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Your Family Tree - Where to Begin

Small green plant in children's palms, over whiteStarting your family tree is a deceptively simple sounding task. If you are new to genealogy, you might be unaware of where to find the data that you need in order to fill out even the least complex versions of a family tree template. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work that may be ahead of you. Before you get discouraged, you should read over these tips that can help you get started.

One good way to start is with yourself. You already know your own name and birthday, and it is very likely that you know who your parents are, (unless, perhaps, you were adopted). Write down as much about your closest relatives as you know. From there, the guide suggests that you start interviewing family members about the names, birthdays, and days of death for the relatives who are on your family tree that you don’t know very much about.

Now that you have a bunch of information, you need a place to put it. If you want to use a pre-made family tree template, there are plenty of free ones to choose from that can be quickly found online, downloaded, and printed out. If you happen to be artistically inclined, you might want to create your own version.

Next, you need to know where to go to fill in your blanks. Some genealogists will select a popular genealogy search website to use in their research, such as, or FamilySearch. You can find a lot of useful information in the U.S. Census records as well. If you are looking for an image of the tombstone of an ancestor, you might want to check out the FindAGrave website.

Before you know it, you will have gotten started working on your family tree. From here, you can go back in your family history as far as you are able. This is where the research aspect of genealogy becomes addicting for a lot of people. If you have an interest in scrapbooking, you might want to ask your relatives for copies of old family photos of ancestors. It’s also wise to collect a family medical history as you do your work, which will be helpful for the whole family, when completed.

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