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Encyclopedia > Genealogy

Genealogy (from Greek: γενεα, genea, "family"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is 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. Genealogy (often misspelled "geneology"[1]) is often also referred to as family history, although these terms may be used distinctly: the former being the basic study of who is related to whom; the latter involving more "fleshing out" of the lives and personal histories of the individuals involved. a family of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1997 Family is a Western term used to denote a domestic group of people, or a number of domestic groups linked through descent (demonstrated or stipulated) from a common ancestor, marriage or adoption. ... A pedigree chart is a chart which tells one all of the known phenotypes for an organism and its ancestors, most commonly humans, show dogs, and race horses. ... Circumstantial evidence is lesbian sex with a huge glass dildo unrelated facts that, when considered together, can be used to infer a conclusion about something unknown. ... In general terms, documentation is any communicable material (such as text, video, audio, etc. ... A family tree is generally the totality of ones ancestors represented as a tree structure, or more specifically, a chart used in genealogy. ... Family history is the study of multiple generations of people who appear to be related. ...



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Genealogists collect oral histories and preserve family stories to discover ancestors and living relatives. Genealogists also attempt to understand not just where and when people lived but also their lifestyle, biography, and motivations. This often requires — or leads to — knowledge of antique law, old political boundaries, immigration trends, and historical social conditions. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ... Wikibooks logo Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. ...

Genealogists and family historians often join a Family History Society where novices can learn from more experienced researchers, and everyone benefits from shared knowledge. A Family History Society is a society, often charitable or non-profit making, where genealogists and family historians can profit from shared knowledge. ...

Even an unsuccessful search for ancestors leads to a better understanding of history. The search for living relatives often leads to family reunions, both of distant cousins and of disrupted families. Genealogists sometimes help reunite families separated by war, immigration, foster homes, and adoption. The genealogist can help keep family traditions alive or reveal family secrets. For other uses, see War (disambiguation). ... Foster care is a system by which adults care for orphans or other children who are not living with their biological parents, for example due to child abuse. ... For other uses, see Adoption (disambiguation). ...

In its original form, genealogy was mainly concerned with the ancestry of rulers and nobles, often arguing or demonstrating the legitimacy of claims to wealth and power. The term often overlapped with heraldry, in which the ancestry of royalty was reflected in the quarterings of their coat of arms. Many of the claimed ancestries are considered by modern scholars to be fabrications, especially the claims of kings and emperors who trace their ancestry to gods or the founders of their civilization. For example, the Anglo-Saxon chroniclers traced the ancestry of several English kings back to the god Woden (the English version of the Norse god Odin).[2] If these descents were true, Queen Elizabeth II would be a descendant of Woden, via the kings of Wessex. (See euhemerism.) Kinship and descent is one of the major concepts of cultural anthropology. ... Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. ... A modern coat of arms is derived from the medi val practice of painting designs onto the shield and outer clothing of knights to enable them to be identified in battle, and later in tournaments. ... For other uses, see Anglo-Saxon. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... This is the article about the belief in Odin among West Germanic peoples, for other uses see Woden (disambiguation), Wotan (disambiguation). ... Norse, Viking or Scandinavian mythology comprises the indigenous pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian peoples, including those who settled on Iceland, where most of the written sources for Norse mythology were assembled. ... For other meanings of Odin, Woden or Wotan see Odin (disambiguation), Woden (disambiguation), Wotan (disambiguation). ... Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. ... For the helicopter, see Westland Wessex. ... Euhemerus (flourished around 316 BCE) was a Greek mythographer at the court of Cassander, the king of Macedonia. ...

Modern research

Genealogy, a popular hobby, received a big boost in the late 1970s with the premiere of the television adaptation of Alex Haley's fictionalized account of his family line, Roots: The Saga of an American Family [3]. With the advent of the Internet, the number of resources available to genealogists has vastly increased; however, some of these sources must be treated with caution because of issues of accuracy. The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... Alexander Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer. ... Categories: Literature stubs | 1976 books | American novels | Books starting with S ...

Research efforts sometimes specialize on: types of relationships among people such as kinship to a particular group, e.g. a Scottish clan; a particular surname such as in a one-name study; a small community, e.g. a single village or parish, such as in a one-place study; or a particular person such as Winston Churchill or Jesse James. Clan map of Scotland Scottish clans (from Old Gaelic clann, children), give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs officially registered with the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which... A one-name study is a collection of vital and other biographical data about all persons worldwide sharing a particular surname. ... One-place studies are a branch of family history with a focus on the entire population of a single European village, not just a single, geographically dispersed family line. ... “Churchill” redirects here. ... Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847–April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, the most famous member of the James-Younger gang. ...

