Where Do I Begin?

Genealogy is the study of your ancestors.  It’s more than just names, dates and places on a map. That is an important part of who your ancestors were and the opportunities you have received because of them.

By learning the time period they lived in we can better understand the challenges they faced and learn how to overcome our own.  What exciting places in the world did your ancestors live in and how did they immigrate to America and when?  How did they participate in the historical events of their day?  What were the daily challenges they faced?

Follow these steps and find who you really are:

  1. Start by recording what you know from interviews with your living relatives.  You can use a notebook to start, a genealogy computer software program to become better organized and post what you learn and share with others with similar interests.
  2. Log onto several Internet websites to learn the meaning of your Surname, where it is most often found in the world.  Here are some of my favorites:
  •  is a free website with over 11 million surname meanings and country maps of where they originated.

  • is a membership website that helps you learn the meaning, origin and average  life expectancy along with occupations
  • Behind the Name – the etymology and history of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Dutch, German, French, Jewish, Spanish, Italian and Scandinavian surnames.
  • Family education – How much do you really know about your family name?  Find the meaning and origin of your last name!
  • SurnamesDB – Our Database contains 49,352 last names from Smith to Smiley and Aaron to Zywicki.  Where does yours come from and what does it mean?