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Saving a Life: Your Family’s Health History

A recent drug advertisement talks about how health problems can be caused not only by the environment, but also through heredity.  For many years, health professionals have known that many common health problems run in families.  The more you know about your family health history, the more you can do to reduce your risk of serious illness.  As genealogists and family historians we routinely collect information about our ancestors and the causes of their deaths but putting the information together in a documented health history can not only assist your physician, but may save your life.   Passing this information to your children or other family members may also provide them with life saving information.

Jumping the Pond: Finding the Origins of Your  Immigrant Ancestor

Before you flyaway to your ancestor’s county of origin, you will need to do your homework.  Whatever the nationality of your immigrant ancestor, to effectively search you must begin at home.  The most important piece of information is the town or parish where your ancestor was born.  If you don’t know that information you must dig through records at home to harvest as much information as possible.  This lecture will look at the types of records available in the United States that might help you identify a town of origin in the native country.

My DNA Journey

Although I would not classify myself as an expert in DNA, I have struggled through the process, and perhaps like you, questioned why I would want to test.  This lecture is a case study and looks at my personal journey moving from a passive roll (who are these people I match) to a more active roll (who do I need to test).  This has allowed me to break through some brick walls especially in my Irish research, where paper records are limited. This lecture is focused on those beginning to use DNA.

Strategies for Starting Your English Research

Beginning your English research is no different from any other genealogical research. You begin with yourself, and work back until you identify the immigrant. Once you identify the immigrant, there’s more work to do in this country (or wherever they first settled) before you “jump the pond.” Success in immigrant research is highly dependent on discovering the exact location in the homeland where your ancestors were born and typically clues to the location are in records here. In addition to knowing the location, you need some additional corroborating details to separate your ancestor from others of the same name.  Once you know the locality you can begin your search in civil and church records in England. 

Updated 3-1-2021

Updated 3-1-2021

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