LDS collections

In the 20th century, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) engaged in a large-scale program of copying all available records of genealogical value onto microfilm. The Church also sought to compile an index of the submissions of its members. The two projects have since resulted in two major databases, the International Genealogical Index, or IGI, representing transcriptions of filmed civil and ecclesiastic records from various cooperating locales worldwide, and the Ancestral File, or AF, representing the contributions of Church members. The IGI contains data taken from various birth or marriage records that Church members have microfilmed; in all, the IGI contains hundreds of millions of records of individuals who lived between 1500 and 1900, primarily in the United States, Canada and Europe. The IGI also contains numerous duplications of AF records. Resources include the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, which houses the original microfilms and microfiches, its 4,000+ branches (called Family History Centers, where films and fiches can be rented for on-site research, and FamilySearch, an interactive internet site, provides free access to research guides and numerous databases, including the Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index, 1880 U.S. Federal Census, and Social Security Death Index. For other uses, see Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (disambiguation). ... Microfilm machines may be available at libraries or record archives. ... The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is a database of genealogical records, compiled from a variety of different sources, and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... LDS Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City The Family History Library (FHL) is a genealogical research facility provided and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church or LDS Church). ... FamilySearch is a family history website provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ...

Genetic analysis

Main article: Genetic genealogy

With the discovery that a person's DNA contains information that has been passed down relatively unchanged from our earliest ancestors, analysis of DNA has begun to be used for genealogical research. There are two DNA types of particular interest. One is the mitochondrial DNA which we all possess and which is passed down with only minor mutations through the female line. The other is the Y-chromosome, present only in males, which is passed down with only minor mutations through the male line. Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. ... The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. ... Genetic fingerprinting, DNA testing, DNA typing, and DNA profiling are techniques used to distinguish between individuals of the same species using only samples of their DNA. Its invention by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester was announced in 1985. ... Mitochondrial DNA (some captions in German) Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria. ... The Y chromosome is one of the sex-determining chromosomes in humans and most other mammals (the other is the X chromosome). ...

A genealogical DNA test allows for two individuals to estimate the probability that they are (or are not) related within a certain time frame. Individual genetic test results are being collected in various databases to match people descended from a relatively recent common ancestor, for example see Molecular Genealogy Research Project. These tests are limited to either the direct male or the direct female line. A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a persons DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. ... A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a persons DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. ... In the summer of 1999, Mr. ...

On a much longer time scale, genetic methods are being used to trace human migratory patterns and to determine biogeographical and ethnic origin. The results can be used to place people within ancient ancestral groups, for example see The Genographic Project. Participation in all such projects is, of course, voluntary. Net migration rates for 2006: positive (blue), negative (orange) and stable (green). ... Biogeography is the science which deals with patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in such patterns. ... This article or section should be merged with ethnic group Ethnicity is the cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. ... The Genographic Project, launched in April 2005, is a five-year genetic anthropology study that aims to map historical human migration patterns by collecting and analyzing DNA samples from over 100,000 people across five continents. ...

In a related development, non-genetic mathematical models of ancestry have been devised to determine the approximate year when the most recent common ancestor of all living humans existed. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of any set of organisms is the most recent individual from which all organisms in the group are directly descended. ...

Sharing data among researchers

Data sharing among genealogical researchers has grown to be a major use of the Internet. Most genealogy software programs can export information about persons and their relationships in GEDCOM format, so it can be shared with other genealogists by e-mail and Internet forums, added to an online database such as GeneaNet, or converted into a family web site using online genealogical tools such as PhpGedView. Many genealogical software applications also facilitate the sharing of information on CD-ROMs and DVDs made on personal computers. Genealogy software is computer software used to collect, store, sort, and visualize genealogical data. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... A typical Internet forum discussion, with common elements such as quotes and spoiler brackets A page from a forum showcasing emoticons and Internet slang An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. ... The story of GeneaNet begun in 1996 when several people interested in genealogy and computing, Jacques Le Marois, Jérome Abela et Julien Cassaigne, realized what a great instrument the internet could be for their genealogical research. ... A website, Web site or WWW site (often shortened to just site) is a collection of webpages, that is, HTML/XHTML documents accessible via HTTP on the Internet; all publicly accessible websites in existence comprise the World Wide Web. ... PhpGedView is an open source PHP-based web application for putting your genealogy on the internet. ...

One phenomenon over the last few years has been that of large genealogical databases going online and attracting such large flash crowds that the database's host server collapses, causing service to be quickly suspended while hurried upgrades are made to accommodate the traffic load. This happened with FamilySearch, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database of war graves, and in January 2002 with the much-anticipated British census for 1901. Flash Crowd was a 1973 short story by science fiction author Larry Niven, one of a series about the consequences of instantaneous, practically free transfer booths that could take one anywhere on Earth in milliseconds. ... FamilySearch is a family history website provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... The Azmak Cemetery, near Suvla Bay, Turkey, contains the graves of some of the soldiers who died during the Gallipoli Campaign. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... A nationwide census was conducted in England and Wales on March 31, 1901 and was put on line in 2003 containing records for 32 million people and 6 million houses. ...


