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Ancestry Research an American Pastime

Many people are interested in their family genealogy. 

Ancestor Research-family photo of dad and baby

In 2014, Time Magazine reported that genealogy was the second most popular hobby in America, and its popularity has not waned since then. But why is genealogy so widely enjoyed?

Learning About Ourselves as We Learn About Our Ancestors

Ancestor research answers questions about where we come from, who we come from—who our people are. It’s interesting and incredibly self-fulfilling to discover who your ancestors are and where they come from.

In the beginning, ancestry research may go quick and feel exhilarating! There is nothing like seeing your family names, places, and dates as they fill up a blank page of your personal history. There are many terrific free and paid online genealogy resources, but eventually you may hit a brick wall.

A lot of us know the basics of our ancestry already, but the farther back in history you go, the harder it can get to find information on your own.

When You Hit a Genealogical Brick Wall

You can get so far using free resources at public libraries, but when you hit a wall, you can always call in the professionals.

Sooner or later, as genealogy do-it-yourselfer, you may find yourself in front of a seemingly impassable brick wall of sorts. You may find that your ancestry research becomes frustrating.

This is when a professional genealogy company can make all the difference. Origins has professional genealogists to help you solve your family history puzzle.

When You Need A Professional Genealogy Company

You may be able to find certain types of records on your own, but when you need expert help with family tree research, Origins Genealogy is here for all your ancestry needs.

Origins is a world-class professional genealogy company offering ancestor research services as well as genetic genealogy services. 

We are based in Salt Lake City, Utah—the genealogy capital of the world—and serve clients around the globe.

Ancestor research services - Origins Genealogy breaks down brick walls in genealogical research

Family Tree Research Reveals A Family Story

The most exciting thing about ancestor research is that it isn’t meant to be just a series of names, dates and places. Family tree research is the key to reveal a family story—your family story!

If your family tree is nothing more to you than a list of names, dates and places, doing some family genealogy research is what will bring it to life for you and your loved ones. 

Ancestor research involves digging a little deeper: finding historical records, immigration records, and other details about your ancestors that begin to tell the story of who they actually were.

It answers questions like these: Where did your third-great-grandpa live?

What occupations did he hold? What was important to him? What life challenges did he overcome? These sorts of details bring your family history to life in exciting ways! 

Archival Records Research

As you begin your journey to discover more about your family tree and find your ancestors, you need to know what genealogy resources are available to help you sort it all out. A big part of this journey lies in historical documents and records.

Types of Genealogical Records 

There are many types of archival records. Some may be in digitized form, while others may not be. The following are just some of the many types of records that genealogists search through in their hunt to piece together a family history.

  • Personal journals, histories, letters, etc.
  • Books
  • Vital records
  • Magazine clippings
  • Adoption records
  • Government records, including birth and death records
  • Church records
  • Census records
  • Land records
  • Marriage records
  • Divorce records
  • Naturalization records
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Church records
  • Crew lists
  • Family Bibles
  • County courthouse records
  • Digitized images
  • International records
  • Manuscript collections
  • Criminal records
  • Land records
  • Social Security records
  • Death certificates
  • Photographs, video and/or audio recordings and other media
  • Oral histories

When You Can’t Access the Genealogy Records You Need

Family Tree Research-Ancestor's home

There are billions of records out there. Some of these historical records and genealogical resources are readily available, but many more are not available to the general public.

Origins Genealogy’s professional genealogy service is extremely helpful in these situations, and can help you access records that are otherwise inaccessible. 

The ancestry experts at Origins Genealogy have access to major genealogy databases, as well as other types of online resources. 

Near The Salt Lake Family History Library

Origins is based near the world’s largest repository of genealogical records. The Salt Lake Family History Library is a massive repository, and includes the following.

