Genealogy and Family Narrative Basics: Glossary

Genealogy is “a fact finding, information seeking, and sleuth requiring craft” (Veale 8). It can be both a personal quest and a collaborative project performed by professionals and amateurs alike. Fundamentally, according to Saar, “genealogy is a narrative…of how outside forces shape an individual-the story of one’s own becoming” (Bishop 394). defines it as, “a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family group, etc., the study of family ancestries and histories, descent from an original form or progenitor; lineage, ancestry.” It is important to note that genealogy is different from family history, the distinction being a record of lineage versus a narrative of events, with descriptive elements. LLC a for profit, Utah based highly network of online resource used for tracing family history and creating family trees with over thirty international markets and 2.4 million paying subscribers, it generates 680 million dollars a year in revenue. DNA testing is available for purchase with results synched to subscriber’s online family trees. Their databases offer billions of vital records.

Family Search: Family is a totally free non-profit family history organization consisting of the “largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world.” It is operated and sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. Originally founded in 1894 as the Utah Genealogical Society.

Family Narratives: “Narratives, or stories, about one’s past, are the way in which individuals make sense of their experiences and create meaning, both for themselves and for their families” (Fivush).

LDS: Common abbreviation for The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons. A religious tenant of this faith is that families are united in the after -life and that this can be accomplished by identifying relatives and ancestors.

Memoir: “a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation” (

Scrapbook: an album in which pictures, newspaper clippings, etc., may be pasted or mounted.

Vital Records: Birth, death, divorce and marriage records which are basis of genealogical research.

Works Cited

Bishop, Ronald. “In the Grand Scheme of Things: An Exploration of the Meaning of Genealogical Research.” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol.41, No. 3, 2008, pp. 393-412. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.

Fivush, Robyn, Jennifer G. Bohanek, and Widaad Zaman. “Personal and intergenerational narratives in relation to adolescents’ well‐being.” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Spring, No.131, 2011, pp. 45-57.

Veale, Kylie J. “A doctoral study of the use of the Internet for genealogy.” History   ActualOnline, No.7, 2005, pp. 7-14.