Maegan Kasteler | Apr 15, 2019

Genealogy ABCs: Ancestors—Emigrant

There are so many aspects of genealogy, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. How do you keep it all straight? How do you make sure you are covering all your bases and making the most out of your research?

Well, we are here to help! To help keep you organized, we have developed this 5-part series: The Genealogy ABCs.

A: Ancestors

It's fairly obvious—coming in first is ancestors! This is the key element of family history for all genealogists. Your ancestors are the reason you do what you do. Learning about your progenitors can help you learn more about yourself, why you are the way you are, and other defining characteristics.

B: Biological

There is something to be said for biological connections. But not all the connections in your tree are biological. Some of your connections are made through adoption, marriage, extramarital affairs, or other ways. Some kids are raised in foster systems and considered a part of the family without being formally adopted. Some children come from relationships outside of marriage. Some marriages, rather than being a bond by the terms of the law of the land, are common-law (meaning they considered themselves married, but the law didn't). Some people have children from multiple marriages.

Some of these circumstances can make your research difficult, if not impossible. Remember to stay open to whatever you may find in your tree.

C: Census

Another obvious choice: C is for census. A census record is arguably one of the most important and useful records that a genealogist can find. Understanding these records is a skill every family history buff can have up their sleeve.

Read more about census records, and watch recorded sessions from past conferences here.


DNA is fast becoming one of the most innovative and simultaneously controversial topics in the genealogy community. Commonly a trending topic on news sites, DNA research has led to people finding long-lost relatives, uncovering untold family secrets, or even discovering unwanted genetic health information. This topic was the subject of countless classes at this year's RootsTech conference, and multiple industry-leading companies announced major developments to their DNA testing and reporting platforms.

There are now more ways than ever before to include genetic genealogy in your family history research.

Read more about census records, and watch recorded sessions from past conferences here.

E: Emigrant

An important part of almost every family tree is emigrants. These are people who leave their homeland for whatever reason and resettle in a new place. These people may have left due to war, religious persecution, employment, political unrest, famine, or many other reasons. These people often sacrificed everything they owned and faced untold trials, and sometimes they were not welcomed when they reached their destination.

These stories from your family tree can truly bring humility and understanding as you come to better understand your ancestors and where they came from.

Check back soon for more of the Genealogy ABCs. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Maegan Kasteler

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