  • 340,000 unique analog books
  • 500,000 digitized books
  • More than one million microfilms
  • Nearly two million microfiche records
  • 128,000 periodicals

Origins Genealogy’s expert researchers have decades of experience and know how to take advantage of ALL available records, from those at the SLFHL to online databases such as Ancestry.com. We also have researchers across the globe who can perform on-site research in other countries as needed.

Accessing Genealogical Societies

Ancestor research - old Marriage Record

Origins Genealogy is a member of many genealogical societies as well, allowing us to access genealogical materials only available to members of those organizations.

From genealogy websites to boots-on-the-ground local research in a person’s ancestral homeland, Origins Genealogy covers the full gamut of ancestor research services.

What is Genetic Genealogy?

As you may already know, there is a lot more to modern family tree research than just historical records. DNA has the power to solve a multitude of mysteries as you work to find your ancestors. This is known as genetic genealogy, and at Origins we specialize in using DNA to help you answer genealogy questions.

Genetic genealogy relies on the use of DNA testing to show links, sometimes previously unknown, between blood relatives. It is helpful in a lot of different situations, especially where family mysteries exist. These mysteries include situations that arise after adoption.

Genetic genealogy can help you find an adopted sibling, find your missing biological father, or find other living family members.

Types of Genealogical DNA Tests

There are three main kinds of genealogical DNA tests used in genetic genealogy: Autosomal DNA, Y-DNA and mtDNA:

  • An autosomal DNA test focuses on the 22 pairs of chromosomes that contain most of our hereditary information. Everyone has 23 pairs, but the 23rd pair is the pair that determines sex. The 22 pairs of chromosomes are inherited from both your parents, as well as your recent ancestors. Basically, a parent and a child share about half of their autosomal DNA.
  • Y-DNA looks at the Y chromosome–the one that’s shared solely by father and son.  Y–DNA tests are only helpful for males who have questions about their direct paternal line.
  • mtDNA is the mitochondrial DNA shared by a mother with all of her children. Unlike Y-DNA, mtDNA is helpful for both males and females who want to learn more about a direct maternal line.

With just an easy cheek swab, the right DNA test provides clues to aid in genealogical research. It also helps you determine your ethnic and geographic origins, as well as reveal shared ancestry across all familial lines.

(Read our comparison of the AncestryDNA and 23andMe tests)

Professional Genetic Genealogy Services 

Genetic genealogy gives those interested in learning more about their family history the opportunity to break down walls, connect with living relatives, and reveal the truth about suspected family relationships.

Origins Genealogy offers a full range of professional genetic genealogy services, from finding biological parents to locating missing heirs for probate cases. To date, Origins has a 100% success rate helping our customers connect to the missing people they need to find.

Whether you’ve just learned that your DNA doesn’t match your dad, or you’ve decided it’s time to search for your biological father, Origins can help with your every genetic genealogy need.

Origins Genealogy - Research summary

Oh, and Origins offers a money-back guarantee on finding birth parents! 

Do You Need a Professional Genealogy Service?

It’s true that there is a seemingly endless supply of genealogy records out there just waiting to be found. But we don’t all have the keys to unlock them.

If you’ve hit that brick wall in your own family’s ancestor research, there’s an excellent chance that you just don’t have the right key. Origins Genealogy’s experts have access to the keys required to open up countless elusive public records that are hiding all over the world. 

We can access resources that are out of reach for the average person, and our knowledge of genetic genealogy allows us to use DNA testing to supplement our other research activities.

The experts at Origins Genealogy have deep knowledge about specific areas of the world where your ancestors may come from.

Choosing a Professional Genealogy Company

There are a lot of compelling reasons to hire professional help with your family history research.  If you decide to hire a professional genealogist, there are some things to consider:

  • Is the person or genealogy company a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists? 
  • Can they help full-time and devote enough time to really help you with your questions?
  • Reputable genealogists provide you with the results in writing. These days, that may be in digital format such as a PowerPoint. Written results and source citations ensure transparency in the final product.
  • A professional genealogist may have guesses about how things might turn out, but no one should promise you a certain outcome before the job is done. Once in awhile, a genealogy project may turn out to be unsolvable in spite of everyone’s best efforts. 