Volunteer efforts figure prominently in genealogy. These efforts range from the extremely informal to the highly organized. Children cart dirt and debris away during a community clean-up day in Yaoundé, Cameroon. ...

On the informal side are the many popular and useful message boards and mailing lists regarding particular surnames, regions, and other topics. These forums can be used with great success to find relatives, request record lookups, obtain research advice, and much more. A typical Internet forum discussion, with common elements such as quotes and spoiler brackets A page from a forum showcasing emoticons and Internet slang An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. ... An electronic mailing list, a type of Internet forum, is a special usage of e-mail that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. ...

Many genealogists participate in loosely organized projects, both online and off. These collaborations take numerous forms of which only a few are mentioned here. Some projects prepare name indexes for records, such as probate cases, and often place the indexes online. Genealogists use the indexes as finding aids to locate original records. Rather than index, some projects transcribe or abstract records, especially when genealogists may want to search the records by something other than surname. For example, a genealogist using the cluster genealogy research technique might want to search records by land description. For this reason, deeds are a good candidate for transcription. Offering record lookups is another common service, and projects are usually organized by geographic area. Volunteers such as RAOGK offer to do record lookups in their area for researchers who are unable to travel. Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person; specifically, resolving all claims and distributing the decedents property. ... Finding aids are indexes used to catalog detailed information about collections within an archive. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... An English deed written on fine parchment or vellum with seal tag dated 1638. ... A typical tombstone photo as might be provided by a RAOGK member Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) is a web based genealogical research co-op that functions solely with the services of volunteers in regional areas. ...

Those looking for a structured volunteer environment can join one of thousands of genealogical societies worldwide. Like online forums, most societies have a unique area of focus such as a particular surname, ethnicity, geographic area, or descendency from participants in a given historical event. These societies are almost exclusively staffed by volunteers and can offer a broad range of services. It is common for genealogical societies to maintain a library for member's use, publish a newsletter, provide research assistance to the public, offer classes or seminars, and organize efforts such as cemetery transcribing projects. A Family History Society is a society, often charitable or non-profit making, where genealogists and family historians can profit from shared knowledge. ... This article or section should be merged with ethnic group Ethnicity is the cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. ... This is a list of hereditary & lineage organizations. ...

Records in genealogical research

A family history page from an Antebellum era family Bible.
A family history page from an Antebellum era family Bible.

Records of persons who were neither royalty nor nobility began to be taken by governments in order to keep track of their citizens (In most of Europe, for example, this started to take place in the 16th century). As more of the population began to be recorded, there were sufficient records to follow a family using the paper trail they left behind. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (952x761, 169 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (952x761, 169 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Antebellum is a Latin word meaning before war(ante means before and bellum is war). ... Public records refers to information that has been filed or recorded by public agencies, such as corporate and property records. ... Members of the royal family shared amongst the Commonwealth Realms. ... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ...

As each person lived his or her life, major events were usually documented with a license, permit or report which was stored at a local, regional or national office or archive. Genealogists locate these records, wherever they are stored, and extract information to discover family relationships and recreate timelines of persons' lives. Archive of the AMVC hahahahaAn archive refers to a collection of records, and also refers to the location in which these records are kept. ... For the novel by Michael Crichton, see Timeline (novel). ...

In China and other other Asian countries, genealogy books are used to record family members' names, occupations, etc. Some books are kept for hundreds or even thousands of years. In India, in the eastern state of Bihar, there is a written tradition of genealogical records among Maithil Brahmins and Karna Kayasthas called as "Panjis", dating back to 12th century AD. These records are still consulted during marriages. A Survey of the Panji of the Karan Kayasthas of Mithila. [6][7] [8] A genealogy book is used in China to record family history of ancestors. ... , Bihar (Hindi: बिहार, Urdu: بہار, IPA: ,  ) is a state of the Indian union situated in north India. ... Panjis or Panji Prabandh are extensive genealogical records maintained among Maithil Brahmins and Karna Kayasthas of Mithila region of north Bihar, India. ... Maithil Karna Kayasthak Panjik Sarvekshan(A Survey of the Panji of the Karan Kayasthas of Mithila) is a book written by Dr.Binod Bihari Verma in Maithili. ...

