This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Table of Contents
Discovering your family history can be an exciting, entertaining, and rewarding journey. Here I’ve compiled 8 tips to begin your family history research.
According to Merriam and Webster, Family History is. “a record of one’s ancestors.”
Tip #1. Gather information
Begin your family history research by collecting as much information as possible from your immediate family members.
Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older relatives to gather names, dates, and stories about your ancestors. Record details such as full names, birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, and any other significant events or anecdotes.
Tip #2. Organize your findings
Create a system to organize the information you gather. You can use a family tree chart, a genealogy software program, or even a simple spreadsheet. This will help you keep track of your research and make connections between different family members while you are coducting your family history research.
Tip #3. Verify existing records
Take the information you’ve gathered and cross-check it with official records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates. These documents can provide valuable insights and help confirm the accuracy of your family history.
Tip #4. Online research
Utilize online resources to expand your research. Websites like Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and MyHeritage.com offer access to a vast collection of historical records, census data, immigration records, and more. You can also find valuable information in online forums, genealogy blogs, and social media groups dedicated to genealogy.
Tip #4. Visit local repositories
Local libraries, archives, and historical societies can be excellent sources of information. They often house unique records, photographs, newspapers, and other materials specific to the region where your ancestors lived. Plan a visit to these repositories and see if they can provide any relevant information about your family.
Tip #5. Interview distant relatives
Reach out to distant relatives who may have additional information or family heirlooms that could be valuable to your family history research. They might have old photographs, diaries, letters, or other memorabilia that can shed light on your family’s history.
Tip #6. DNA testing
Consider taking a DNA test, such as those offered by companies like AncestryDNA or 23andMe. (I have personally taken DNA tests with both companies.)
DNA testing can provide you with insights into your ethnic origins and potential matches with distant relatives who have also taken the test. It can be a helpful tool for expanding your family tree and discovering new branches of your family.
Tip #7. Document and preserve
As you uncover information about your family history, make sure to document your sources and keep a record of your research. This will help you maintain accuracy and allow others to verify your findings.
Consider digitizing old photographs and documents to preserve them for future generations.
You’ll want to stock up on banker boxes and three ring binders and portable backup drives to store all your finds.
Remember, genealogy research is a gradual process, and it may take time to uncover your family’s complete history. Be prepared to encounter challenges and discrepancies along the way, but don’t get discouraged.
Enjoy the journey of discovering your roots and connecting with your family’s past.
More Family History Research Posts
- 5 Tips for Successfully Using ANCESTRY.COM
- 7 Ancestry Research LINKS You’ll Need to Bookmark
- 5 Movies and TV Shows About Genealogy
- 3 Reasons Why I Won’t Renew My GENEALOGYBANK Subscription
- 5 Fascinating TV Shows About Genealogy on Amazon Prime Video
- 6 Tips on how I came to Research and Discover the YOUNG Family History Through Newspaper Clippings
- Searching for the Welton Family from Waterbury to Watertown
- What Is X DNA?
Sharing is Caring
Continue the Conversation
What inspired you to start digging into your family history?