Researching Your Family
Where Does it Begin?
The most important thing about family tree research is to start. Getting started is not a huge project, and it really shouldn't be as this is potentially a long term one if you wish to trace all the branches of ancestors and descendants. It's good to start with the right habits and organization skills if you can and brush up on them whenever you can to improve your chances of developing a credible and interesting record for the future.
Set yourself some goals to begin with. Choose which branch to investigate first, your maternal line (Your mother's family branch) or your paternal line. (Your father's family branch)
Decide how many generations you will concentrate your search on and then reassess your search objectives when that goal has been reached. You may even decide to stop there. If you've researched it properly (with source citations) it will be easy to pick up again in the future.
The time it takes to reach your goal depends on the information you already have and where you are focusing your search in terms of location and record collection. Some records are not available online at all and some are incomplete. Unfortunately records have also been destroyed during wars and other disasters, so you may have to get creative on where to look next.
To begin with, the search is closer to home. Your living relations all have memories that could hold answers or clues for you to uncover and begin your investigation. Ask them questions to uncover more details, but be mindful that it doesn't turn into an interrogation.
Write down the things that you know onto a simple chart to help you plan your work.
If you'd like to have access to our free downloads to help you get started, including questions to ask family members just click the button below.
Should you hire a genealogist?
There are many sites nowadays that offer a membership for you to build your own family tree. This is a D.I.Y project and will only be as good as the information that you input.
It can be exciting to also get a peek at a tree that other users have put on there, especially when they seem to reach back several generations. You may feel that you have found a shortcut to the past and be tempted to copy their records across to your own tree. Here it's important to give you a friendly warning- when you copy a tree, you may be copying their mistakes and suppositions too.
Professional Genealogists often have access to more records than those offered on tree building websites and a network of researchers or experts across the globe.
Experts have a specialized area in which they have substantial knowledge and experience. They don't just understand how records differ or where they are held, they also know much about the social and economic history of a region. This can help to narrow down a search more quickly or gain access to records not normally available to the public.
If you have the time to spend on a search of records and to read through lots of books and lists, then family tree research can be a wonderful hobby where you'll learn a lot about the past.
If you don't have the time or the inclination to embark on a search that is based on accuracy and evidence, we can help.
We provide tree research services where we build the tree for you. With flexible options it's simple and affordable.
You can choose a Monthly Plan where we will build your tree steadily over time. Or you can choose a search package which targets specific tree branches. Many people begin with a package and then continue with a monthly option for continued growth.