Genealogy – almost everyone has heard the term, but does everyone know exactly what it means? Genealogy is a term derived from Greek. It is a cluster of words: γενεά, genos – “lineage” and λόγος, logos – “word”, “knowledge”. Genealogy is one of the auxiliary sciences of history. It deals with researching and developing family ties that have occurred between family members. Genealogy is based on their related kinship and affinity. The main topic of interest in genealogy is family and lineage. This branch of science examines their origin, their history, all family relationships, as well as the individual origin of family members.
Genealogical research is performed on the basis of sources, in particular metrics. After collecting the necessary data and materials, genealogical tables are made. It is a form of presentation of collected data on the genealogy of a particular family. It presents affiliations and associations that took place between its members. Family tables can come in a variety of forms, most often they are family trees.
Genealogical research and construction of genealogical tables can be carried out by a professional or amateur genealogist. A professional genealogist, as the name suggests, deals with this professionally, this is his everyday job. An amateur genealogist can be anyone who is curious about the past, wants to learn about the origin of his family, or learn the secrets of his ancestors.
As we have already mentioned, a family tree is one of the most popular forms a family table can take. A family tree is a colloquial name for the descendant array for a person. This tree can be created by hand or with the help of graphics programs available.
As the name suggests – the family tree is presented in graphic form as a tree with roots, branches and leaves. Traditionally, a family tree should depict the descendants of one protoplast. Descendent in genealogy is an offspring, while progenitor means a parent of an offspring. Then the ancestors are the roots of this tree, and the descendants – branches and leaves.
Why create a family tree? Trying to find the answer to this question, it is worth starting with why families have done family trees in the past. Certainly, each of us has seen the trees of royal dynasties or noble families many times. This is not surprising, because relationships between family members were in the past something that was important and to which a lot of attention was paid.
The question of who belongs and who does not belong to the family has been important from the beginning of humanity. From the very beginning of the first civilizations, the family was a group that worked together, protected each other and gave support. That was until the end of the Middle Ages. Then, with the development of law, especially civil law and literature, family affiliation ceased to be of such great importance. It remained important only in certain circles, namely among royal families. Thanks to genealogy, royal families could authenticate the rights to transfer the throne. In contrast, ordinary people used the knowledge of kinship only to a limited extent – usually up to 2-4 generations to determine inheritance rights. In later years, in some countries, the return to constructing family trees followed the partitions, when the partitioners tried to organize people into belonging and non-noble states. For example, to be officially recognized as a nobleman, it was necessary to prove his belonging to the noble state, which is why family trees returned to favour, and the industry producing this type of family tables flourished.
Currently, the first contact with a family tree is usually in childhood. Very often, children in elementary school have the task of making a family tree that covers them, their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. After this event, we usually forget about such a family table for many years. Meanwhile, a board presenting current and dead family members can be an interesting and valuable lesson in family history.
To be able to have your own “my family tree” you need to prepare specific materials to pass them to the company that will make a tree based on them. What do you need to complete? First of all, photos and a diagram showing who is who in the family. Where to get this information? While there should be no major problem with data on parents, grandparents or great grandparents, but with the older generation, there may be difficulties. Searching for family photos and family-related information should start with a conversation with loved ones. Perhaps somewhere in the attic, there are old photo albums or documents that may be useful.
Various information about ancestors can also be found in the town’s chronicles, census records, as well as in church chronicles. We can also find a lot of data on the Internet. There are plenty of pages about genealogy and searching for family connections. State archives may also be useful – some of them are available online.
Undoubtedly yes. After all, the phrase “My Family Tree” is such a popular search on online sites for a reason. The very process of finding information for a tree can become an amazing and adventurous journey into the past, during which it often happens to discover interesting facts and secrets, as well as find intriguing finds. However, a ready-made tree can provide many emotions and memories and be a great family souvenir reminding of the family roots.
Such a genealogical table in the form of a tree is also a “cheat sheet” for people who are in the family. Very often during meetings at the table, e.g. during the holidays, uncles or grandmothers tell different stories mentioning the names of family members. Having a large family makes it almost impossible to remember them all. Meanwhile, the representation of the family in graphic form is simple and transparent and immediately helps to understand who is who in a given story.
A family tree can be a great idea for a gift, especially for people who appreciate blood ties and follow the motto that “family is the most important thing”. It’s the perfect gift for various occasions – grandfather’s day, wedding anniversary or birthday. The gifted person will surely be touched and satisfied with such a gift coming straight from the heart and will be able to proudly say: “I have my family tree”.