Why not take a closer look at your family? Be curious like this black bear on our deck that decided to peer through the living room window to see what we were doing!

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Please answer the following questions:

  1. Would you like to learn more about your ancestral roots?
  2. Are you interested in building a family tree?
  3. Do you want to record your family history for your children?
  4. Would you like to obtain a better understanding of your family dynamics?
  5. Would you like to solve family mysteries?

Did you answer “YES” to any of these questions?

If so, genealogical research may appeal to you.

People conduct genealogical research for many reasons, including those listed above. There are many resources available to those interested in this activity and this blog series will explore some of them.

What Is Your First Step?

Genealogical research is a process and, as such, requires the following basic framework to guide your efforts.

1.  A Starting Point.

2.  Setting Objectives.

You will refine your search over time but deciding on these two points should be your first step.

Who Will Be Your Starting Point?

Reflect on the following questions. I have been conducting genealogical research for years and they helped me get started. I have included some personal comments afterwards that I hope may benefit you.

  1. Who is your family? Think of this from both a maternal and paternal perspective.
  2. Now answer the first question with respect to previous generations.
  3. Who have played pivotal roles in your family dynamics?
  4. What family members have significantly impacted your life?
  5. What family mysteries have intrigued you more than any others?
  6. What family members are central to these family mysteries?
  7. Who do you feel drawn to most?
  8. Who do you want as the starting point for your genealogical research?

Who was at the centre of your family dynamics?

I am a second generation Canadian-Italian and I’ve always been interested in learning about my family history. My mother’s parents were born in Sicily and my father’s, Calabria. My grandparents immigrated to North America in the early 1900’s; my mother’s eventually settled in Toronto, Ontario and my father’s, in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Even though I had a close relationship with both sets of grandparents and there were family mysteries associated with all four that intrigued me, I spent more time with my father’s and, as a result, decided to begin my genealogical research by exploring my Calabrian roots.

My Nana, Maria Caterina Spagnuolo Andreoli Perri, was the matriarch of our large Perri family. My father was one of her nine children and she was the centre of our family dynamics. She valued family above all else and had a significant role in determining the woman I became. My Nana left Calabria when she was twenty-three and never returned. Very little was known about her early life in southern Italy and, as time passed, her family mysteries intrigued me more and more. As a result, when I decided that I wanted to learn more about my Calabrian ancestral roots, Nana Caterina became my starting point.

Who will be your genealogical research starting point? I’d welcome your comments.

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The next blog in this series will discuss why setting objectives before beginning genealogical research is critical to your success. I hope you enjoy the photographs!

Crypt in Punta Arenas, southern Chile.

Many Italians immigrated to South America and my husband and I paid our respects at this large crypt in a cemetery located in Punta Arenas, southern Chile. Where will you find your ancestors?

Madrid bull fighting ticket

Madrid bull fighting ticket Why would someone keep a ticket to a bullfight in Madrid that they went to in 1992?

Venetian masks

Do you really know the people in your family or, like these Venetian masks; have they worn disguises to keep their true identity hidden from you?