Records that are used in genealogy research include:

As a rule, genealogists begin with the present and work backward in time. Written records have the property of hindsight in that they only tell where a person might have lived and who their parents were, not where they and their descendants might subsequently reside. Two exceptions are when a genealogist might interview living relatives as to who and where their children and grandchildren are, or tries to locate long-lost relatives who may already have traced their families backward to an ancestor they have in common (which is forward in time from his/her point of view). Vital records are records of life events kept under governmental authority, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Death Certificate is the second solo album from rapper Ice Cube, released by Priority Records on October 29, 1991. ... Napa, California: USA A new bride humorously observes the legal signing of her marriage license by her maid of honor. ... For the record label, see Divorce Records. ... For other uses, see Adoption (disambiguation). ... Baptism in early Christian art. ... Sir Thomas Malory wrote the most famous fictional biography of the Middle Ages with Le Morte dArthur about the life of King Arthur. ... Whos Who is the name of a number of publications, generally containing concise biographical information on a particular group of people. ... Castle Ashby Graveyard Northamptonshire A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Tombstone most commonly means a headstone marking the grave of a deceased person. ... Image:1870 census Lindauer Weber 01. ... Moscow phone book, 1930. ... A coroner is either the presiding officer of a special court, a medical officer, or an officer of law responsible for investigating deaths, particularly those happening under unusual circumstances. ... This article is about the crime term. ... == c programming[[a--203. ... Vintage German letter balance for home use Look up letter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... A memorial statue in Hanko, Finland, commemorating the thousands of emigrants who left the country to start a new life in the United States Emigration is the act and the phenomenon of leaving ones native country to settle in another country. ... In law, naturalization refers to an act whereby a person acquires a citizenship different from that persons citizenship at birth. ... This is a list of hereditary & lineage organizations. ... The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage membership organization[1] dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Homestead laws exist in many states in the United States and generally serve two main purposes: prevent forced sale of home by creditors provide surviving spouse with shelter In Texas, homestead protection is automatic. ... An English deed written on fine parchment or vellum with seal tag dated 1638. ... A physician visiting the sick in a hospital. ... Obituary for World War I death An obituary is a notice of the death of a person, usually published in a newspaper, written or commissioned by the newspaper, and usually including a short biography. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Oral history is an account of something passed down by word of mouth from one generation to another. ... For other types of travel document, see Travel document. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A poorhouse is a publicly maintained facility for the support and housing of dependent or needy persons, typically run by a local government entity such as a county or municipality. ... Former workhouse at Nantwich, dating from 1780 A workhouse was a place where people who were unable to support themselves could go to live and work. ... The Almshouse at Sherborne, Dorset The Almshouse at Woburn, Bedfordshire West Hackney Almshouses in Stoke Newington, London. ... Students in Rome, Italy. ... An alumni association is an association of former students (alumni). ... A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. ... The United States Social Security Administration (or SSA[1]) is an independent agency of the United States government established by a law currently codified at 42 U.S.C. Â§ 901. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... “Taxes” redirects here. ... Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person; specifically, resolving all claims and distributing the decedents property. ...

Types of genealogical information

The classes of information that genealogists seek include: place names, occupations, family names, first names, and dates. Genealogists need to understand such items in their historical context in order to properly evaluate genealogical sources.

Place names

While the place names of an ancestor’s residence or location of their life events are certainly core element of a genealogist's quest, they can often be confusing. Place names may be subject to variant spellings by partially literate scribes. Additionally, locations may have the same or substantially similar names. For example, the name Brocton for villages occurs six times in the border area between the English counties of Shropshire and Staffordshire. Shifts in political borders must also be understood. For instance, county borders in C17th-C19th England were frequently modified, with outlying and detached areas being reassigned to other counties. Old records may contain references to Middle Age villages that have ceased to exist because of disease or famine. Brocton may refer to: Brocton, Cornwall, United Kingdom Brocton, Staffordshire, United Kingdom Brocton, New York, United States Brocton, Illinois, United States Brocton F.C. Category: ... Shropshire (pronounced /, -/), alternatively known as Salop[6] or abbreviated Shrops[7], is a county in the West Midlands of England. ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ...

Many sources provide locations for our ancestor’s life events and place of residency; these include vital records (civil registration), censuses, and tax assessments. Oral tradition is also an important source, although it must be used with caution. When no source information is available for a birth, death or marriage location, circumstantial evidence may provide a probable answer based on the place of residence of the individual or the individual’s family at the time of the event.

Maps and gazetteers are important sources for understanding the places where our ancestors were born, lived, married, and died. They show us the relationship of the area to neighboring communities and may help us understand migration patterns.


Occupational information may be important to understand an ancestor’s life. Two people with the same name may be distinguished by their occupation. Also, a person’s occupation may have been related to his or her social status, political interest, and migration pattern. Since skilled trades are often passed from father to son, occupation may be indirect evidence of a family relationship.

