Starting your own family tree is simple and easy, the bit that is hard is following through on finding out about the rest of the family. This can turn in to a seriously lengthy process if you decide to investigate as far back as you can. However have no fear as here are some tips to get you on the right track.
- Start with your immediate family
Obviously the first step in starting your own family tree would be to start with your immediate family. They will be able to supply you with all of their birth certificates as well as give you information about their extended family which can help you on your way to starting a great family tree. Information that can be gathered from them includes marriages, divorces, and places of residence. Once you have collected as much information you can from your immediate family, you can then move on to step two of the process.
- Making contact
This involves you getting in contact with extended members of the family if you can. This can involve a lot of leg work and waiting as you would need to find all the right contact information and then try and emailing or calling them in order to set up meetings. You also have to bear in mind that some people may be suspicious of what you are doing and may not want to meet with you. In addition to this they may have a bad history with the family and not want to meet at all as it may be psychologically traumatic for them. Should this be the case, your next bet it is to do a literature search.
- Literature search
This again can be a time consuming activity but if you cannot contact your relatives directly then you should go to your nearest library and take a look at backlogs of newspapers clippings. Some libraries have newspaper clippings for decades back and this can be useful if you are looking for information as you can look at the marriage announcements and deaths and see if you can find anything that pertains to your family. This can also help you find the names of other family members that you may not have been aware of. Should you however not be able to find what you are looking for then why not use the good old Internet.
- Internet searches
The Internet is a great place to look for information as every minute more and more information is being uploaded and made accessible to the masses. What is even better is that there are even sites that are dedicated to family history searches.
The sites offer a plethora of information that has already been captured and is available at your fingertips at any given moment. This should hopefully speed up the process for you as you no longer have to sit for hours in a library and sift through hundreds of newspapers.
Starting a family tree can be a very rewarding activity as the saying goes “You can’t know where you are going until you know where you come from”. So if you feel the need to connect with you history and get a better understanding of your family then this could be one way of doing so. Alternatively you could just spend more and more time with your extended family and hear all about their stories and their lives. Ultimately however this exercise will require a lot of spare time on your part and could require a lot of emotional energy as well so this isn’t a hobby for the feint hearted.