Thursday, November 6, 2014

I bet someone wrote a book about your ancestors

If you can track all of your ancestral lines back eight generations, to roughly the late 1700s, you will have almost 300 ancestors to keep track of (not including your ancestors siblings). It's a lot of people.

Have you ever thought about how many descendants your ancestors have? 

Members of the Church often tell me that, since they are the only member of the Church in their family, they don't expect any of their ancestors to have been baptized for the dead. Then, three or four generations back, they find someone that has. Who did that? One of the other descendants, who you probably don't know.

The number of ancestors you have doubles with each generation. So you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents etc. But the number of descendants is multiplied by the number of children each of the ancestors had. So even though you only have 8 great-grandparents, if your great-grandparents had 10 kids, and each of their 10 kids had 10 kids, those great-grandparents could have hundreds of descendants.

And that's why...

There's absolutely, positively, most definitely no way you are the only genealogist in your family. Your family is massive. Bigger than you can imagine. Sands of the earth, stars in the sky big. Someone else out there cares about the same ancestors you care about. And I bet they wrote a book.

Here are some ideas for finding it:

1. Search a surname and place on FamilySearch books.

3. Search the catalog at a local library near a place where your ancestors lived.

Books are great genealogy resources. They can jump-start or rejuvenate your research instantly. The people who write them are often part of local genealogical societies and have accessed records you don't even know that you don't even know about. These books don't show up on regular records searches, though, so you have to go looking for them.

Go on!

Photocredit: adamr

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