It is important to remember that occupations sometimes changed or may be easily misunderstood. Workmen no longer fit for their primary trade often take less prestigious jobs later in life. Many unskilled ancestors had a variety of jobs depending on the season and local trade requirements. Census returns may contain some embellishment; e.g., from Labourer to Mason, or from journeyman to Master craftsman. Names for old or unfamiliar local occupations may cause confusion if poorly legible. For example, an ostler (a keeper of horses) and a hostler (an innkeeper) could easily be confused for one another. Likewise, descriptions of such occupations may also be problematic. The perplexing description "ironer of rabbit burrows" may turn out to describe an ironer (profession) in the Bristol district named Rabbit Burrows. Several trades have regionally preferred terms. For example, “shoemaker” and “cordwainer” have the same meaning. Finally, many apparently obscure jobs are part of a larger trade community, such as watchmaking, framework knitting or gunmaking. In classical economics and all micro-economics labour is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. ... Masonry in action; a Mason at work. ... This article is about the tradesperson. ... // A master craftsman (sometimes called only master or grandmaster) was a member of a guild. ... This article is about the English city. ... A stocking frame was a mechanical knitting machine used in the textiles industry. ...

Occupational data may be reported in occupational licenses, tax assessments, membership records of professional organizations, trade directories, census returns, and vital records (civil registration). Occupational dictionaries are available to explain many obscure and archaic trades.

Family names

Family names are simultaneously one of the most important pieces of genealogical information, and a source of significant confusion for researchers.

In most cultures, the name of a person references the family to which he or she belongs. This is called the family name, or surname. It is often also called the last name because, for most speakers of English, the family name comes after the given name (or names). However, this is not the case in other cultures, e.g., Chinese family names precede the given name. A family name, surname, or last name is the part of a persons name that indicates to what family he or she belongs. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Patronymics are names which allow identification of an individual based on the father's name, e.g., Marga Olafsdottir or Olfa Thorsson. Many cultures used patronymics before surnames were adopted or came into use. The Dutch in New York, for example, used the patronymic system of names until 1687 when the advent of English rule mandated surname usage.[4] In Iceland, patronymics are used by majority of the population. Surnames made their way into the language in the 19th and 20th century, but are not widely used. In order to protect the patronymics system, it is forbidden by law to introduce a new surname to the language.[5] Look up patronymic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Events March 19 - The men under explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle murder him while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River. ...

As with place names, surname and personal name data may be subject to variant spellings. Older records may include greater variation in spelling than modern records. Phonetic spelling may be the only link between two variantly spelled names; e.g., "Quilter" and "Kieltagh". Records may also include completely different variants of names, such as Mort for MORDECAI.

The transmission of names across generations, marriages and other relationships, and immigrations also causes significant inaccuracy in genealogical data. For instance, children may sometimes take or be given step-parent, foster parent, or adoptive parent names. Women in many cultures have routinely used their spouse's surnames. When a woman remarried, she may have changed her name and the names of her children; only her name; or changed no names. Her birth ("maiden") name may be reflected in her children's middle names; her own middle name; or dropped entirely. To meet Wikipedias quality standards and appeal to a wider international audience, this article may require cleanup. ...

Official records do not capture many kinds of surname changes. For example, fostering, common-law marriage, love affairs, changes in career or location may all result in name changes which are not reflected as such in official records. Common-law marriage (or common law marriage), sometimes called informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute is, historically, a form of interpersonal status in which a man and a woman are legally married. ...

Difficulties can also arise when researching family lines with common surnames such as "Smith", or surnames common to a particular geographic area. Many times, an amateur researcher will assume that a person is a direct ancestor based solely on the given/surnames, only to later find out that this person is not related or is a more distant relative.

Surname data may be found in trade directories, census returns, birth, death & marriage records.

Given names

Genealogical data regarding given names (first names) is subject to many of the same problems as family names and place names.

Additionally, nicknames for personal names are very common — Beth, Lizzie or Betty is common for Elizabeth, which can be confused with Eliza. Patty has been used as a diminutive form for Martha. Also, Amy used for Alice, and Nancy/Ann, and Polly used for a number of feminine names including Mary Ann and Elizabeth. Peggy is often used as a nickname for Margaret. While the feminine names are the most confusing, masculine names can also interchange: Jack, John & Jonathan, Joseph & Josiah, Edward & Edwin, etc. A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or things real name (for example, Nick is short for Nicholas). ...

Middle names provide additional information. Middle names may be inherited, or follow naming customs. Middle names may sometimes be treated as part of the family name. For instance, in some Latin cultures, both the mother's family name and the father's family name are used by the children. Official records may record full names in a variety of ways: First, Middle, Last; Last, Middle, First; Last, First Middle; Last, First, M.

