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The word genealogy comes from the Greek, and means the study of family history and descent. The recorded histories of the descent of a person or family from their ancestors, are also often referred to as family trees, lineages or pedigrees The aim of genealogical research is to find ancestors and their family relationships. And to record them in the form of a tree, table or chart. Each individual will have the following items recorded under his name
- Date and place of birth
- Name of parents
- Date and place of marriage
- Names of children
- Date and place of death
People get involved in researching their family's history for any number of reasons; here are a few of the most popular:
- To satisfy your curiosity about yourself and your roots.
- To provide your children with a sense of whom their ancestors were, where they came from and how they lived their lives.
- To preserve family cultural and ethnic traditions for future generations
- To qualify for a lineage or heritage society.
- To make and publish a history book for the family.
- To discover facts that others did not find.
When it comes to Armenian genealogy, the reasons will be much more. We can trace our history to sixth century B.C; we had kingdoms, principalities and even a short lived empire (95 B.C. to 55 B.C.). We managed to survive until now. The Seljuk conquest of the last Armenian kingdom in the 11th century marked the beginning of an exodus of the Armenian from historical Armenia resulting in the creation of the Armenian Diaspora. Our last kingdom in Cilicia fell in 1375, ending the independence of the Armenian statehood. By now Armenia was divided between the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Empire. During war world I the Ottoman authorities deported some 1,750,000 Armenian into Syria and Mesopotamia. Subject to famine, disease and systematic massacres by the Ottomans, most of them perished. When we talk about our ancestors we always refer to “Safar Berlik” The exodus from historical Armenia, and the genocide of 1915, which made it more difficult for us to search for our ancestry. Luckily the advent of technology in the 20th century and the internet era made our task much easier. To start your search for your ancestry here are some general guidelines and place to look for:
- Ship arrival records: during late 1800 and early 1900 many Armenian came to United States on ships and landed in New York and Boston. The United States government has posted passenger manifests online through it's Ellis Island website, which can be searched free of charge.
- U.S Census: You can find many Armenian names in the early United States Census. These records are available to the public through libraries and the internet.
- Church Records: You can find wealth of information if you research Armenian Church records. Unfortunately they are not available on the internet yet.
- Cemetery records: Another good place to search for death records and otherwise hard to find dates. ArmenianAncestry.com has begun translating and posting photographs of Armenian headstones from cememteries in South Asia, so that they may be located by relatives free of charge online.
- Online web site: There are numerous sites that are available about genealogy in general. And lately many Armenian sites and discussion forums are coming on line.
- Family research libraries: These libraries are available through out the world they specialize on genealogy.
The resources are out there and it is up to you on how deep you are willing to get involved in this subject. I can assure you it will be both fun and rewarding. Only through preservation and records keeping a nation and people history will be remembered.
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