Research Family
History — It's Fun!

Uncover the Past - Bring Back the Memories

One Saturday, I sat on the living room floor and pulled out some photo albums. My intent was to find some pictures to use here on the web site (and I did), but an interesting outcome was a fond trip down "memory lane" that aided my life story research.

When was the last time you looked at those family photo albums?

Everyone has a story

Most people think researching family history is a dull and tedious process. It conjures up thoughts of hours spent in the library pouring over genealogy, books and encyclopedias. However, looking at pictures, watching family videos, reading old letters or journal entries -these are all ways to do family history research. For most people this is enjoyable. It brings back a flood of memories.

Your Home is a Treasure Trove

When you start to research your life story or family history project, you should start right there with those various artifacts. You will probably be surprised, even amazed, at the amount of material you have. (If you're anything like the packrat I am you'll discover a veritable treasure trove.)

The research will naturally extend beyond your home and belongings. Chat it up with family and friends. Send emails or letters asking for their family memories.

Family history research is a big deal these days. You can do so much on the Internet.

Let's Go Surfin' Now

If you are interested in building the family tree or finding out who your ancestors are you can check out some very extensive genealogy sites. A few examples are:

Rootsweb, The Oldest & Largest Free Genealogy Site

Ancestry.com — Find Your Ancestors Now This site is incredible. You can do a real world of searching – try it out with a 14 day free trial. The same people also operate the extensive online site, Society Hall - FamilyHistory.com.  It's a comprehensive directory of genealogical and historical societies on the web.

Another good site for genealogical resources is the Family Research - English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy News and Articles. Go here.

Timelines

There are several software options, or even online resources, to create your own personal history timeline. This is important so that you can record your life timeline and compare it with historical occurrences. It provides a good frame of reference.

Check out Genelines from Progeny Genealogy or OurTimeLines.com.

Pictures
Pictures, Time TalesThe site Time Tales is a treasure trove of great old photographs submitted by people from around the globe. The pictures have been discovered in attics, old trunks, at flea markets and elsewhere and are put on the site as visual reminders of different time periods. Maybe it will stir a memory or two, and it certainly illustrates the power of a picture. (Be sure to check out our section on video biographies.)





Some of the really fun research sites are those that bring back memories of your favorite music, movies, tv shows and pop culture. Nostalgia is in, especially with so many Baby Boomers.

Music
Classic old time radio shows Old Time Radio
Number one songs in United States, year by year and week by week, as based on Billboard music charts on Wikipedia.
If you listened to popular music in the 60s and 70s and need to identify that song that's going round your head, AllButForgottenOldies.net lists over 4000 songs from 1960-1975

Movies
The Internet Movie Database — Want information about your favorite flicks, actors and directors? If you are a film buff this is a great resource.
It will certainly bring back memories
The Greatest Years in Movie History — You have formative and favorite years of your life. So, too, the "Silver Screen".

Television
TV Land Online to Re-visit your favorite old tv shows.  Also, a fascinating site to access interviews with your favorite television legends is the Archive of American Television.

Pop Culture
There are a number of places on the web to learn more about pop culture and pop culture history and trends. Check out this obsessive journal of quality pop culture: Pop Culture Magazine. This site is a blast!

I even found a site about Supermarket history and architecture Groceteria. It might not seem that important, but if you reminisce about the various grocery stores and supermarkets you've shopped at over the years, from childhood to adult, it's bound to stir up some interesting memories.

Are you a "boomer"? If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you are considered a baby boomer. There is a wealth of great sites targeting boomers on the World Wide Web, among them www.irememberjfk.com that cites itself as "a Baby Boomer's pleasant reminiscing spot". Then there is www.aginghipsters.com (love the name) put together by a couple of boomers who like to blog about the 50+ generation. And, of course, AARP has their own site, magazine and organization that regularly features news, stories and value for boomers.

Toys
Toyadz is where you'll find a gallery of classic toy and model ads. How many of these do you remember? From Matchbox to Hot Wheels; Barbie to G.I. Joe, classic ad campaigns from yesteryear.

History Sites
There are times when you want to compare world history with what was happening to you or your family and friends. Check out the History Channel.

The Biographical Dictionary will keep you occupied with fascinating short accounts of thousands of men and women who've shaped our world.

Newspapers, Newsletters, E-zines & Magazines
Take advantage of the many great magazines, e-zines and newsletters that can help with your family history knowledge and research. Of course, we highly recommend our own free e-zine, "Your Life is Your Story". You get lots of tips, resources and benefits - go here for more info.

A terrific site to look back into the past is Newspapers.com. Over 3100 United States newspapers from the 1700s to the 2000s are archived on this website.

Family History Products has a good newsletter. You might also want to investigate magazines like Family Tree Magazine. Take a trip down memory lane with each wonderful issue of Reminisce magazine (see more about them online here).

I've previously mentioned the value of the e-book Memorygrabber as a family history tool. The book's primary value is the number of ideas, lists and resources it gives you to literally "grab" those memories buried in the recesses of your mind and put on paper. But, as a bonus, there are several great links to fun cultural websites (in addition to those listed above). More info on Memorygrabber here.

You are going to discover the joy of family history and life story research. Start surfin' the Net and digging through those home treasures…and have fun!

*You don't have to do all your research now to get started on telling your life story. Here's your next step.


Check out these other links to research family history



The Association of Personal Historians
The APH has many members adept at helping you preserve your personal history. They also have some helpful information about what constitutes personal history and where and how you can get assistance.

Family History Products
Site is full of articles, products and ideas that will help you in any family history project. Home of the popular Memorygrabber e-book. Get an up close look at the featured products and services of their site here

Family Tree Magazine
Numerous resources on genealogy and family history in a magazine format. An email update newsletter, the "toolkit" has various resources such as workshops, bookstore, template/forms and ethnic research.

Family Search Centers
FamilySearch.org is a very large network of facilities offering public access to genealogical records all over the world.



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