September 21st, 2010

Top 10 Tips for Starting Your Family Tree Research

Whether you are an experienced genealogist or a new comer to the hobby, it’s always good to have some help when you don’t know where to start. The following is a kind of checklist you can use to help you get past obstacles in your research.

Download a family tree template then use this checklist of 10 steps as a basic guideline to get started in building your family tree:

1. Write down every name, date and event.

2. Begin with yourself and your brothers and sisters, working your way back through your parents and grandparents.

3. Ask every relative you can think of about your family history. Make notes on what each of them remembers.

4. Sometimes memories are recalled only after they’ve been stimulated. It wouldn’t hurt to follow up occasionally with those relatives you’ve spoken with to see if they remember anything new.

5. Grovel, dig and search for every family record possible. Extend your search to new relatives you may uncover.

6. Ask your relatives, especially older ones, if you can rummage through their attics. They can be a treasure trove of records and memorabilia.

7. Read records and documents over and over, searching for clues which may lead you farther.

8. Share your findings with other relatives. You might rekindle some long forgotten memory or piece of vital information.

9. Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes you will search for weeks and find nothing, but unearthing one bit of information can begin a landslide of valuable facts and figures.

10. Make a list of what you don’t know in preparation for your next phase.

You might want to start with one side of your family. This won’t be so overwhelming. When you begin it’s best to search simultaneously on several fronts when looking for information. Some avenues may yield immediate results; others may take awhile to bear fruit. You may have to wait awhile for answers to certain inquiries, so you’ll want to have something to do in the meantime. What are some of your ideas for getting started on your family history research?