AllAboutGenealogy

Genealogy Information

 

The 9 Stages of Getting Started

1. Interested in Family History

2. Start at Home
3. Starting your Family Tree
4. Using BMD Records
5. Order Certificates
6. Collaborating
7. Census Records
8. Branching Out
9. Summary and Checklist

 

Starting at Home

Genealogy, like charity in the old adage, begins at home. Your first port of call for your family history is your family themselves, particularly the older members.

No research can replace hearing first hand accounts from the people whose shared history you are looking to trace. There's a good chance that they will know the names of relatives it would take months to trace by searching alone, as well as stories and legends which you won't find in any records. Checking to see if they're right is part of the joy of building your family tree.

If your relatives are comfortable with it, it is advisable to record your conversations, or get them to make notes if they'd prefer. Not only does this act as a useful reminder of your source once your family tree begins to grow, but it is also a document of your personal history for future generations. Remember that investigating your family's past in fine detail may cause you to uncover some unpleasant surprises, as well as all the fascinating finds and new relatives you will uncover.

Below is a list of possible questions that you may wish to start with when asking about a specific ancestor. Of course this is only a guide and you may have many other specific queries that you would like answered.

* What was their full name? Did they have a middle name or nickname that they preferred?
* When did they die? What was the cause of their death? Whereabouts were they buried?
* Were they married? If so what was the name of their spouse? When and where did their spouse die?
* When did they marry? Where did the marriage occur? Was this the only marriage for both parties?
* Where did they live?
* Did they have children? If so what were their children's names?
* Did their children marry and where did/do they live? If they are deceased where and when did they die?
* What was their occupation? Where did they work? Did they serve in the military?
* Where and when were they born?
* What school or schools did they attend? Did they attend university?
* Were they a member of a religious community, or parish? Which religious denomination were they?
* Do you have any documentation of their life, such as birth, marriage or death certificates, their Will or other written records?
* Do you have any photographs or newspaper clippings of them? Do you know anything about their physical appearance, or accent?
* Would any other relatives have further information, memories or records relating to them?

Starting at home doesn't simply mean speaking to those closest to you, but examining your family home itself. Often there will be old photographs, videos, letters and other heirlooms to discuss and investigate. If you're fortunate there may also be birth, marriage and death certificates for family members. In that case you will not only find a treasure trove of information, but will save yourself money by avoiding the cost of ordering copy certificates.

 

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