Are you interested in discovering your family history? Researching your family tree can be a fascinating and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging and time-consuming. To help you get started, we have put together this guide on the best way to research your family tree.
Start with What You Know
The best place to begin your family tree research is with what you already know. Start by gathering information about yourself, your parents, and your grandparents. Talk to living relatives and ask them questions about their parents and grandparents. You can also gather information from family records, such as birth and marriage certificates, family bibles, and obituaries.
Recording this information in a family tree chart can help you organize your research and identify gaps in your knowledge.
Utilize Online Resources
Once you have gathered as much information as possible from your family, it’s time to explore online resources. Genealogy websites like Ancestry.com and MyHeritage offer access to vast collections of records, including census data, military records, and immigration records. DNA testing can also provide valuable information about your family’s ethnic origins and distant relatives.
When using online resources, it’s important to verify the accuracy of the information you find. Look for corroborating evidence to support your research, such as multiple sources that confirm a specific fact.
Explore Local Resources
In addition to online resources, it’s important to explore local resources such as libraries, archives, and historical societies. These resources can provide access to local records, including deeds, wills, and probate records.
Local historical societies can also provide valuable information about the history of your family’s community and the people who lived there. They may have access to local newspapers, city directories, and other historical documents.
Organize Your Research
As you gather information about your family history, it’s important to organize your research in a way that makes sense to you. Creating a filing system or using genealogy software can help you keep track of your research and avoid duplication.
Keeping a research log can also help you track your progress and remember where you found specific pieces of information. This can be especially helpful if you take a break from your research and come back to it later.
Researching your family tree can be challenging, especially if you hit a roadblock or encounter missing or inaccurate records. When this happens, don’t give up. Instead, try to think creatively about other sources of information that might help you fill in the gaps.
For example, if you can’t find a birth certificate for your great-grandfather, try looking for other records that might include his birthdate, such as census records or military records.
Researching your family tree can be a fascinating and rewarding experience, but it takes time and effort. By starting with what you know, utilizing online and local resources, organizing your research, and thinking creatively, you can uncover the hidden stories of your family’s history.
Remember, genealogy research is an ongoing process, and new information is constantly being added to databases and archives. Keep an open mind and be prepared to revise your family tree as new information becomes available.