Where to start with your own genealogy research?!
When beginning to build your family tree before you can start getting all the information at the roots it would be wise to get yourself organised first! You will be interviewing family members and slowly putting together a substantial amount of information depending how far back you intend to research as well as the extra details you may want on your ancestors lives.
1.) So firstly get yourself a notebook and a folder and set yourself up an area to keep all of your information, notes and certificates you have already as well as the certificates you will need to order for your research.
2.) Download one of the many FREE software programs to store some information on your computer/or online, and view your own pedigree chart or family tree chart as you build it. Here are a few links you could choose from to get you started:
- Family search
- My Heritage
- Family Echo
- Ancestry.com.au has a 14 day free trial.
- Or you can download the US basic template from Ancestry.com
3.) Start planning! As Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” So you are going to need to decide on what information about your family’s history, that you actually want to know? For example :
- How far back do you plan to search, how many generations?;
- Are you simply after names, birth and death dates;
- Or are you after more information such as locations of birth, where they lived their lives and where they passed away;
- Are you searching also for their professions;
- Are you wanting to find military details;
- Are you looking for old family dramas or secrets to tell friends and family maybe; or
- Are you interested in looking up the origin of your surname?; or
- Their successes, failures, triumphs and hardships;
- Medical history; or
- What kind of people were they, are there any news paper clippings of something they may have done for their community; and/or
- What kind of life did they live in that era of time? What was their basic day to day life like and how much does that differ from today? What triumphs did they achieve that we take for granted in today’s day and age?
4.) Decide how much time you plan to spend on a regular basis doing this research, for so many people who start this they often get enthralled in it, and it becomes a new hobby! Will this be the case for you or will your excitement fade over time? Should you instead get assistance? If you think this is your best option please feel free to contact us to assist you!
5.) Build your starting point, start talking to your family and documenting. Speak to whoever you can, your mother, father, grandparents, cousins, siblings, anyone you can to get as many names and dates that you can to begin!
6.) Collect any and all information you can, old pictures, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates from all of your family who are willing. Most of the time this sort of thing doesn’t get handed down until a family member passes away. However most people will also be happy that you are paying an interest in them and their history. Simply ask for copies, most people will not part with the originals however they may not mind giving you a copy for your research and records!
There are so many questions to ask yourself, what is it that you really want to know? Write it down, and start your plan today!
Continue to the next section on – How to speak to family members – This is especially important if they are elderly!