A Newbie to Family History Research

That could be describing you, a ‘newbie’, a beginner to working on gathering and researching your family lineage and to know about your ancestors. You can always welcome advice on the best approach to this awesome task of your family tree.

First, have a plan of organization. You have to keep files on your computer and paper (hard copy) files as backup. Don’t wait until you have gathered many documents to start organizing, do that part first.

Begin with a simple sheet of paper to write out what you do know. Yourself is the starting point, place your full name (any nicknames), a maiden name, birth, marriage dates and locations you have lived.

Next add about your parents, each separate, your mother and father with the same thing (names, dates and locations). This starts the core of your family tree.

The next level is the parents to your mother and for your father. These are your grandparents and you may need help here. Ask your parents if they are still living, or ask aunts, uncles or cousins. When checking with other family members, see if they have any documents such as birth records, marriage certificates, death or obituary records and especially family photos. This portion will take some time to contact family relatives and for them to get back to you. If any live nearby, make arranges for a visit, so helping them look for any documents and photos.

In talking to relatives, if you learn where a parent or grandparent is buried, either visit that cemetery and talk to the office or see if their headstone and any information is available on ‘Find-a-Grave‘ online site.

After gathering some basic information on your parents and each set of their parents (your grandparents) you can make a basic family tree. Again start with yourself, then parents, then grandparents. You might be surprised at how much you have gathered in a short time. It also helps you see what is still needed, such as where the mother of your mother was born.

Do not try to go beyond your grandparents until you have gathered as much as possible for right now on those six individuals (parents and grandparents). Later you then take each grandparent individually to learn about their parents. You are building a family tree – your lineage.

Photos: Family Tree, talking among 3 generations, and blank three generations.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Just Starting?

Beginning Family History

Using YouTube

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