Getting Started

 

Join a Family History or Genealogical Society in your area of research. These societies have experienced members who are willing to help beginners in "getting started."

Read as many books as you can on "How to trace your Family History".

Start with yourself and work backwards.

When using a printed pedigree chart, the male line is the even numbered line with the relevant female line underneath (odd numbered).

Use a notebook or file with fixed pages when recording information collected at Libraries etc.

When researching in libraries etc, always use a pencil to record information.

Record all the sources searched even if negative result. This could save time & money if at a later date you need to engage a professional researcher.

Keep a separate file for each family researched. This will show where there are gaps to be filled and which direction to go in your research.

Collect as much information as you can from living relatives especially the older generations. DO THIS NOW - TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE.

Evaluate family stories as there is often a grain of truth amongst the exaggeration.

Ask for help from family members to name and date family photographs. Record the information on the back of the photos.

Read journals from other societies, research directories & internet bulletin boards to see if there is anyone else researching your family names. This could save hours of duplicate research and put you in touch with a new cousin.

File all letters and emails received by family name even if they do not appear to be connected at the time. You may discover at a later date that they may tie you into another branch of the family.

Collect family information from all the sources in your home eg:

  • CERTIFICATES - Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  • MEMORABILIA - Family Bibles, letters, birthday books, baby books, diaries, visitors books, yearbooks, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings.
  • LEGAL DOCUMENTS - Deeds, titles, land grants, mortgages, leases, contracts, wills, business papers, naturalisation papers, deedpoll papers.
  • PERSONAL DOCUMENTS - Union papers, passports, divorce papers, medical records, baptismal records, references.
  • EDUCATIONAL RECORDS - School certificates, apprenticeship papers, school reports, school magazines.
  • FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS - Taxation records, bank books, insurance papers.
  • PHOTOGRAPHS - Albums, loose photos, paintings.
  • BOOKS - Family histories, local histories, biographies.

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Date last reviewed: 19 July 2018.