Basic Steps to Start Research

The first step is the easiest – simply start with what you know – YOU. Write your own information, birth, place, schooling, military, marriage, children. Then work your way back to your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. Keep the beginning simple – dates and places for your parents, etc. This will give you a good start on your family history and give you an idea of what you still need to find out. This is also a good time to gather any old family photos and documents. If you do not have any, ask a relative, either the original photos and documents or digital copies.

One of the most common mistakes people make is not talking to living relatives. Your living relatives are a valuable resource of information and will likely know more than you think. Interview your older relatives now before it’s too late to preserve their memories and knowledge of your family’s history.

Go beyond names and dates of living relatives by keeping your questions opened ended to encourage stories rather than one-word answers. You can talk on the phone, in person, send an email or regular letter. Make sure to record and document your interviews so you can refer back to them later. If possible do a video. It’s also important to keep in mind that not all family stories are accurate or true. Many stories have gotten a bit twisted over time. As you record family stories, make sure you verify some of the information with documentation. Newspapers are a great start. There are ‘’ and ‘’ to name a few.

Two other beginning sources are if your county has a Family History Center operated by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Then also see if your county has a genealogical society, they help individuals with their research. Both are free.

The one key to starting family history research is to be patient. This does take time.

Photo: A Family Tree

Related Blogs:

Ideas to Start Family Tree

Making a Basic Family Tree

Eleven Basic Items When Interviewing a Relative

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