Why It’s Important To Ask Different Genealogy Research Questions

Celebrating Family History Month can involve remembering traditions and loved ones, but it can also signify a fresh start in your genealogy research. Do you want to discover your ancestors more quickly and efficiently? The best way is to adopt a focused approach that begins with a research question. And if you want to know more about your ancestors, those questions need to go beyond birth, marriage, and death.

question mark from letters on white background

In a previous blog post, I discussed what to include in your research question. You can read “You Are Here” to see the basics of what you need.

But have you thought about the many different questions you could ask…much more than where was someone born or when did someone die? What about…

  1. What occupations or professions did my ancestors have, and how did they earn a living?
  2. Where did my ancestors live throughout their lives, and did they move frequently?
  3. What significant historical events or migrations might have impacted my ancestors’ lives?
  4. Did my ancestors serve in the military, and if so, can I find records of their service?
  5. What religious affiliations did my ancestors have, and were there any notable religious events that occurred during their lives?
  6. Are there any family stories, traditions, or heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations, and if so, who has them now?
  7. What health conditions or medical issues may have affected my ancestors, and how did they manage their health?
  8. Can I identify any notable achievements, contributions, or hardships in the lives of my ancestors that are worth preserving for future generations?

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Asking any question that doesn’t include vital statistics will lead you to a more complete and rounded view of your ancestors. Think outside the box. You might find some interesting things you have in common.

Genealogy tip: Always start with a single research question. It can change as you go, but saying “I want to know all I can about Grandpa Joe” doesn’t help you get to where you want to be. Keep your focus on one thing at a time.

If you need help crafting your research question or with any part of your genealogy project, just click below. I would love to help your journey to the past.

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