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Family Histories and Periodicals

Interest in family history is almost as old as mankind, and is not exclusive to North America. In fact, British and European families were interested in their ancestry long before it became popular in the New World. With that interest has come thousands of published sources dealing with the ancestry and/or descendants of thousands of families in Western Europe and Great Britain.

It is axiomatic that we always search compiled records when starting our search, but too often we focus only on such sources in the country where our immigrant relatives settled. We reason that they, and their descendants lived here, in the new country. Therefore, we think there won't be any compiled records for them in foreign countries.

That is an unfortunate notion, for the interest that North Americans have in finding their immigrant origins is almost matched by their foreign cousins' interest in finding that elusive relative who left the homeland for the New World. Of course, researchers in the home country have a distinct advantage when researching their family. They have better access to the records, and, usually, a better understanding of the language and handwriting. With that information, they will have complete information about the immigrant in the home country (birth date and place, parents names, etc.). They will also likely know approximately when the subject(s) immigrated, but often not the exact place where they settled. This is where your knowledge of the immigrant in North America comes in.

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