has resurfaced.  It was found within the pages of an old book at my mother-in-law's house.   My journey was to take her, for the first time, to where her parents were born, and to meet her father's relatives for the first time.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.