Fast Forward to the Past - Archives site great genealogist tool

Genealogists will enjoy visiting the Library and Archives Canada website ( to further their genealogy journey.  Click on “online research” then scroll down the tab to click on “genealogy and family history”.  The page on “What To Do First” can get you started if you are just beginning your family research, but if you have started and are floundering a bit, go to the next topic which is called “Choose A Strategy”.

“Choosing A Strategy” helps you see the difference between “family history” and “genealogy”.  The site says that family history is “tracing members of a family, showing the relationships among them, recording their family stories, collecting their treasured photos and documents, and sharing all that with other family members” while genealogy is “considered to be a more structured activity that incorporates standard ways of recording information, rigorous methods for assessing evidence, an academic component providing formal learning, and professional accreditation. Genealogists …design and maintain family history websites.”  This is where sharing experiences with fellow genealogy researchers truly helps, such as the Yorkton branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society.

Don’t be frightened by either designation listed above.  Whatever you call your research, the important thing is to record the information you know, beginning with yourself, and then work backwards. The site explains that some people begin with their father, since research of the paternal (father’s) relatives follows using one name, and this can be easier. This is called the “One Name Study”.  Researching the maternal (mother’s) side of the family is more difficult because maiden names of female relatives are often not known.

Do you know the difference between researching “ancestors” and researching “descendants”? Sometimes the words are incorrectly interchanged, but there is a difference, and the site defines it this way: “Tracing ancestors and descendants is the most popular research method. Researching ancestors means you work back in time from a given person. Researching descendants means you work forward in time from a given person. You will soon discover that working backward and working forward are both needed.”  Where to begin? “… go back in time, tracing your ancestors from generation to generation by compiling names and the dates of births, marriages and deaths found in various information sources. Your objective is to trace your family’s history as far back as possible. The most helpful sources for doing this are birth, marriage and death records, immigration and citizenship documents, census returns, and military and land records.”

This helpful, user-friendly site also helps you find and organize information. If you are lucky enough to be in Ottawa, you can even make arrangements to visit in person at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

The Yorkton Branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society meets monthly (except for July and August) at the Yorkton Public Library. The group is open to anyone interested in genealogy, and whether are just getting started in tracing your family tree, have been researching for a long time, or are simply fascinated with history, you are invited to come to the meetings. New members are always welcome.  

Every family has a story: discover yours with the Yorkton Genealogy Society!

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