[This post is part 4 of my Getting Started series. Part 1 is here. And Part 2 is here. And Part 3 is here.]
Yup. It all starts with you. Little, bitty you. No one else, but you.
You do know "you," don't you? If not, grab a mirror and look. "You" meet, well, "you".
There. Now that the introductions are over, let's get down to business, shall we?
Genealogy starts with you. Then you work backwards. Why? Because you know yourself the best. You have witnessed most everything that's happened to you. [Even if you didn't want to do so.] For example, you were there when you were younger and you skinned your knee for the upteenth time while riding your bike down that gravel road. You were there on your first date and you were half-scared out of your mind and half-excited, so much you wanted to throw-up. You were there when you took your driver's test, and you were scared half out of your mind and half-excited, so much that you wanted to throw-up. [Again.] And if you have married, for better or worse, you were there at your wedding, half-scared out of your mind and half-excited, so much you wanted to throw-up.
Get the picture? You. Were. There. [And apparently scared & sick for most of it.] You know yourself the best. In fact, you're an expert on yourself.
Now. What official documents do you have that prove "you"? Birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security card, photos, etc. Locate these types of documents. This is your first genealogy directive.
What do you mean you don't have your birth certificate? Well, O.K., then. Here's your second genealogy directive. Get it. Now. Like, yesterday. Call whomever you need to call in your family who might have it. [If you are still able to do so, call your parents]. Just do whatever you need to do to get a copy of your birth certificate. [No, don't rob a bank. Silly, a bank won't have your birth certificate. Oh, and robbing is bad. In fact, it's against the law. So don't do that.] Depending on the state you were born in, you should be able to find your birth certificate at the city, county, or state level. To obtain your birth certificate by mail, FamilySearch.org has a listing of addresses and other pertinent data located here. You can also Google The Department of Health in the state you were born and follow their online instructions for ordering. Or if you are in a hurry, you can order it online at MyVitalRec.com or at VitalChek.com.
If you need to order your birth certificate, then do it. It really doesn't cost very much. And you really need it. Not just for genealogy.
If you have it now or when you receive it, take a look at it. In fact take a real good look at all of your official documents. Yes, you can take a look at the photos too, but do get back to the documents. [What were you thinking when you decided to wear your hair like that? And on your wedding day, too. Well, I guess what they say is true. Love is blind. *wink*]
Getting back to the documents. Take a real good look at them.
Look at every single detail on them.
So tell me. I'm dying to know. Is there anything incorrect on your official documents? Are you who you thought you were? If not, what's different? What did you not know about "you"? Tell me [and everyone else] in the comments below. NOTE: Don't tell us exact details though. We want to keep "you" as "you". We don't want someone to steal "you". Then "you" wouldn't be "you" anymore. Then where would "you" be? Lost. That's what. And in a real big mess too. Just let me and others know in general about the proof of "you".
Here. I'll go first.
Some time after coming through customs on our way back from our honeymoon in Cancun, I lost my birth certificate. [I know I made it through customs because I'm here. I'm clever like that.] Anywho, before I lost it, I had noticed there was a misspelling of my mother's maiden name. An extra "k" had found its way into her name. So, I sent off for a new one. I was excited to be able to correct the spelling of her name. I received it in the mail and tore open the envelope to find that maybe the state government ought to do a better job at screening their employees. At least give them a spelling test. Or an editing test. Or something. 'Cause they misspelled it. Again. It was a different mistake. But still wrong. They typed a "D" for a "B". Who knew consonants were so much trouble? [Rolling eyes heavenward.] So, how 'bout yours?
Next: Part 5 is here.