Searching for ancestors has become an increasingly popular activity in recent years, especially after the introduction of TV shows such as “Who do you think you are”. The growth of the digital world has also made becoming an amateur genealogist a little easier as there are now so many records available right at your fingertips. If you have always liked the idea of investigating your family tree, but have not known how to go about it, we are going to take you through some of the top tips that it’s useful to know.
Generally, you can make a start to researching your family tree on your own; although you may need to enlist the help of some professional genealogists along the way. Of course, you can also do this if you want to know what your family tree looks like but do not want to do too much work yourself. If you do want to make a start yourself then here are some tips on how to begin.
Speak to people
One of the best ways to start investigating your family history is to ask people who are alive today but have memories of the past. Your parents should know the names of their parents and grandparents. That information could already potentially take you back through over a century of history. One thing to be aware of is that many people do not remember details perfectly, so some names, dates of birth and other personal information may not be exactly correct. You may need to double check some of the information, which is where research comes in.
Look for documents
You will be amazed at the things you can find in an attic. Many people keep important paperwork, such as birth, marriage and death certificates. It’s always worth searching for these types of document in family homes. They can help you form a solid foundation for your family tree. You should also look for old photographs and items such as newspaper cuttings.
One you have a certain amount of information to go on, you can open up a whole new world of detail by searching online records. You may also find it useful to join online forums where you can share information with other amateur genealogists.
As soon as you start to collect information about your family history it’s important to be very organized. If you do not keep accurate records you will end up becoming confused and you may well have to repeat work that you have already done. It can be tempting to try and cut corners, but it actually isn’t that difficult to build your family tree online and the effort is worth it in the end.
Researching your family tree is great fun, but it can become frustrating if you feel as though you have reached a dead end. If this happens then you may want to think about contacting a professional genealogist to get some extra help.