What is Genealogy?


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines genealogy as “The study of family history,” but anyone who has studied, or wants to study, his or her own family tree, knows that genealogy is so much more than documents and photographs.


It’s about discovering who you are, where you came from, and what your roots are all about.


Most of us have an innate sense of longing, or at least a healthy curiosity, to know something about our ancestors. It’s often a pleasant surprise to connect with a relative you haven’t spoken to in years, or didn’t even know existed at all.


What kind of characters existed in your bloodline? Was one of your great-great-great grandfathers in the Civil War? Did one of your ancestors really help build the transcontinental railroad? Was that long-lost uncle of yours really in the mob?


Genealogy is about connecting family members together, about building a sense of togetherness, regardless of how many miles or decades apart it is. The internet makes genealogy easier to do. Networking with other family members seeking the same information makes the search more fruitful, and perhaps more accurate, as families tend to compare notes, photos, and information.


Before the internet, we searched our family trees via census records, Bibles, church records, tombstones, word of mouth, libraries, and other avenues of obtaining information.



Today it couldn’t be easier to delve into your family history online. But doing research online has its drawbacks too. Sometimes you aren’t sure where to look, or how reliable the information is once you find it.


What’s missing?


The human element. The family factor.


Sure, you can access records all day long, but it isn’t the same as connecting with a family member who has the information you need, or who needs the information you have.


Your records search may uncover the fact that your great-great-grandmother Sarah was part Blackfoot Indian, but it takes your third cousin Kate to supply a photo of her, along with a personal family story of how your great-great-grandmother lived in a time and place that demanded that she hide her Native American heritage. Another distant relative may describe how the early Census forms had no category “Indian” or “Native American” to mark. Their only choice was black or white. But this cousin has pages from Sarah’s handwritten journal and wants to share them with you.


THIS is what genealogy is all about, and this is what Full Family Tree is all about.


There are a lot of genealogy sites you can visit, but you have to pay, and basically what you get are a bunch of shared documents. You aren’t really connected to family members who are there for the same reasons you are—to acquire personal information, exchange stories and photos, and share a sense of family ties. Cold hard facts aren’t the same as compelling or heartwarming stories.


So, if you have ever thought that you wanted to trace your family tree, there is no better day to start than today, and no better place to start than FullFamilyTree.com



Tammy Ruggles

Tammy Ruggles is a freelance writer based in Kentucky. She enjoys art, photography, film, and spending time with family and friends.

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