Thank you Ancestry.com for sponsoring this post and allowing me to dig further into my family history.
When I had my first son I really wanted to build him a family tree. So I reached out to my family and asked for any information they could provide. That information has sat untouched for over 5 years now. Life caught up with me and I wasn’t able to do anything with it until this past month. Thanks to Ancestry.com I have been able to open lines to my family tree that I had no idea existed.
I started by simply searching the meaning of our family name.
I quickly realized that this could be a much longer process than I was expecting. Instead of getting overwhelmed by it I embraced it. I’m so thrilled to be learning as much as I am.
5 Tips for Researching Your Family Name
My Great Great Great Grandmother Karen (Kate) Amlund
- Reach Out To Your Family
Reach out to your family on all sides. Be specific about what you are looking for. Ask for names, dates, birth/death places. It’s okay if you don’t get all that from everyone, but the more people you ask the more information you will gather.
- Be Aware of Spelling Variants
When I started looking into my mom’s family name I quickly realized there was another person on Ancestry.com who had a lot of my family tree in his family tree. However, his name was Larsen and I was looking for Larson. I used the message feature on Ancestry.com which allowed me to safely communicate with him without passing along too much personal information. I learned from him that his grandfather was Sam Larsen (Lars Søverin Larsen in Norway). He was a brother to my Great Great Grandfather Lewis Larson (Lars Marthinius Larsen in Norway). He said that several records had the name spelling variations, and that even siblings spelled their names differently. He also gave me various reasons why this could be. He turned out to be a wonderful asset to me in helping me trace my family name all the way back to the 1500s!
- Go Slowly
I started with my mother’s surname. She was able to provide me the most known data of any one of my family members. Her surname was Larson. My grandmother Lorraine died before I was born, and my Grandfather Dave died when I was young as well. I was excited to see where their lineage would lead me.
My grandmother Lorraine and grandfather Dave. I wish I could have meant my grandmother.I opened up Ancestry.com and started to input the information I had and within 15 minutes I had hint and suggestions that connected me all the way back to the 1500s! That said – I’ve since spent several days just looking into the hints and connections that ancestry.com offered me. Researching your family name isn’t going to be something that happens quickly. Carve out some time each week and go slowly so you don’t accidentally start tracing people that you aren’t related to.
- Have Fun.
I started this project because I wanted to do it for my children. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to involve my son in helping me. We have decided to get a map and let him put pins in the places we are able to trace our family name. We also have asked for family members to send pictures so that we can actually build a tree for him to be able to see and understand what we are doing.
- Utilize Free Resources!
Ancestry.com is offering a 14 day free trial to get you started with your family tree! All you have to do is click here to start discovering! You can do a lot in 14 days! Like I mentioned I traced my mom’s family name back to the 1500s and found so many cool records like my Great Grandfather’s WWI draft card and a family portrait of my Great Great Great Grandparents!
My Great Great Great Grandparents with their children. Printed on back from left to right: Lewis Larson, Grace, Carl, Lyder and Karen (Amlund) Larson.
Lyder Larson’s WWI Draft Card
I strongly recommend you try this out! There is something really cool and rewarding about finding your family and ancestors, seeing pictures, and reading their stories.
Latest posts by Emily (Posts)
- Don’t Call It A Comeback - February 7, 2019
- The Little Prince at The Smith Center Las Vegas – Ticket Giveaway - January 31, 2017
- 3 Simple Ways To Add Color To Your Diet @SUBWAY @OfficialSubway - January 13, 2017
- Disney’s Moana in Dolby Cinema at AMC Movie Review - November 27, 2016