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It’s another week of the Covid-19 lockdown for most of us and the 4th week of the 2020 A to Z Challenge. I hope you’ve been enjoying the series. Do you have a favorite post so far?
For today’s post – I am going to be answering 7 popular questions novice researchers, including myself at one time!, ask. If you have an additional question, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!
#1. What is the best platform for researching my family’s ancestry?
Family Tree Maker is a computer software that’s been around for 30 years. Currently it is available to purchase for MAC and PC for a one time price c/o MacKiev. I remember my mother using this software on our computer when dial up was the thing.
It does offer a FamilySync with Ancestry.com® allowing:
- Syncing your trees in Family Tree Maker to your Ancestry trees
- Searching Ancestry’s databases and merging data into your tree
- Viewing Ancestry Hints®
- Uploading and downloading a trees
- Web dashboard Information
- The interactive map
- Viewing sources on Ancestry
The two most popular ONLINE sites where you can build your family tree are – Ancestry and Family Search (powered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). As cliche as it may seem — the answer for what platform is better for you is the one that you find most convenient and easy to use. I personally prefer Ancestry.com despite the price tag because I find Family Search a tad bit more difficult to add/delete sources and family members to your tree.
#2. Is that my family coat of arms?
One of the more confusing things when you start out is figuring out which of the family coat of arms belongs to your ancestors. You’ll see in the hints on Ancestry.com, different family coat of arms that people have added to their own family trees. But why are they different? And which one is the right one?
Contrary to popular belief, coats of arms are NOT associated with surnames. In fact, they are inherited through the MALE line. Some eldest daughters in England inherited the coat of arms if there were no male brothers to carry on the line. However, you cannot just assume that because the father had one coat of arms that his son would have the exact same.
For example look at the coat of arms for William Longespée and his 2nd son, Stephen Longespée:
So while you might want to show off your family coat of arms on your family tree or buy a family coat of arms on any of the websites offering such souvenirs and trinkets, beware. Unless you are 100% sure of your ancestors’ coat of arms, it becomes a guessing game.
#3. Where Can I Find The Book on My Family?
The likelihood is that if your family can be traced back to the Founding Families of America, you will be able to find a genealogical book about your family (either official or non-official).
Some popular American family books include:
Just remember to be very careful about your research because many of these books can include inaccuracies. If you add a connection found in one of these books to your family tree, it’s best to look for a second resource to back it up.
#4. How are Cousins Related?
When researching your family tree, you’ll found plenty of cousins, aunts and uncles that are your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.
The degree of relationship is based on the most recent direct ancestor that two people have in common.
Example: 2nd cousins have two great-great-grandparents in common.
#5. What is a Double Cousin?
Double cousins occur when two or more siblings marry two or more siblings from another family.
Example: My paternal great-grandmother Dee had two sisters who married two brothers in the early 1900s. Children of these two great-aunts are double cousins because they share all four grandparents (or great-grandparents) in common.
#6. Am I Related to Anyone Famous?
Want to see if you are related to someone famous? There are two ways to go about it.
Or, if you are more interested in a celebrity’s ancestry, you can painstakingly look up their family tree on famouskin.com too.
#7. What Questions Should I Ask My Ancestors?
It is very crucial to your family tree that you write down or record your ancestors’ stories and histories for future. But what questions should you ask your ancestors?
Here are just 10 of my favorite questions to ask your ancestors.
SHARING IS CARING
I hope these answers have been helpful! How is your ancestry research going? Any fun finds?