How to Start Your Family Tree

Starting to research your family tree will soon become very addictive and it can be frustrating at times, but at the same time you’ll get hours of satisfaction from your research results.

Before you start, it’s important to do a little preparation in order to record your findings and not to forget who and what you’ve already searched for. I forget the amount of times I’ve done hours of searches only to realise that I had done exactly the same searches before. The mistake I made was not to record my searches. However, I spent plenty of time recording and comparing my results.

In order to successfully record your searches and results, you’ll need some basic forms. I would recommend you start with an Individual Research Record and a Pedigree Chart. Those two forms will get you started, plus you can find lots of downloadable forms.

As I said before, the one mistake I did make was not recording my searches. I searched twice or even three times for the same person on the same sites. It was only when I started recording the results that I realised I had done the search before. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration and record who you searched for and on what sites. You might use a lot of notepaper at first, but it will be worth it.

When you’re prepared to start, and record, your searches, you’ll need to know where to look. Searching for Births, Marriages & Deaths is a good starting point. Most sites allow you to search and see the results for free, but when you actually want to see a copy of the original document, they’ll ask you to subscribe. There are some FREE family tree websites so they might be a good place to start. Another option is to take advantage of a free two week trial that some family history websites offer. You can cancel your subscription and you won’t pay a penny.

There are some good family tree software programs available which will help you record and print reports, family trees, and even your own family history book.

Have fun and good luck!