Genealogy for Beginners

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” These wise words, penned by the renowned author, George Santayana, decades ago, still find relevance today, find his bestselling book and many others.. Indeed, some of the challenges we confront today may be traced from the past lives of our ancestors.

This is why an in-depth study of their lifestyles makes great sense. We are here to discuss one of the interventions that may possibly help you out. This is the study of genealogy.


For a start, the term genealogy refers to an individual’s line of descent that is continuously traced from a common ancestor. It is also called a family tree, family history or chronicles.


To trace one’s genealogy, several sources of information may be employed. The following are the key sources of information that may come in handy at such times:

Vital State Records

Each state or jurisdiction does keep certain vital records. These may provide clues as to the parentage and history of the population concerned. Some of these vital records are birth records, death records, marriage and divorce records, company ownership, citizenship records, and land titles, among others.

Religious Records

Various religions also keep a record of the various aspects of their congregation. These too may provide the needed support and source of such records. Examples of these records include but certainly not limited to baptism or christening record (Christianity), Brit milah or baby naming certificates (Judaism), confirmation records (Anglican and Catholic), Bar or bat mitzvah (Judaism), marriage, funeral or death records (all religious outfits), and membership records (all religious outfits).

Genealogy for Beginners

Municipal Records

Just like the various state jurisdictions, each municipality will often keep a record of its residents. These records may also provide primary sources of data which may provide a basis for drafting genealogies. The city directories, telephone directories, residence, and occupations are some of these records.

Citizenship Records

In the process of authorizing entry into and exit from a nation, the government does compile some vital data. Such data may also form a basis for future genealogy recordkeeping. The immigration, emigration, and citizen naturalization records are some of these. They are mainly handy if your parents were born in foreign nations and relocated to your current country of residence.

Voter Registration Records

Lastly, voter registration records may also serve as vital sources of such crucial data. Voter data are no ordinary set of data. Only bona fide citizens are allowed to vote in any jurisdiction. For this reason, such data are generally more reliable than most other data in verifying ancestry.


The following are some of the major significance of tracing one’s genealogy:

Medical Histories

A couple of medical conditions are often passed on from one generation to another generation. By tracing your lineage backward, you will get to understand the sources of these sicknesses. This knowledge can also help you to prepare psychologically for any impending attacks.

Choice of Marriage Partners

In most cultures and religions, marriage between blood relatives is completely prohibited. Such marriages are also not recommended given that the offspring produced will normally be vulnerable to genetic defects. Only a strong knowledge of one’s past may help forestall such marriages.

Settling Property disputes

Most people do pass their property on to their descendants as opposed to donating to charity or to the state. The most notable of such property is land and real estate. By having a firm proof of your lineage, you will be able to offer substantial proof to such a claim.

Fulfill Religious Rites

Some religious outfits do conduct certain rituals on behalf of ancestors. This requires a firm knowledge of one’s lineage. Perhaps the most prominent of these outfits is the Church of Latter-Day Saints. It requires its members to have a firm knowledge of the identity of their ancestors.

Quench Curiosity

Generally speaking, it pays to know more about one’s past, regardless of the prevailing reasons to do so. You definitely want to know who your great grand grandparents came from, where they stayed, their years of births and deaths, as well as their occupations, for curiosity’s sake.


As you may well have noted, genealogy is a very important aspect of human life. Indeed, a sound knowledge of your lineage is important and great for your success in life. That is why you should consider carrying out such a study for yourself. Best of luck as you take the next huge step to that effect.