What is Heraldry and a Family Coat of Arms? A Beginner’s Guide

Guest article by John Lehman Esq., Coat of Arms Database

Understanding Heraldry and Family Coat of ArmsHeraldry is both a study of history and of war. What we think of as a family coat-of-arms (commonly referred to as family Crest) was in fact, a way or method of identification soldiers or warriors could use to inform them who their opponents were across a battlefield. It started out as the medieval form of creating a brand similar today of the images we associate with certain commercial products or companies.

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5 Fun Family History Activities for the Holidays

Make Your Holiday Get Together Memorable with These Genealogy Activities

Family History Activities & Projects for the HolidaysThe holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with our loved ones. It may even be the only time of year that you can visit with certain family members who live far away. This is why the holidays offer the perfect opportunity to gather around relatives to talk about genealogy and your family tree.

Make your holidays even more memorable this year by trying out some of these fun family history activities at your annual get together.

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5 Common Genealogy Research Questions and Answers for Beginners

Answers to Frequently Asked Genealogy Research Questions 

Common Genealogy Questions and Answers for BeginnersAre you new to genealogy? If so, then you probably have a lot of genealogy research questions!

What is the difference between genealogy and family history?

What is the name of my ancestor in this old photo?

Where can I find the best family tree software?

These questions and others will certainly arise as you begin to research your family’s history. But some genealogy-related questions are more common than others among beginner researchers. Here are just a few of these important questions and answers to help you along your genealogy research journey. 

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5 Critical Rules for Recording Names in Your Family Tree

How to Correctly Document Names for Genealogy Purposes

How to Record Names for Genealogy and in Family Trees

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The manner in which you record your ancestors’ information can make or break your family history research. In fact, if you don’t add names and surnames correctly to a family tree or genealogy chart, your family’s story can face inaccuracies. And this can be frustrating to others who are researching your family history! Just as there are certain genealogical standards when it comes to citing your sources correctly, there are some general rules you will want to keep in mind to ensure that your ancestors’ names are added to your family tree properly.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the following rules, so use these tips as guidelines for recording your genealogical data.

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4 Ways Voter Registration Records Can Aid Genealogy Research

How United States Voter Records Can Help You Build a Family Tree

How Voter Registration Records Can Help with Genealogy ResearchDuring this election season, you are probably thinking more about who you are voting for rather than the information you provide on your voter registration form. But if you take a closer look at the details these forms collect, you will soon realize that voter records hold a treasure trove of data that can be helpful in building a family tree.

And just as many of us have the privilege to vote in America, as did some of the ancestors who came before us. While United States voter records are oft overlooked in the genealogy research process, they may lead you to an unknown ancestor, clues that provide you with more direction when you run into a brick wall, and a slew of other genealogical discoveries.

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Free Resources for Finding Death Records Online

Where to Find Ancestors’ Death Records Online for Free

Where to Find Free Death Records Online for Genealogy

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If you’re on the hunt for an ancestor’s death certificate, you may not have to look too hard. This is because death records can often be some of the easiest types of vital records to find — especially when searching online. These records can also offer up some of the most valuable information and interesting tidbits that often lead to other genealogical discoveries and unknown ancestors to add to your family tree.

Death certificates may include your ancestor’s date and place of birth, names of other family members like parents, a spouse, their children and next of kin. Sometimes death records include information on your ancestor’s military service, a cause of death and even where your relative was buried which can be helpful as you conduct cemetery research.

But if you’re searching for death records online, where should you even begin? The following resources will aid you in your search as you begin to look for family members’ death records online — and they’re all free to use!

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Popular Halloween Costumes Your Family Members Actually Wore (1950s – 1970s)

Vintage Halloween Costumes Your Relatives Wore in the 50s, 60s and 70s

Popular Halloween Costumes 1950s, 1960s, 1970sHalloween is just around the corner! And while the usual witches, ghosts and cat costumes will certainly make their rounds, you may want to think outside the box and borrow some costume ideas from your relatives who grew up in the 50s, 60s or 70s. And if you celebrated Halloween during any of those decades, you could always revive one of your old costumes to make a unique splash at your next Halloween gathering.

As you flip through old family photo albums to add relatives and their stories to your family tree, you will undoubtedly see that Halloween costumes have changed a lot throughout the years. But one thing is always certain year after year: dressing up for Halloween is fun, no matter your age! Here are just some of our favorite popular and trendy costume ideas from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

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Identifying Unknown Family Photos for Genealogy

How to Use Photo Clues to Identify Family Members in Old Pictures

Identifying Unknown Family Photos for Genealogy

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One of the most enjoyable tasks of family history research is sitting down to sift through old family photo albums. While some may spark fond memories from childhood, or even help us recall events our parents and grandparents shared about their own lives, other photographs have narratives that remain unidentified. At one point or another in your research, you will stumble upon these pictures of relatives or distant ancestors whom you don’t recognize at all. It can certainly drive you crazy at times as you wonder, “Who is this ancestor, anyway?” and “What is this person’s story?”

Instead of continuing to wonder, use these photo clues and identification tips to help you decipher when pictures may have been taken, and figure out which relatives are in the photos.

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Writing Your Personal History for Genealogy: A Beginner’s Guide

5 Helpful Tips to Start Writing a Personal History

Writing Your Personal History for Genealogy

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Even if you’re just beginning your genealogy research, you probably know that searching for information to add to your family tree can take a lot of time, patience and resources. And when you can’t find records or stories on a particular ancestor, it may leave you more than a little frustrated! If you’ve ever thought, “I really wish he had written something about his life!” then why not make things a little easier on future generations of genealogists by writing your own personal history?

Writing a personal history is important not only for genealogy research purposes, but ensures that you’ll leave an accurate legacy that descendants will appreciate and treasure forever. Documenting your own life doesn’t have to be a daunting task, either. The following tips can aid you in the process of writing (and finishing) a personal history.

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Helpful Oral History Prompts to Get Your Older Relatives Talking

How to Encourage Family Members to Tell Their Life Stories

Oral History Prompts to Get Older Relatives Talking

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We all have a story or two to tell. But when we are met with resistance from relatives who are too bashful to tell us the stories of their lives, it can create holes in our family history research that can often result in empty family tree branches.

Conducting oral history interviews with your older family members is that important when it comes to your family history research. The memories your relatives have of their own lives hold a good amount of historical importance — even if family members don’t think their lives were particularly interesting! In fact, oral history interviews can sometimes lead to the discovery of ancestors you never knew about in the first place. But if you don’t record these stories now, they could be lost forever.

So how do you get your older relatives talking about their lives? The following oral history prompts and tips may just jog the memories of your older relatives so you can capture and collect their important stories.

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