Historically, naming conventions existed in some places, where the name given to one's children was sometimes dictated by a particular formula. It is important to recognize, however, that naming conventions were not used in all families and did not always follow the same formula. They are just a pattern of naming that was common in a particular area during a particular time.

An example is Scotland and Ireland, where:

  • 1st son - named after paternal grandfather
  • 2nd son - named after maternal grandfather
  • 3rd son - named after father
  • 4th son - named after father's oldest brother
  • 1st daughter - named after maternal grandmother
  • 2nd daughter - named after paternal grandmother
  • 3rd daughter - named after mother
  • 4th daughter - named after mother's oldest sister

Another example is Saxony in Germany, where siblings were all given the same first name, often of a favourite saint or local nobility, but different second names and known by their second names.

If a child died, generally the next child of the same gender that was born was given the same name. Quite often, a list of a particular couple's children will show one or two names repeated, sometimes 3 or 4 times. Although this can be confusing, it can also assist a researcher in discovering the date of death for the previous siblings of the same name.

Personal names go through periods of popularity, so it is not uncommon to find many similarly-named people in a generation, and even similarly-named families; e.g., "William and Mary and their children David, Mary, and John".

Many names may be identified strongly with a particular gender; e.g., William for boys, and Mary for girls. Other names may be ambiguous, e.g., Lee, or have only slightly variant spellings based on gender, e.g., Frances (usually female) and Francis (usually male). A unisex name, also known as an epicene name, is a given name that is often given to either a male or a female. ...


It is wise to exercise extreme caution and skepticism with information about dates. Dates are more difficult to recall years after an event, and are more easily mistranscribed than other types of genealogical data. Therefore, one should evaluate whether the date was recorded at the time of the event or at a later date. Dates of birth in vital records or civil registrations and in church records at baptism are generally accurate because they were usually recorded near the time of the event. Family Bibles are often a reliable source for dates, but can be written from memory long after the event. When the same ink and handwriting is used for all entries, the dates were probably written at the same time and therefore will be less reliable since the earlier dates, at least, were probably recorded well after the event. The publication date of the Bible also provides a clue about when the dates were recorded since they could not have been recorded at any earlier date.

People sometimes reduce their age on marriage, and perhaps those under "full age" may increase their age in order to marry or to join the armed forces. Census returns are notoriously unreliable for ages or for assuming an approximate death date. The 1841 census in the UK is rounded down to the next lower multiple of five years. Also, caution should be used when estimating a date for a husband's death based on his absence from the census. A woman at home while her husband is away could be identified as head of household or assumed to be a widow. Image:1870 census Lindauer Weber 01. ... The United Kingdom has taken a census of its population every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941. ...

Baptismal dates are often used to approximate birth dates; however, some families wait 3-5 years before baptizing children, and adult baptisms are not unknown. In addition, both birth and marriage dates may have been adjusted to cover for pre-wedding pregnancies. It is very common for the first child to be born before or within a few months of a marriage and sometimes baptized in the mother's name, later adopting the father's name after the parents' marriage. The father's name can be used even if no marriage has occurred.

Calendar changes must also be considered. In 1752 the date of the new year was changed in England and the American Colonies. Before 1752 the new year started on the 25 March, but in 1752 this was changed to the 1 January. This was part of the transition to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar. Many other European countries had already made the change, and by 1751 there was an 11 day discrepancy between the date in England and the date in other European countries. The date continued to be recorded as usual in 1752 until 2 September 1752, the following day became 14 September 1752. Dates that were recorded in the older system can be shown by "double dating". For example; Original date: 24th of March 1750; Modern date: 24 March 1751; Double dating: 24 March 1750/51. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world. ... The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and came into force in 45 BC (709 ab urbe condita). ...

For events occurring before 1752 in countries where the Julian calendar was still in use, it is best to use double dating whenever the exact year can be ascertained. When transcribing an original record where the exact year is evident but not expressed, the double date can be written as, for example, "24 March 1750[/51]". The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and came into force in 45 BC (709 ab urbe condita). ...

One should also be aware that, in those places using the old Julian calendar, the numbering of months also varied. The "1st month" of the year was considered March, the second April, the third May, and so on. Those 24 days in March which fell before the beginning of the year were generally regarded as being part of the first month. The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and came into force in 45 BC (709 ab urbe condita). ...

NOTE The foregoing may be true for British genealogical records but does in no way apply to records in other countries. A notable exception is the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, which have very detailed and mostly accurate records in the form of church records from the 18th century onwards.

But there, as in any historical research, a critical review of all information and an assessment of the reliability of each source is required.

