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Conduct research into the discipline of genealogy, which is the recording and putting into systematic order the histories of families according to their lineages. While the terms genealogy and family history are often used interchangeably, the former term begins with a dead person and traces his or her descendants forward in time, while the latter begins with a living person and traces their ancestors backward in time. Genealogies are sometimes displayed graphically, as is the case with family trees, or written as narratives.

Genealogists use a variety of methods and genealogical sources to conduct their research, including oral interviews, historical records (such as immigration records from Ellis Island), obituaries, census records, naturalization records, probate records, military records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, church records of marriages and baptisms, and genetic testing. The digitization and availability of many of these documents, as well as other vital records on the internet, has generated an explosion of interest in charting family histories, as has the ready availability of genetic testing, to determine the geographic origins of one’s family.

People become interested in researching their genealogy for a variety of reasons, including a desire to know their family’s history, the hope of uncovering a famous relative, and a sense of responsibility to future generations. While amateur genealogists tend to focus on their own ancestry or that of their spouse’s, professional genealogists may conduct genealogical research for others, publish books on the subject, or create their own research databases.

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Genealogy Resources

Gale provides scholarly resources to dive into genealogy, including  databasesprimary source archives, and eBooks.


Gale databases offer researchers access to credible, up-to-date content from genealogy databases.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources offers archives and collections that provide researchers with firsthand, primary content, including publications, books, and more, that can be used to examine and analyze the evolution of genealogy over time.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of topics, including family trees, DNA testing, and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint the article most relevant to the topic. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • Looking Forward: DNA Testing: Genealogy and Forensics, 1st Edition

    Looking Forward: DNA Testing: Genealogy and Forensics, 1st Edition

    New York Times Educational Pub | 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781642821291

    The Human Genome Project completed sequencing the entire human genetic code in 2003, two years ahead of schedule. That brisk pace has characterized the private genomics industry as well, with prices for personal sequencing dropping from tens of thousands to only hundreds of dollars in less than a decade. Through this collection of articles, readers will recognize how DNA testing has opened new doors in medicine and science, as well as sparked new questions about medical ethics, human ancestry, and the self.

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  • Your Family Tree, 1st Edition

    Your Family Tree, 1st Edition

    Rourke Educational Media LLC | 2014 | ISBN-13: 9781627170222

    A family tree traces family history. As family members are added, a family tree grows. Simple text is used to explain what a family tree is and how you can trace your family history back hundreds of years. This book discusses how we inherit traits from family members, and even discusses how immigration may play a part in your family tree. This title will allow students to distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.

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Resources to Boost Your Research

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