Information for the Beginner
So where do you start??? You want to find out more information about your family and your ancestors. Start with what you already know. Talk to your relatives. Involve family members. Start today, not in ten years. So much information and clues for your search can be lost in a few years. Try one of the tutorials listed in the next box to learn more about starting your family history search.
Enter names, dates, and places for your ancestors on a family group sheet and also an ancestral chart. (See the following box for links to blank forms.) Or record all your information in genealogy software. This will make it easier to share with others and to upload it online. Record everything your family knows, especially stories. Look for clues in the attic. Old photos might have dates written on the back, indicate fraternal organzitions, or show the ages of siblings. Maybe your great-grandfather was given a silver spoon with his christening date and initials engraved on it.
Fill in the gaps in your family tree charts by searching for historical records. Start with the Top Ten Resources tab and look for census pages for your family and ancestors. Document all your sources so that anyone can find this information again. Use websites such as the ones listed in this information guide to search databases for family information and to learn more about what is availble on the Internet.
Have fun and good luck!
Links to Blank Forms
You can find blank forms at these pages so that you can easily record your family information in a standard format.
a) FamilySearch’s 1st (of many) 5 minute tutorials
b) RootsWeb’s “Guide to Tracing Family Trees”
One of the more comprehensive tutorials. For both beginners and more advanced students.
c) “Introduction to genealogy tutorial”
d) National Genealogical Society Online
e) WorldCat Tutorial
OCLC’s WorldCat tutorial for searching WorldCat for genealogy
f) FamilySearch's "How to Research" wiki article