Reliability of sources

Information (or evidence) found in historical or genealogical sources can be unreliable and it is good practice to evaluate all sources with a critical eye. Factors influencing the reliability of genealogical information include: the knowledge of the informant (or writer); the bias and mental state of the informant (or writer); the passage of time and the potential for copying and compiling errors.

Knowledge of the informant

The informant is the individual who provided the recorded information. Genealogists must carefully consider who provided the information and what he or she knew. In many cases the informant is identified in the record itself. For example, a death certificate usually has two informants: a physician who provides information about the time and cause of death and a family member who provides the birth date, names of parents etc.

When the informant is not identified, one can sometimes deduce information about the identity of the person by careful examination of the source. One should first consider who was alive (and nearby) when the record was created. When the informant is also the person recording the information, the handwriting can be compared to other handwriting samples.

When a source does not provide clues about the informant, genealogists should treat the source with caution. These sources can be useful if they can be compared with independent sources. For example, a census record by itself cannot be given much weight because the informant is unknown. However, when censuses for several years concur on a piece of information that would not likely be guessed by a neighbor, it is likely that the information in these censuses was provided by a family member or other informed person. On the other hand, information in a single census cannot be confirmed by information in an undocumented compiled genealogy since the genealogy may have used the census record as its source and might therefore be dependent on the same misinformed individual.

Bias and mental state of the informant

Even individuals who had knowledge of the fact, sometimes intentionally or unintentionally provided false or misleading information. A person may lie in order to obtain a government benefit (such as a military pension), avoid taxation, or cover up an embarrassing situation (such as the existence of a non-marital child). A person with a distressed state of mind may not be able to accurately recall information. Many genealogical records were recorded at the time of a loved one's death, and so genealogists should consider the effect that grief may have had on the informant of these records.

The effect of time

The passage of time often affects a person's ability to recall information. Therefore, as a general rule, data recorded soon after the event is usually more reliable than data recorded many years later. However, different types of data are more difficult to recall after many years than others. A data type especially prone to recollection errors is dates. Also the ability to recall is affected by the significance that the event had to the individual. These values may have been affected by cultural or individual preferences.

Copying and compiling errors

Genealogists must consider the effects that copying and compiling errors may have had on the information in a source. For this purpose, sources are generally categorized in two categories: original and derivative. A derivative source is information taken from another source. An original is one that is not based on another source. Each time a source is copied, information about the record may be lost and errors may creep in from the copyist misreading, mistyping, or miswriting the information. Genealogists should consider the number of times information has been copied and the types of derivation a piece of information has undergone. The types of derivatives include: photocopies, transcriptions, abstracts, translations, extractions, and compilations.

In addition to copying errors, compiled sources (such as published genealogies and online pedigree databases) are susceptible to misidentification errors and incorrect conclusions based on circumstantial evidence. Identity errors usually occur when two or more individuals are assumed to be the same person. Circumstantial or indirect is evidence that does not explicitly answer a genealogical question, but either may be used with other sources to answer the question, suggest a probable answer, or eliminate certain possibilities. Compiled sources sometimes draw hasty conclusions from circumstantial evidence without sufficiently examining all available sources, without properly understanding the evidence, and without appropriately indicating the level of uncertainty.

The "maximum relationship"

One of the aims in professional genealogy circles has been to determine the maximum degree of separation which currently exists between all people in the world. That is to say, how many generations back is the first common ancestor that the two most distantly related people on earth share.

Latest models, taking into account sexual differentiation, monogamy and realistic migration patterns suggest that the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans probably lived 75-150 generations or 2000-4000 years ago. Moreover, according to these models, the MRCA is likely to have lived somewhere in Southeast Asia (increasing the likelihood of his or her descendants reaching the remote islands of the Pacific), is equally likely to be a man or woman, and is not characterized by an unusually large number of children. These models also show that while a large group (indeed all humans) share recent common ancestors, a given person is likely to share the vast majority of his or her genes with a very small local group. The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of any set of organisms is the most recent individual from which all organisms in the group are directly descended. ...


Main article: Genealogy software

Genealogy software is computer software used to collect, store, sort, and display genealogical data. At a minimum, genealogy software tends to accommodate basic information about individuals, including births, marriages, and deaths. Many programs allow for additional biographical information, including occupation, residence and notes. Many genealogy programs also offer an easy method for keeping track of the sources for each fact. Genealogy software is computer software used to collect, store, sort, and visualize genealogical data. ... Genealogy software is computer software used to collect, store, sort, and visualize genealogical data. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Computer program. ...

Certain programs are geared toward specific religions, and include additional fields relevant to that religion. Other programs focus on certain geographical regions.

