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How to Use a Family History to Determine Your Ancestors' National Origins

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/19/2007 | Genealogy

To discover ones true national origins can be an exciting venture. For many people, family records are not as complete as they would wish them to be so they seek out the missing pieces of the family tree puzzle in order to arrive at the eventually clear answers to what exact national origin a person may share.

In order to make sure that the search for the national origin is a proper search, one needs to examine all the variants on a persons surname and run the variants through all available databases. Also, it is important to see where a surname may have originated from. If a surname or the variant spellings of a surname all point to a specific part of the world or national origin, it would probably be wise to conduct thorough searches of all the local country records where the name may derive from.

This is not as daunting of a task as one would automatically assume. The year is not 1956 and such a search will not require extensive letter writing campaigns, costly and numerous long distance phone calls, nor extensive travel all over the world to track down local records. Much of the information that is available on family histories and the way family histories tie into national origins can be located or researched online. This allows for extensive searches to be conducted in a quicker and easier manner than had been performed in the past.

A comprehensive search must be performed that will back track the family history so as to see where the national origins derive from. That is, there should be no stone left unturned when it comes to making all the necessary searches. If a search is not properly and comprehensively performed, then there is a risk that the information that one receives is only partial and partial information does not yield the complete picture. Worse yet, when the information is not entirely complete, there is the unfortunate tendency on peoples part to fill in the blanks with guess work. This guess work is patchy at best and will generally result in a arrived at conclusion that is not accurate, but rather information that is convenient. If one is seeking inaccurate, false information, then there is no reason to even conduct a search considering the fact that the finally answer will be nothing more than an answer that has been made up from cloth.

Ultimately though, there will be questions posed along the lines of when it would be wise to call off a search if no new information is discovered. The answer to that question lies with the individual doing the searching and how much the eventual answer to the question of national origin is worth to the person performing the search. It is, of course, highly advisable to study and search as much as one is able to and not give up easily. To throw in the towel on the researching of the family history will not yield positive results, but if a person perseveres and conducts exhaustive research, the person will more than likely find the answers to the questions one seeks.