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Genealogy 101

The title tastes like school, but the content is Family. In the following set of articles, I woulld like to tell you about searching for you ancestors in Hungary, in general, but first of all, I would like to list the steps you can take in your own home, in your home country.

Where should we start?

1. Nothing beats family interviews - A

For best results, be like a reporter, and do some footwork before you go out to get your interviews. First, write down everything you already know.

I know, it's easier said than done. Computer generated charts, as useful and practical as they may be, they may not be inspiring for all. I'll tell you what got Me hooked on the matter: someone gave me a colorful page, with the image of an actual tree on it, the two main branches holding up a crown of spaces to fill in with my name and my husband's name, then parents', grandparents', great grandeparents', great great grandparents', and so on, for nine generations back. Now, that was a challenge to get me on the ball! I quickly filled out what I already knew, and then I started to dig.

The family Bible and grandma's Hymnbook

I like old Bibles. Some originally contain a family tree to fill out, but even if they don't, grandmas are very likely to have recorded the birth of their children and their grandchildren, and if the Bible has been handed down from one grandma to the other, you are holding a goldmine in your hands. My family wasn't religious enough to own a Bible, but they were religious enough to have their own hymnals. The tattered Hymnbook of my great-grandma brought tears in our eyes: never before seen names written down with letters recalling times past.

Genealogy - Proprietorship Records

Proprietorship Records

One of the most beautiful things about records of proprietorship is that you will see the actual signatures of your ancestors, and very likely those of their extended family as well. Back in the days before high technology, it was imperative to hold the family together, and make sure that they stay put: they needed as many hands on the fields as possible. So even if the land was divided between descendants, and even if someone decided to sell, they sold it to people in the family. The lot may have traded hands, but it stayed with the rest of the family property.

<--- …And everyone involved signed the papers.

Birth, marriage, and death certificates; burial date announcements and 'In Remembrance' cards

You can usually find these in your mother's or grandmother's shoebox -- the family safe -- usually along with beautifully old pictures, letters, and if you are lucky, someone's diary.

Record your findings and your sources, and start a researcher's journal
. (What did you find and where; what's its significance; what else do you need, where you might find those, etc.) Then grab some paper and pencil, write out your questions, and then, armed with a recorder and a camera, go over to your parents and your grandparents, to your aunts, uncles, and cousins, and talk.

To be continued

The organizers reserve the right to change the program at any time.