How to Find Out if Any of Your Ancestors Were Famous – or Infamous The Internet is an amazing modern tool, creating new ways to shop, entertain, and communicate. But one of the most profound things the Internet is doing right now is helping people to discover their family histories.
While it may be a cliché to say “We can’t know who we are until we know where we came from,” don’t tell that to the millions of people who have taken to the new online craze for family research. While some Americans are lucky enough to know their family tree going back hundreds of years, most people only know of a few generations before things get murky. However, new online services are changing that for many people.
Why should we care about our family history? For starters, most people who set out to research their roots find the experience interesting, exciting, and hugely rewarding. Chances are, there are many remarkable characters—both heroes and villains—in your family line. And you may even have relatives living close by that you didn't know about.
But, best of all, building and maintaining a family tree and understanding our ancestors' experiences can provide meaning and continuity to our lives, while providing something priceless to pass on to the next generation.
So, what’s facilitated this new craze? Billions of historical documents from city, county, state, federal, and military archives have been placed on the Internet where they can be easily searched and downloaded by anyone. And now there are new services that provide ordinary Americans an easy way to research and organize their family histories, as well as share them with their family and friends.
The largest and most comprehensive of these services is called Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com gives you access to all of the data you need on one, comprehensive site. With more than one billion searchable digital records—and thousands of new ones added daily—it’s a key resource for your family history search. It shows you where to start your search, how to construct your family tree, and how to get past seemingly dead-ends in your hunt for information.
The service also provides an easy family-tree module so you can build and share your family tree with others. You can also access copies of many original records, such as birth and death certificates, newspaper clippings, and other fascinating public records about your family. These can be downloaded and printed for scrapbooks, or even as replacements of original documents that you may have lost.
Another fun thing you can do using Ancestry.com is look up old newspaper clippings from 50, 100, or even 150 years ago that mention your family members. It gives you access to expert genealogists who can help you if needed, and contains a wealth of articles on special topics such as researching African-American histories, military research, and more.
Ancestry.com offers subscription plans that are considerably lower than other online services offering this type of service—and none of those companies have the same kind of reach. Best of all, Ancestry.com is currently offering new customers a free, 14-day trial. You can begin researching your family tree right away and see the amazing amount of information available through the service—all for free.