Researching Florida Roots
6/11/2014
It's a small world after all when the nation's genealogy societies converge in Orlando for their annual conference. Whether you're attending FGS or just researching Sunshine State ancestors, our guide will get you started shaking your Florida family tree.

Move over, Pilgrims. Sorry, John Smith. When it comes to roots, Florida's go way back. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon came here in search of the Fountain of Youth, and named the area La Florida for its flowers. Little more than a half-century later, the Spanish set up their first settlement in St. Augustine in 1565? years before the English founded Jamestown. Today, St. Augustine is one of the few American cities with its own Department of Heritage Tourism (904-825-1000). The city's Colonial Spanish Quarter living history museum (904-825-6830) lets you step back into the era when St. Augustine was a remote outpost of the Spanish Empire, with costumed interpreters portraying Spanish soldiers and their families circa 1740.