Genealogical Travel To Your Ancestral Homeland

Once you have fleshed out your family tree story, you may want to travel to the places your ancestors lived and loved. Origins offers genealogical travel, including heritage tours with a planned itinerary, and ancestral tours that are more tailored to your specific family tree.

These tours happen in countries all over the world and give our clients an amazing opportunity to really discover their ancestral roots.

Are you interested in an amazing family history tour in Europe, Asia or the Pacific Islands? How about Australia, Egypt or South Africa? Doesn’t matter where—Origins can arrange for you either a planned itinerary or a personal ancestral tour you will love. 

Origins For All Your Genealogy Needs

A professional genealogy company like Origins helps our clients to discover their family tree and locate hard-to-find ancestors and relatives–even those who are still living. We are experts in locating elusive documentation, including military records, adoption records, immigration records, and many others.

We are also well-versed in the ins and outs of DNA and how genetic genealogy impacts your search and your family relationships.

We offer a money-back guarantee to those looking for a birth parent. We can also help you find an adopted sibling. What are you waiting for? Contact Origins today by calling (801) 500-0900!

Ancestor Research Services FAQ

You can research your ancestors in a variety of ways, including asking your family or visiting your local public library. Free genealogy websites such as FamilySearch, Access Genealogy, HeritageQuest Online, Olive Tree Genealogy, and RootsWeb allow you to do a lot of research without incurring cost.

Speaking of cost, you can always subscribe to paid genealogy services such as Ancestry.com.

Finally, a professional genealogy firm such as Origins Genealogy can save you thousands of hours and help you break through genealogical brick walls with our advanced knowledge and resources.

We created a list of the best free genealogy websites, and these include Access Genealogy, Olive Tree Genealogy, HeritageQuest Online, RootsWeb, and FamilySearch. Each of these genealogy websites caters to a certain genealogy requirement and has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

We couldn’t really say which ancestor research site is the finest because there are many variables to consider, such as your goals, the ethnicity you’re researching, the locale and time period of the ancestors in question, and much more. While free genealogy websites have thousands of records and can help you find your ancestry, paid genealogy websites such as ancestry.com can offer even more resources. To know more which genealogy site best suits you, check out Origin Genealogy’s review of best free and paid genealogy websites.

The cost of hiring a professional genealogist to do your ancestry research depends on the genealogy company. Origins Genealogy has an hourly rate, with discounted packages available on our professional genealogy services page.

Yes, a professional genealogy company such as Origins Genealogy can handle all of your genealogical research for you, including obtaining original documents, collating, and even organizing a heritage tour to your family homeland if desired!

It is worth hiring a genealogist if you can’t find local records, translate documents into a foreign language, or understand DNA results. Even though you have considerable knowledge in genealogy, a professional genealogist can help you break through brick walls.

We compared Ancestry and 23andMe and came to the conclusion that both have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re taking a DNA test for genealogical purposes, we recommend Ancestry. If you’re taking it for health reasons, you should go for 23andMe.

There is no age limit in conducting ancestor research. But you must be at least 18 years old for you to take the AncestryDNA test, or hire a professional genealogist.

There are a lot of good options for family tree makers online. But these websites/software are our best suggestions for family tree makers: Family Historian 7, Ancestry.com, Family Tree Heritage Gold, Legacy Family Tree, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch.

It depends. Many elements influence how far back we can trace our family trees, including race, religion, birthplace, culture, socioeconomic class, and luck. Usually, the further back in history we go, the less accurate our genealogical results will be. A professional genealogist can often get better results for distant ancestor research than a DIY genealogist, simply because the professional has access to more resources and tools.

Begin Your Ancestor Research By Contacting Us Today!

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