Some programs allow for the import of digital photographs, and sound files. Other programs focus on the ability to generate kinship charts, family history books and other publications. Some programs are more flexible than others in allowing for the input of same sex marriages and children born out of wedlock. Same-sex marriage (also called gay marriage, and—less frequently—homosexual marriage) refers to marriage between partners of the same gender (for other forms of same-sex unions that are different from marriages, see the articles linked in that section). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Legitimacy (law). ...

A move is on to incorporate fields for the input of genealogical DNA test results, though this information can be added into the "Notes" field of almost all genealogy software. A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a persons DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. ...

Most genealogy software allow for the export of data in the GEDCOM format that can be shared with people using different genealogy software. Certain programs allow the user to restrict the information that is shared, usually by removing information about living people to protect their privacy. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Privacy has no definite boundaries and it has different meanings for different people. ...

See also

This is a list of regular publications, be they print or online, that serve the genealogical research community. ... This is a list of genealogy web portals, sites on the web that are large curated sets of links to genealogy resources. ... This is a list of genealogy databases and online resources that are not specifically restricted to a particular place, family set, or time period in their content. ... This is a list of hereditary & lineage organizations. ... This is a list of genealogy resources that specialize in lists of surnames and full personal names. ... There are several widely adopted genealogical numbering systems for depicting a family tree or pedigree chart in text format. ... An academic, or scientific, genealogy, is an attempt to organise a family tree of scientists and scholars according to dissertation supervision relationships. ... A genealogy book is used in China to record family history of ancestors. ... Descent from antiquity is an ultimate challenge in prosopography and genealogy, the idea of establishing a well-researched, generation by generation descent of living persons from people acting in antiquity. ...

Notes and references

  1. ^ The word is very commonly misspelled "geneology", which is useful to know for Internet searches. The reason many people use this spelling is that the corresponding pronunciation is the norm in North America and is listed first or exclusively by US dictionaries and encyclopedias (e.g. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]). Although the spelling "geneology" is widely used, it is not normally found in carefully edited texts and not yet recorded in dictionaries. In addition, the North American pronunciation is not even recorded by UK dictionaries (e.g. Longman, normally an expert on UK/US pronunciation differences, Compact Oxford, Cambridge International Dictionary of English).
  2. ^ The mythological origin of English kings is related in a number of derivative sources, such as The Scyldings, an article at Ancient Worlds. In this article one primary source cited is the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle". The following passage appears in the entry for A.D. 449: "Their leaders were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians also." In this context "royal kindred" refers to English kings. Reference: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Part 1: A.D. 1 - 748, part of The Online Medieval & Classical Library. Accessed 2005 March 11.
  3. ^ Haynes, Monica L. "Miniseries encouraged discussion about Roots, race", Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 15, 2002; Rich, Frank. "A Super Sequel to Haley's Comet", Time, February 19, 1979; McClure, Rhonda. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, Second Edition, Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2002. Page 3. ISBN 0028642678
  4. ^ Schulze, Lorine McGinnis. "DUTCH PATRONYMICS OF THE 1600s". Retrieved on 2007-01-21. 
  5. ^ url=http://www.althingi.is/lagasofn/nuna/1996045.html | language = icelandic

Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... [[Media:Italic text]]{| style=float:right; |- | |- | |} is the 50th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 21st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with freedom of information legislation. ... F.B.I. and FBI redirect here. ...


  • WeRelate - GFDL-licensed, Mediawiki software-based genealogy wiki in partnership with the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States, adhering to the goals of sourcing, collaboration and bringing researchers together to deepen understanding of family history. It is the largest genealogy wiki with pages for over 500,000 people.
  • Genealogy Wikia - This is a place where you can create articles about your ancestors, and easily link them to other articles about where and when they lived.
  • WikiTree - One of the main aims of the WikiTree Project is to provide a central place on the internet for kin information about all people we know ever lived, automatically construct bloodline trees, and watch the gradual emergence of global family forest of humanity.
  • Rodovid - GFDL-licensed, Fast growing international genealogy Mediawiki with 78000 personals on 17 national branches .

  Results from FactBites:
Genealogy Today: Family Tree History, Ancestry, Free Lookups (585 words)
Year after year, the site has expanded the information in its searchable databases transcribed from original sources.
Genealogy Today has been committed to keeping genealogists informed of the latest resources and research techniques.
Read the site overview for an introduction to the genealogy information available, along with helpful family tree services.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Genealogy of Christ (1871 words)
The genealogy of Christ according to the First Evangelist descends from Abraham through three series of fourteen members each; the first fourteen belong to the patriarchal order, the second to the royal and the third to that of private citizens.
The genealogy as given in St. Luke enumerates eighteen generations for the same period, a number which harmonizes better with the ordinary course of events.
The genealogy in Luke 3:23-28 ascends from Joseph to Adam or rather to God; this is the first striking difference between the genealogies as presented in the First and Third Gospel.
  More results at FactBites »



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