Genealogy refers to studying families, their history, and tracing their ancestry. Individuals in this profession, the genealogists, gather information about families to find out their lineage and relationships through oral interviews, old records, and DNA tests and analyses. They can help in the formation of family trees to identify the descendants and ancestors of a person.
Knowing about your roots can give you the validation of identity you may be seeking or give you a true sense of who you are. It can help you identify and create your own unique identity and give you an insight into what hardships and hurdles the ancestors faced. It can give you a true sense of belonging and inculcate a certain sense of respect for your roots and lineage. There are other practical reasons for which genealogy is very useful. For instance, if there is the issue of property settlements, tracing family heirlooms, tracing a family’s medical history and, getting proof of parentage, a genealogist may be the go-to person for the purpose.
The job description
Now that you have a basic understanding of what a genealogist does let’s take a closer look at their job description to understand the various aspects of the job.
The genealogist studies the history and background of families or individuals so that they can establish the descendants of a family from a particular individual who may be of significance. In addition, they also study and get information about the ancestors of an individual or the family. For this purpose, they may need to refer to records, documents, publications, and journals to get information about birth, marriage, and death records and the legacies to trace descent and ancestry.
In order to get the required information, they may have to decipher old texts and documents, which may include foreign languages as well. Sometimes, they may have to travel to far-off lands to get the documents and records needed to complete the research process. They may also have to assist with the conduction of DNA tests and the evaluation of the tests for proof of lineage or parentage.
Once the requisite information is gathered, the genealogist may proceed to construct charts or family trees to be more precise that represent lines of descent and ancestry. The charts can be further backed by descriptive narratives or forms that detail the lineage and family background and highlight the points of interest.
These charts and narratives give individuals a clear idea about their successors and predecessors. The information inferred can be very useful in determining lineage, settle parentage disputes, property settlement decisions, and address inheritance issues. It may also help the individuals trace lost family members in case the forbearers of that part of the family may have moved away or drifted apart. Alternatively, it can help individuals or families to appease their curiosity about who their ancestors were so that they have accurate accounts of their forbearers and preserve the past for the benefit of future generations.
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