The search for our ancestors can be such a rewarding experience and yet quite time consuming and frustrating. The question is how to trace your family tree. Each new record or piece of evidence we find brings about new information about our families. Finding a marriage record for an ancestor is quite exciting. A wealth of information can come from marriage records including a spouses name, place of marriage, birth years, etc.. With the continuous introduction of more and more digital records, the search for records would seem to be an easier task.
This is not necessarily true however. With the increased numbers of records available, it can also mean an abundance of records that aren’t what you’re looking for and the potential for more questions to arise. According to late census records, death records and her cemetery headstone, my grandmother was born in 1901. How then can she be found in the 1900 census? These are questions that arise as you begin to trace your family tree and ones that can leave you stumped and frustrated. I know that my great grandfather came from Ireland to New York in 1904, but how do I know which of the 52 immigrants with the same name listed in ship manifests for that year is him?
There are many ways in which to narrow down the records to our ancestor and this is where professional experience and genealogical knowledge can be quite beneficial. Also, being organized in your genealogical quest is crucial. Whether you are working with digital or physical documents, the amount of “paper” involved in ancestral research can quickly become overwhelming. Without a organized plan of attack for your research, you can miss out on important pieces of information about your ancestors.