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Genealogy is all about finding your heritage. Genealogy helps us understand who we are and where we come from. Learning about your family’s roots can be an interesting and exciting process which can lead to amazing discoveries, some of which can be quite unexpected. Genealogy connects you to your family’s past, and helps you to discover where you have come from (and can sometimes help explain why you are the way you are – history has a funny way of repeating itself down the generations). Naturally you have to be prepared to accept the fact that you might uncover some black sheep and rattle a few skeletons that had been hidden in the family closet for generations, but for most people that is all part of the excitement of discovering your heritage.

Greg Honeyman, the author,  is a marketing professional who has enjoyed a career on both sides of the client divide, first as CEO of a boutique creative agency, and subsequently as a senior marketing and communications manager for a range of high-profile organizations, most recently the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria.

Greg’s interest in genealogy goes back to his mother’s interest in family history, and also in his interest in interviewing and writing down his maternal grandparents’ histories. Both these grandparents were born in 1887 in central Queensland, and lived until their 97th years. Greg has now “passed the torch” to his eldest daughter, who is now in the process of researching her mother’s side of the family. In addition to his ongoing interest in genealogy, Greg is also a qualified graphic designer who has used his interest in history and genealogy to assist him in designing a huge range of heritage themed background papers for the scrapbooking industry.

Sample tips

  • Before you do ANYTHING you need to get your head around what it is that you want to achieve. If you don’t do this it is a foregone conclusion that you will soon be surrounded by so much paperwork, facts, figures and websites that your head will be spinning. The best way to start is to write a basic plan of what you think you want to find out. Do you want to research both sides of your family or start with one side? How far back do you want to go? How deep do you want to search (ie do you just want names/dates or do you want to find out the more human side of your ancestors’ stories)?
  • Remember how big this gets - Genealogy grows exponentially. You have two parents.They each had two parents. Your four grandparents each had two parents. By the time you have gone back just 7 generations you have 128 sets of names, and this is without including all their siblings and offspring! You really have to be focused on what it is you want to find out.
  • Never assume a family name is only spelled one way  It’s easy to assume that our name has always been spelled a particular way through the generations. When searching alphabetically through an index seeking your family name, always check each of these variations since information can be listed where we least expect it. Teach yourself to spell the name being researched as many different ways as possible (phonetically as well as using what I call ‘fuzzy logic’ – how might a semi-literate person spell it).
  • Publishing online. One of the real advances with the internet is now the ability to publish online in the form of an e-book. Costs have now come down to the point where you can now make your book available to a broad mass of people, online, at a very low cost – something you can’t do with traditional printing.
  • Scrapbook it! If you are a scrapbooking enthusiast, this is a perfect way to add to the colour and drama of your family story.