Searching for family history can be rewarding, disappointing, and horrifying. When researching family, keep in mind that some histories were hidden for specific reasons and living relatives may not be willing to discuss painful stories. Be respectful of their wishes.
1. Keep an open mind about what you might find.
2. If possible, ask living relatives first.
3. Family stories may or may not be accurate. Do not dismiss them, but try to find something that will confirm the story. Give consideration as to why a story might have been changed.
4. Documents are lost due to war, fire, floods, poor management, etc. . . . Accept that what you are looking for might not exist.
5. Bureaucracy is your friend. This includes governments, religions, and large associations.
6. WRITE DOWN WHERE YOU FOUND THE INFORMATION. You might not be able to find it again.
7. When searching use the target language. For example: research for information from Mexico should be done in Spanish. In areas where multiple languages or dialects are used, search using all possible spellings.
8. If the region of interest was once the colony of another country, check in the colonizer's archives as well.
9. If the area has changed countries (for example, Austria-Hungary - A region that included Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and the Balkans - ceased to exist following World War I) check all modern countries that might contain materials.
Volume 5: Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim Societies : Understanding the Past
Sarah Bowen Savant & Helena de Felipe, editors
This volume originates from a 2008 international seminar organised at the Universidad de Alcalá (the University of Alcalá), Spain, by Helena de Felipe. The seminar was sponsored by the same university together with the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) (HUM2006-27941-E/FILO) and the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. Each of the nine chapters addresses a case in which genealogy has been recorded, studied, developed and formed into a resource in one or more Muslim societies.