What is genealogy?
It comes from the Ancient Greek “γενεαλογία (genealogía)” meaning “the making of a pedigree” or “to trace ancestry”.
Who is a genealogist?
A person who traces or studies the descent of people or families. Genealogists compile lists of ancestors, which they arrange into pedigree charts or other written forms. The output of a genealogist is called genealogical work to preserve the past for future generations and for self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling. Genealogy research is also performed for scholarly or forensic purposes, or to trace the legal next of kin to inherit under intestacy laws.
How to record ancestry?
Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family
and to demonstrate the kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives. The field of family
history is broader than genealogy and covers not just lineage but also family
and community history and biography.
What is difference between hobbyist and professional genealogist?
Genealogists, as hobbyists, typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their spouses out of curiosity about their heritage. This curiosity can be particularly strong among those whose family
histories have been lost or unknown due to, for example, adoption or separation from family
through divorce, death, or other situations. In addition to simply wanting to know more about who they are and where they came from, individuals may research their genealogy to learn about any hereditary diseases in their family
Professional genealogists may also conduct research for others, publish books on genealogical methods, teach, or produce their own databases. They may work for companies that provide software or produce materials of use to other professionals or to amateurs.
What is volunteerism in genealogy?
Volunteer efforts figure prominently in genealogy. These range from the extremely informal to the highly organized. The informal side is to maintain message boards and mailing lists on particular surnames, regions, and other topics. These forums can be used to try to find relatives, request record lookups, obtain research advice, and much more. Many genealogists participate in loosely organised projects, both online and off. These collaborations take numerous forms. Some projects prepare name indexes for records and publish the indexes, either online or off.
Those looking for a more structured volunteer environment can join one of the thousands of genealogical societies worldwide, like Shajra
. Most societies have a unique area of focus, such as a particular surname, ethnicity, geographic area, or descendancy from participants in a given historical event. Genealogical societies are almost exclusively staffed by volunteers and may offer a broad range of services, including maintaining libraries for members; publishing newsletters; providing research assistance to the public; offering classes or seminars; and organising record preservation or transcription projects.