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Just Starting? Ideas to Begin your Family Tree

start-pedigree chartThat’s your new goal this Fall, to begin your family tree? First, realize this will be a long project, years in the making – nothing that can be done overnight. However, the lasting reward will be magnificent, a true family treasure.

Key to begin – start with yourself. Have a basic family tree chart (pedigree tree) and place your name, birth date, marriage date, locations and spouse. Next two branches would be your parents. Don’t attempt your spouse’s parents – that’s for later.

Place your parents’ full names, birth-marriage and if applies – their death date along with locations. For your mother you really need her maiden (birth name). If any of it is unknown, leave blank. However, if you have a ‘guess’ place that but note it is a guess or bracket it just so it stands out.


Then take each parent and place the names, dates, location for each of their parents. This is where it will get hard. You may have only known your mother’s mother as Grandma or Nana, that won’t work for the family tree. Leave blank for now.

Even if you believe you can go back several generations stop at your grandparents to begin with – that is four individual families alone right there. Never overwhelm yourself with trying to find multiple generations – take it a few at a time.

Check with living relatives – parents, aunts, cousins, etc for any information they may have. Send them copies of the family tree in its basic outline form with what you have written so far. Ask them to add, correct what you have down. However, keep in mind, they could have names, dates and locations wrong. Not until you can locate vital records (birth certificates, family Bible, marriage records, obituaries, etc,) can you feel what is provided is actuate.

start-Sign over doorIf you have a Family History Center in town or nearby, by all means do arrange to visit the center. It is a wealth of databases, books, microfilm and many other sources to help you. Another wonderful place is any local genealogical society. They too will have a library of resources, not only for those who came from that town but all across the country and overseas. Fellow genealogists love to assist newcomers get started on their family tree. You will be amazed at some of the time proven research techniques they can share with you.

These ideas will get you jump started and carry you for a long while. Good luck.

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