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Genealogy - Getting Started

What is Genealogy?
Genealogy is a written record of someoneís ancestorís and living family. Simply, it shows event information such as births, marriages and deaths to establish kinship. However, it can also lead you into a historical investigation of your ancestorís.

How to begin?
There is only one place to begin, with yourself!
The obvious facts are your name, date of birth, your parentsí names, any brothers or sisters, places of residence and any other important events in your life.

Make a note of all living relatives and draw a rough family tree with yourself at the bottom. Even if you can only go as far back as your grandparents itís a good start, especially if you have their birth, marriage or death certificates.

Don't lose sight of the fact that although there may be only ONE of you and you may have only had 2 parents and 4 grandparents, you had 8 great grandparents, 16 gg grandparents, 32 ggg grandparents, 64 gggg grandparents 128 ggggg grandparents etc.

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) was set up several years ago by combining the Hertfordshire County Records Office and the County Local Studies Library. It is situated at County Hall, Hertford, and has an area with microfilm and microfiche readers set aside for family history research as well as Internet access. They have resently launched a facility that allows you to order birth, death and marriage certificates over the Internet. The address is http://www.hertsdirect.org/.

You can also join a family history society, the Federation of Family History Societies will have details about your local group.

Practical Family History is an excellent magazine for beginners and itís sister publication, Family Tree Magazine for the more experienced researcher.

Having got this far you will no doubt have realised what a plus having a computer is as a great deal of information and ideas can be exchanged on the Internet. There is a site dedicated to Family History which I highly recommend. Genealogy in Hertfordshire is run by Chris Reynolds, a family history professional, who offers help and some great advise.

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