Discovering the history of a family is one of the most absorbing hobbies that one can follow. Research may begin out of natural curiosity and a desire to find out who we think we are. Sometimes research into a family history can be prompted by being told a story about a supposed ancestor. Often a family possession or an heirloom that is said to hold a story may kick start some research.
Many books have been written on family history studies and genealogical research. In more recent years television programmes, such as the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?, have enlivened interest in family history.
A television broadcaster will have many experts in historical research at its disposal in order to put together an interesting and compelling story.
Often the process of constructing a family tree can be made to seem quite simple. However, anyone who has carried out genealogical studies will tell you that there are many pitfalls if studies are not carried out in a meticulous fashion.
Although much family history research can now be carried out over the internet, using sites such as Ancestry and Find My Past, archives and record offices across England are the storehouses of many of the different types of documents that are to be studied when investigating a family history.
The benefit of joining a family history society, such as the LRFHS, is that those who have carried out in depth studies into local families, often over many years, will have knowledge that is lacking at a more general level.
Local family historians will have used the many records that are available within the county. They will know the limitations of some records and the great usefulness of others.
One of the primary things to do when beginning a family history is to ask yourself if others have trod the genealogical road upon which you are about to set out.
The LRFHS can help you along the right road with your research. The society has a wonderful collection of records to help you begin and advance your studies. These records are held at the LRFHS Research Centre.
You will also find the meetings of the Society of great benefit, at these you can listen to interesting talks that help with your research.
Importantly, family history is a very sociable activity with many lasting friendships having been made between society members.