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Genealogy Pioneers

May 5th, 2014

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Genealogy Research How Our Ancestors Did Research

My great-grandparents would have marveled at how easily genealogy research can be done today with just the click of a mouse! Information that used to take years of research to discover now is found so very quickly. In days gone by information was verbally passed down from one generation to the next generation relying solely on memory. When keeping records through writing evolved, myths were some of the first things recorded and stored on these written documents. Ancient ancestors believed they were children of gods and their family history was born out of a myth. The earliest genealogy research records are myths.

Genealogy Research and The Bible

One of the more famous bits of genealogy research perhaps is written in the Bible. “So and So begat So and So who lived to be 325 and begat so and so….” The famous passages from Genesis and the Gospel are often referred to as “The Begats.” The Bible is often looked at as the genealogy research record of Jesus. Nearly all the Old Testament characters are somehow related to Jesus.

In wondering why our ancient ancestors bothered with keeping genealogies it more than likely was due to squabbles over inheritances In the times when the King James Bible was comprised (1611) this would have especially been an issue of contention while countries were under divine right monarchies. In these times people who hoped to have a chance at all of property or a title needed to prove they were related to the recently deceased owner.

The 1900’s

My Aunt Ruth use to take me on genealogy research trips with her in the mid 1960’s in our great home state of New Jersey. In those days it was not possible to do any type of substantial genealogy research unless you traveled physically to the place that your ancestors had lived and died. Their lives were traced through dusty, faded and quite often illegibly scribbled notes on yellowed, brittle pages in the halls of public records in the town that you thought your ancestors may have once lived in as you searched for any trace of them and their lives.

In the past two of the very best resources of genealogy research were cemeteries and family Bibles. Our ancestors would record all the important family information in the blank pages of their family Bible and pass this book down through the generations. Family Bibles are gems to genealogists as they were recorded by the very people they’re researching.

The next best resource was a cemetery headstone. It was common genealogy research practice o hold a piece of paper over the headstone and rub it with a pencil to more easily read the information and take it back home and add it to the other records and information that had so painstakingly been gathered.

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