What is the Difference Between Genealogy and Family History?

Anyone new to researching family history will no doubt stumble upon various terms. No question is asked more often by beginners than ” What is the difference between genealogy and family history “. As family history has modernised, these two phrases are now used interchangeably and initial confusion regarding the difference between genealogy and family history is to be expected.


Difference Between Genealogy and Family History Explained

Genealogy – Genealogy refers more to the voyage of discovery undertaken to find information pertaining to ancestors and descendants. This can often accumulate in the creation of a family tree which identifies various ancestors and descendants. This can include your parents, 4 grandparents and 8 great-grandparents. Of course, you may choose to identify further generations within your family line. Genealogy also involves a large part records research which involves the discovery of family records such as birth certs, death certs, marriage certs, adoption certs, immigration and military records.

Family History Family history is more than just records, it’s the people, events and stories of family members which have in some way shaped our lives. Family history is the real reward – where we piece together the story of our family taking into considering then major events that shaped their lives. When we consider the era they lived in, the social environment, the political environment and the economic environment in which they lived, we slowly begin to piece together an understanding of how they lived their lives, their trials, tribulations and ultimately their struggles. Add to this travel, immigration, emigration, wars and we have the pieces of a never-ending detective story with fascinating tales and twists. It is for this reason family history and genealogy have become so popular.


Discovering Your Genealogy and Family History

Many family history and genealogy enthusiasts can spend close to $18,000 per year researching their family history. The two main choices open to them include the Self-research option and the professional research option.

  • The self-research option requires a person to track information pertaining to their own family members by conducting family interviews, visiting libraries and searching through family record databases such as Ancestry, Family Search, Find Your Past and My Heritage. These sites can usually be searched through by subscribing to a yearly subscription and are a fantastic set of resources for family history encaustics. While this method is cheaper and fun than hiring professionals, it does have drawbacks in the amount of time require and of course subscription costs.
  • The professional option is often ignored due to the price of hiring professional genealogists. The advantages of using professional genealogists are immense. Firstly, you will have a set of agreed goals laid out prior to beginning your research. Professional Genealogists have an everyday background in searching for family records with a vital set of alternatives resources and experience in searching for local records. Quite often, companies such as OneFam pair our clients with not just industry experts but with experts who have knowledge of the local area. When commencing a family history project, goals of the research are carried out. The professional genealogist then completes all the research, analysis and reports required for the final presentation to the client. Information can often be difficult to find and it is advisable that you communicate on a regular basis with the professional. Once talks of engaged begin, it’s important to realise the importance to each step.

Whatever route you decide to embark on to discover your genealogy and family history, you should ensure that it is well documented and shared with other family members. For those family history lovers whishing to move from the self-researcher to professional genealogist, this related article will point you in the correct way to becoming a professional genealogist.

Difference between genealogy and family history

Difference between genealogy and family history