Aviva Directory » History & Genealogy

Genealogy is a reference to the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors, lineage, or pedigree, while history is the summation of past events.

While the relationships between genealogy and world history are distant, there is a closer connection between genealogy and family history, although they are not one and the same. The study of family history is frequently included in the definitions of genealogy. Nevertheless, genealogy and family history are not synonymous.

According to Merriam-Webster, genealogy is an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms, or as the study of family ancestral lines. Genealogical records and DNA evidence are used to document or substantiate the relationships between individuals, and to construct a family tree.

Genealogy is more limited than family histories in that genealogical research is mostly concerned with familial relationships and vital dates, such as dates of birth, death, and marriages, while family histories usually seek more information from journals, news articles, and other documents, with the intent of getting to know your ancestors. In other words, genealogical research is a part of developing a family history, but the two words are not synonymous.

Historically, the emphasis of genealogy was on establishing the kinship of rulers and nobles, largely for the purpose of establishing the legitimacy of claims to affluence, property, and power.

In the United States, genealogical research was first conducted in the early 1800s as an attempt to establish social standing through relationships with the earliest colonists. Later, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) became well-known for its emphasis on genealogy.

As for history, it might be defined as the past, and how it relates to the present. While it is common to use the term to refer to the past, particularly as it pertains to human beings, as a field of study, history refers to the period for which there are written records.

Human events that occurred prior to the existence of written records is known as prehistory. By definition, prehistory is the era prior to recorded history. However, this does not necessarily indicate that nothing is known about this period. Archaeology has been the principal method of research into prehistory. In the absence of a written record, prehistoric people left behind a variety of artifacts, including tools, weapons, and other items giving clues to the day-to-day life of prehistoric humanity. Cave paintings have also been found, and, arguably, these might be considered a form of communication, or perhaps even a rudimentary written language.

Prehistory is often sorted into three periods based on expertise in tool-making technologies. These are the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

History is a record of the period of time in which written records are available. In early history, writing was a skill with which only the nobility was familiar, many of the earliest written records were filled with information about the greatness and glory of emperors and divinities. Various civilizations around the world reached these periods at different times. The Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians were the first to develop writing skills. This occurred during what was the early Bronze Age for most of the world, as most other civilizations didn't reach the end of prehistory until the Iron Age.

Written records of some of the greatest empires in world history have been preserved, including the Mughal Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire.

History is never complete, even when it comes to eras that have long gone by. Historians write in the context of their own time, using contemporary ideas as to how the past should be interpreted, often including biases. Insofar as history is the record of wars, conflicts, and subsequent governments, it has often been said that history is written by the victors. When a significant change in the power structure of a nation occurs, the subsequent history of that nation is likely to reflect this change.

History might reflect that of a period of time or geographical location, or it might be political, military, religious, social, cultural, diplomatic, economic, or environmental, and it might be written so as to reflect the views or interests of intellectuals, genders, or the common people.

Both amateur and professional historians discover, collect, organize, and present information about past events, and this information may be discovered through a variety of means, including archaeological evidence, written sources, verbal stories, oral histories, or other archives.