Why do you want to trace your family history? It’s all over TV, certainly. Who Do You Think You Are? has versions in Australia, the UK and the US. Finding Your Roots on PBS takes it a step further by working with DNA. Genealogy Roadshow, another PBS creation, takes genealogy from town to town, answering simple and complex questions for those willing to stand in line and wait. And, not surprisingly, BYU-TV (a product of Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, long-time leaders in genealogy and family history research) has Relative Race, a reality game show in which participant teams race to find relatives found through documentary research and DNA. And in our daily lives, we all know that family lore makes for fun storytelling sessions at reunions and holiday gatherings.

But what if you don’t have the raw materials of family history? Are you part of a family that just hasn’t handed down its stories? Are you an orphan, missing a parent, adopted or fostered? Are you African-American, Native American, Latin American? Increasingly, there are tools available online to help you uncover secrets. It’s natural to want those answers.

Sir Francis Bacon believed that in genealogy “consisteth a part of the knowledge of a man’s own self. It is a great spur to virtue to look back on the worth of our line.” Ancestors Alive! believes that, in order to go forward, we have to look back to know who our ancestors were. Their examples provide inspiration for today and tomorrow.

Genealogical research takes WORK, discernment, and experience. Are you short on time? Are you afraid of the dedication required to use a basic Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org account, to decipher the implications of your genealogical DNA test, to use GEDmatch.com, MyHeritageFTDNA or DNA.land to find your cousins, or to answer even simple questions about your lineage? Do you want to accomplish a specific goal or produce a particular piece of research but you don’t have the expertise? Would you like to create a family book or a pedigree chart, for yourself or as a gift for someone else, but lack the interest to dig into research?

If you said yes to any of these questions, it might be time to find someone to start your research for you. Ask yourself:

  1. Do you know where your grandparents were born, or how they met?
  2. Do you know where your ancestors were 100 years ago?
  3. What part or parts of the world does your family come from?
  4. Did any of your family members take part in any US war?
  5. Do you ever wonder why you have the eye color, hair color, skin color, talents and interests that you have?
  6. Do you think that your family is just boring, like everybody else’s?

Still reading? Let’s start digging into your family history. Your answers lie in research-based genealogy, and possibly in DNA-based genetic genealogy. Get ready for some BIG surprises.

Ancestors Alive! Genealogy works with you, using online software, libraries, websites and archives. With information from you to begin our work, we can trace your family tree back for generations together. Results vary from family to family, but some European-Americans have gone back to the year 300 AD. Some have found their descent from European royalty. Others have discovered that they have early settlers, pioneers of industry and self-made success stories in their own family histories.

After working with Ancestors Alive!, some African-Americans have been able to trace their families’ military service in the Civil War, their ancestors’ migratory patterns during enslavement, their free ancestors of color who plied their trades in a world of white property ownership and laws, and with DNA, their distant cousins who live on the African continent today. Still others have been surprised by their overall genetic make-up, and have learned deep family secrets about who they really are.

Regardless of the specific findings, Ancestors Alive! Genealogy will find stories, careers, goals, aspirations and even hidden truths about those who went before you. My goal is to get you started with a solid foundation going back at least four generations so that you can pick up your tree from there and get hooked on genealogy, too. I do not perform DNA testing, but I will steer you in the right direction. I will teach you how to use documentary research with your DNA results to find even more information than you would expect.

And if you live in Suffolk or Nassau County in New York, I can teach you in person, at a pace that suits your schedule and needs.

You WILL be surprised.

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