FAQs about Genealogy:
Q: I would like to find my ancestors. Where did you begin?
A: First of all, I researched local genealogy classes and also looked online. I'd heard of ancestry.com and was told the Mormon church was a strong advocate of genealogy and had a massive data base. But still, I did not know how to begin. I'd heard family stories from my Spanish family members and also from my mother about her English ancestors. I found a class taught by a professional genealogist and my passion for genealogy erupted like a flame. It was much easier for me in a class seeing slides, being shown what to look for and learning how to actually use the data bases I'd heard about.
Q: Which data base do you use the most?
A: I use both www.ancestry.com and www.familysearch.org because I feel they are the most accurate. Ancestry offers monthly and annual memberships, both Basic and International. Since I wanted to follow both of my parent's family trees, I chose International (About $300 per year). The Family Search data base is very good. They have libraries in many large cities that accommodate family historians and it is FREE. You can research online, order a copy of a document and go to the library. There are various options and the people at Family Search are very helpful. There are other data bases that I have looked at, but most charge a fee.
Q: I've heard people say Ancestry shows a lot of family trees that include "just copying another's tree without documentation." Is this true?
A: YES. I have found this often. Unless I see a document "proving" the information, I do not copy it unless the family names are the same names I have already found in my own tree. I turned to the book titled, GENEALOGICAL PROOF STANDARD by Christine Rose as well as SECRETS OF TRACING YOUR ANCESTORS by W. Daniel Quillen. Both books are well worth the money if you are serious about finding and proving your sources.
Q: What types of documents did you find that led you to write THE GIRL IMMIGRANT and SILVAN LEAVES?
A: This was great fun, exciting and a profound "trip" for me. I found ship manifests that showed the names of my family, their siblings and children as well as the family member they left behind in their villages, how tall they were, color of eyes, hair and if there were any facial characteristics noted. Once I followed them from Spain to Honolulu, Hawaii where they were admitted as aliens, I was able to follow the history there. More ship manifests showed ancestors leaving Honolulu for San Francisco. Once in California, I found Federal Census lists where I could read the street they lived on, who lived with them etc. Once you type information into Ancestry or Family Search, other documents pop up that push you farther into their family history (birth, death, marriage, divorce and public records information).
Q: What about the libraries. I've heard that the Library of Congress is amazing, but I can't afford to travel there. What do you suggest?
A: The Library of Congress has an amazing website. Also, the National Archives, the DAR, SAR, and others. When I first began my projects, I found a wealth of information by using key words and actually found family members I didn't know existed. There are photos, documents, stories and other books. Keep researching on the internet. In 2008 when I began, there was not as much information that is available today in 2015. Amazing results.
Q: I saw images of Family Trees on your blog and you speak about a PDF that I can fill in on the computer. How can I get one?