August 27th, 2010

Little Known Ways to Start Your Family Tree Research

Asking your family is the best place to begin in tracing your family tree. But there are other things you can do to begin your family tree research.

Official Documentation

Quite possibly you’ll find a wealth of genealogy treasure and history right under your nose at home. Your mother or grandmother most likely have some official documents stashed away somewhere that can be of immense value. Some of these would include:

• Vital Records. Birth certificates, marriage and death certificates. Some civil registration documents can go back as far as the early 1800’s.

• Military records. These can be very detailed and include personal descriptions as well as birth dates, addresses etc.

• Professional diplomas and certificates of qualification.

• Club membership records or other professional organization records like trade unions.

• Other documentation such as immigration papers, criminal and civil litigation, even name changes by deed poll.

Research At Home

Once you’ve exhausted your search of official documentation, there are other types of memorabilia that can reveal important information. Some of these you might want to look at are:

• Photographs – Look for groups of people who look alike. They could be brothers or sisters, at least relatives. Knowing the name for one could lead you to finding the names of the others. Perhaps one is wearing a military uniform. This could direct you to the correct records to search.

• Diaries – Some people keep historical records meticulously in their diaries, and you could find detailed information regarding important events in the life of your family.

• Bibles – Bibles sometimes contain records of important dates in the front or back. Occasionally you might find an existing template of a family tree already begun.

Once you’ve thoroughly collected and scrutinized as much information as possible at home, a good way to proceed is to write down everything you know. Facts that may seem trivial initially could turn out to be ultra-important further down the line.

What genealogy treasures have you found hiding in your family’s homes?