Finding our roots.
Have you been thinking about researching your family history, but are unsure of where to begin? It can seem like a daunting task, but step-by-step it can be pretty easy, and FUN! What a wonderful legacy to leave for your children and their children, and so on down the line.
Now is the best time to start, before those who hold key pieces of information are gone. Grandma may well be the only one left who remembers where her father was born, so ask now while she’s still around. Once she’s gone, the information may not be found so easily.
To begin, get yourself a notebook, a small tape recorder perhaps, and get interviewing! You also should get a computer program to enter your data into; not totally necessary, but it sure makes things convenient and organized. You can download a free genealogy program on the web such as Legacy Family Tree.
Begin by recording your own information, spouse, children, grandchildren, etc. Be sure to include all information you can find- birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial dates, death causes, and places if available. It’s also interesting to add bits of information such as “Grandpa Joe had a glass eye.” or “Grandma Nellie was a dancer with the Rockettes in 1921”. Then begin interviewing your parents, grandparents, anyone who knows anything about your family history, and write it down. Very important thing to remember: ALWAYS make a note of who told you what. At some point you will have a question and you won’t remember who the source was. Also important, grandma may be wrong about something, so be flexible with the information.
If she insists that her father was born in 1880 and the census shows a different year, don’t panic. People occasionally weren’t certain of their exact birthdates, as they just didn’t celebrate them back then like we do today. You may need to check birth records from surrounding years in order to find him.
Census records very often will have misspellings and errors, so keep this in mind when searching. This also goes for online databases, too, if the information is submitted by another researcher you cannot always be guaranteed of 100% accuracy. If there is something you are unsure of, make a note in your records that you are not certain if the info is accurate. If your roots are in Brockway, a great place to start is on our News Archive page. There you can search the Brockway newspaper archives for information on your desired surname. Some other great genealogy resources:
- Ancestry.com – a fee-based site, but your best bet for finding what you need! $$$
- Ellis Island Immigration Records – includes immigrations from 1892-1924. FREE
- FamilySearch.org – wonderful searchable online database. FREE
- Cyndi’s List – a huge collection of helpful online sites and databases for every country. FREE
- Morelli Family Tree – a locally based website for the Brockway Morelli family genealogy.
- Trentino Genealogy – An informative site for those who have ancestry in the Trentino, Italy area, as do many of Brockway’s inhabitants.
If you have a genealogy page for your local family and would like to include it on the Brockway Historical Society website, please submit the address here.
Taylor Memorial Museum is home to several genealogical publications of local families. Our collection consists of donated family trees (not digital-paper format) which are only available by visiting the Taylor Museum.