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What is Genealogy?

A Dictionary Definition

The study and tracing of family pedigrees. This involves the collection of the names of relatives, both living and deceased, and establishing the relationships among them based on primary, secondary and/or circumstantial evidence or documentation, thus building up a cohesive family tree.

Digging up the Past

But why do people spend so much work, time, energy, and money in chasing their dead ancestors? What motivates them to dig out this type of information? One of the most common reason is human curiosity. Many people begin tracing their family trees because they want to know who their ancestors are and what they did. Moreover, they want to know if their family traditions are true or not.

One of the first lessons that historians and genealogists learn is not to judge the past too quickly. Instead, they seek to understand the conditions under which their ancestors loved and lived. There may be unknown factors (cultural, economic, historical, religious, or social) that make your ancestor's actions logical. Therefore, a crucial rule of genealogy is to keep an open mind.