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How to Research Your Family Tree

By Edited Nov 15, 2013 0 0

This tutorial on how to research your family tree, it is a very basic tutorial dealing with living people.

When researching your family tree, YOU are the most important person. Isn't that a nice change? This is the one time in life that you can be selfish and it's a good thing.

When starting your genealogy research, you begin with yourself and work your way back. Once you've done yourself and the other people in your home you can continue with the rest of the family. Such as Me -> Dad ->Mom ->Grandparents -> Great grandparents. It looks simple but every generation you go back doubles the previous generation, so the farther back you go the more individuals you need to find.

It's actually a vicious circle of hunting, unless you can deal just saying no to further research when you hit one of those infamous brick walls, which EVERY family has and most genealogists I know spend more time on the ones they can't find than the ones they can.

Back to you, you need to write down everything you know about you. This is the easiest part so enjoy it. Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death… wait you're not dead so leave that blank, Place of Birth, Name of Father, Name of Mother, Names of Siblings, Name of Spouse, and Names of Children.

Do a little biography of yourself, you may know everything there is to know about you but someday one of your children, or grandchildren might get hit with the genealogy bug and find the information interesting.

Anytime you are filling in a "Mother" make sure you are using her maiden name. The name she was born with.

There are a lot of resources online if you need help figuring out how to organize your information. Pedigree Charts, Family Information Sheets, I prefer making my own in MS Word or Excel but if you'd rather use one that is already made just look around. They are easy to find.

Let's move on to your father. You need the same information for him that you wrote down for yourself. Date of Birth, Date of Death, Place of Birth, Place of Death, Name of Spouse, Name of Mother, Name of Father, Names of Siblings, and Names of Children. From here on out to save on my fingers we are going to call all those dates and names … um…. Personal and Family Information, or PFI for short.

It is mothers turn now. You can do the ancestors in whatever order you want but I generally do father, mother, father's father, father's mother, mother's father, mother's mother. It makes it easier to keep track of where you are in the process.

Once you have all the information you know, you need to start interviewing your relatives. Start with your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents, their brothers and sisters. The older the relative the better chance you will have of finding out interesting bits of information. This may sound insensitive but get on those old relatives before they become ancestors. Great aunt Matilda isn't going to live forever and she may actually enjoy the company.

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