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There are many reasons why people begin researching their family history. A person may want to join a lineage society, such as the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), or find the town in the old country where the family originated. Others seek to understand their own traits and characteristics by learning about grandparents and other relatives, or they may want to have a reunion of all the descendants of a pioneer settler. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) desire to share religious blessings with their deceased relatives. All of these, and many others, are good reasons.
Regardless of the reasons, each person seeking to learn about their family history is embarking on a quest. Just like the journeys of pioneer ancestors, such quests may seem almost impossible or never-ending. However, a quest is just an “over-all” goal and like every other journey, proceeds one step at a time.
As with every journey, you will have to set and reach several intermediate goals in succession during this quest. In family history, goals often focus on learning about an ancestor or family. Later in the research process, you will learn how to further break these goals into specific achievable research objectives that will keep you on the path, goal by goal toward achieving your quest.
At least part of the overall quest should involve sharing what you find. For example, publish a family history, put up a website, or contribute to the Family Tree or Pedigree Resource File.