Everyone likes to know where they come from and the interest in family history has never been higher. The Internet has made it easier and quicker to conduct ancestry searches and there are numerous databases and information on how to go about it. Most people can go back so far in their family history by talking to grandparents and other relatives. Tracing the tree as far back as possible is time consuming but can be great fun.

Basic facts emerge about our descendents, such as birthplace, birth dates and occupation. Details on dates and places of marriage, divorce or death will also be revealed. Ancestry searches are like jigsaw puzzles, a fascinating detective story that may take the searcher down some blind alleys. Children born out of wedlock can make the hunt for a surname more difficult.

It can be daunting to start but there are lots of organizations that can point in the right direction and give advice. Lives have been well documented for hundreds of years with birth, marriage and death certificates. There are parish church records, wills and census records. Many genealogy addicts can be seen, notebook in hand, walking round old graveyards. Gravestones are a useful source of information, sometimes showing where a person died.

No one knows what they are going to find when they embark on the labyrinth of ancestry searches. Ancestors may turn out to be paupers or wealthy landowners. Some people search in the hope of finding a noble birthright! A family that has a coat of arms attached to it will want to find out more about their roots. Celtic families of Scottish origin often try to trace members of their clan, to find other blood relatives.

Some people do a one name search and find people with the same surname from different countries. Ancestry searches of this kind often lead to finding relatives. Others may do a one place search, especially if it involves a small village. For people who take family history up as a serious hobby, it is not enough to find out the raw facts. They also want to find out about the jobs, hobbies and military or political aspirations of their descendents.

If someone has a particular skill, such as the ability to paint for example, it’s interesting to find out if an ancestor has also shared this gift. Certain abilities may run through a whole lineage. There may also be skeletons that rattle in the cupboard, like a pirate or a robber!