Tips to Get Started on Your Family Tree

Posted February 17, 2016 by Amanda | 3 Comments

Learning about your genealogy can be a rich and rewarding experience, but many who are eager to discover more often find they are at a loss on to where or how to begin.

Tips to Get Started on Your Family Tree

Family history research doesn’t need to feel so overwhelming. Check out these tips on how to get started on researching your family tree:

1. Start with what you know

The easiest way to begin is to start with the information you already know. As you gather more information, you can work backwards one step at a time.

2. Talk to your relatives

Another step that can be easily accomplished is to talk to your living relatives. Your relatives are an invaluable source of family history information. Listening to a relative recall family memories and old stories that have been passed down between generations is a wonderful way to learn more about your family. It is also especially important to start interviewing your living relatives now because once they pass away, their memories and stories will be lost forever. Remember to record your conversations to preserve them for the future. There are plenty of tips and questions you can look over to prepare for your family interviews.

3. Gather old family photos and documents

While you’re at it, gather as much material as you can from your relatives. Old family photos, documents and family Bibles are incredibly valuable to jumpstart your family history research.

4. Start building your tree

As you gather information, you can start building your family tree online for free on Geni. This way you can organize and visualize your family tree, while also inviting more relatives to join in your family history research to contribute more information. Soon you’ll find genealogy is much more fun when done in collaboration with others than alone.

Before long, you’ll find yourself connected to over 100 million people in Geni’s World Family Tree.

5. Set goals

As you begin to delve into your family history research, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed by all the new information you may gather. Create research goals to better organize and focus your search. Take it one step at at time by concentrating on one person or area before moving on to the next mystery in our family tree. You can even create a to-do list to keep yourself organized and on task.

6. Have patience

Patience is key, so don’t be discouraged if you hit a brick wall. And don’t be afraid to take a break from one branch of the tree to focus on another.

7. Begin your search for historical records

A good place to start is to search for available records online. MyHeritage SuperSearch holds a vast collection of historical records and family trees. Even better, as you are adding relatives to your family tree on Geni, we are automatically searching for matching historical records and family trees in MyHeritage’s database. With MyHeritage’s Record Matches and Smart Matches appearing on your Geni profiles, new family history discoveries could be just a click away.

Be aware that not everything can be found online. Soon enough, you may find yourself on a trip to a library or courthouse.

8. Plan a field trip

As you continue your research, keep in mind a few locations for a genealogy themed field trip. Many people find these fun excursions to be incredibly rewarding experiences. For example, a visit to the cemetery to view your ancestors gravestone not only brings a more intimate connection with your ancestors, but can also be a source of valuable new genealogical information.

What’s the best advice you received when you first got started on your genealogy research? Share your tips with us in the comments below!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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  • Dale Melder

    Amanda,can you help me or direct me to someone that will try to help find the parents of my gggf born in Haacht, Belgium in 1625 ? His names was Leonardus Van Meldert. Helived until 1653. In 1648 he married Emerentia Fleerackers and there was two sons born of this marriage, Egidius Van Meldert Sr, and Gasparus Van Meldert. I am searching for the parents of Leonardus and Emerentia,I have no info at all about them.

  • Carrie Bab

    The survivor guide helps navigate your surviving spouse, partner or executor through the stressful, confusing, and often frustrating process that follows the loss of a loved one. Its really cool!!!