Family history research is a rewarding journey into the past, where you can discover more about your ancestors and build a solid connection to them in the present.
To make your family history research a success, there are several vital points you need to keep in mind. These ten expert genealogy tips will help you start your research journey with confidence!
Make a List of Your Relatives
One of the most important things you can do to get started with your family history is to list your relatives. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, and others share a blood tie with your ancestors.
Once you have a list, use it to organize the information that you collect about your relatives. File copies of records, photographs, and any other material by family or geographical location so you can refer to them later.
Visit Your Local Family History Center
One of the most exciting parts of family history research in trusted sources like the Irish family history foundation is visiting your local Family History Center. Usually found in a building or church owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these centers are accessible to the public.
They offer a vast collection of genealogical records. You can use these records to find critical details about your ancestors and build your family tree.
Make a Pedigree Chart
A pedigree chart is a great way to organize your family history research. It helps you record information about yourself, your parents, grandparents, and their parents.
It can also help you determine if a trait is hereditary or acquired.
Start with yourself and work backward in time, filling in the blanks as you go along. This will make it easier to see what information you are missing and give you a head start on your research!
Make a List of Records to Look For
One of the best ways to get started in genealogy is to list the records you want to look for. This helps you organize your research and prevents you from repeatedly re-researching the same record set.
The most important records to look for are birth, death, and marriage. Also, census records can give you much information about your ancestors’ living environments and other relatives.
Create a Family Tree
A family tree is a visual representation of your lineage that traces relationships back to your ancestors. It usually starts with the oldest known ancestor as the root and branches in boxes representing leaves.
A family tree can be as straightforward or as complex as you like. It can include you, your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other relatives essential to your family history research.
Create a Family Album
One of the best ways to keep track of your family history is through a family album. These albums are great for storing your favorite photos and a great way to document milestones in your family’s history.
Make your family album as personalized and detailed as you like. Many design tools and online companies allow you to create a custom book from scratch, complete with an individualized cover.
Start a Website
Creating your family history website is one of the most effective ways to share your work and inspire others to research. It is also relatively easy and inexpensive compared to publishing a book.
Scanned or downloaded source materials, family photos, and transcriptions of oral-history interviews all make excellent web content. Be sure to include good source footnotes, which can help enhance your research’s value to potential researchers.
Search the Internet
Many websites and databases on the Internet can help you find information about your family. Some of these resources are free.
Several records are available, including birth, marriage, and death certificates; censuses; military service records; church records; social histories and much more. The key to effective research is to pull four main items from these documents: names, dates, places, and relationships.
Visit the Library
Libraries are an excellent source of genealogical records. They may have vertical files that contain information on your ancestors from past genealogists and local historians.
You can also access government documents and books, often free, on the Internet Archive website.
The National Archives is another excellent place to start your research. These federally-regulated records can help you track your family history to previous generations.
Share Your Research
There are several ways to share your research.
Donating your findings to a genealogical library, archive, or society can be an excellent way to preserve them for future historians.
Creating a family history blog can be a great way to share your discoveries with the world and teach people about genealogy.
Starting a Facebook group is another excellent way to share your family history research with your relatives. This can be a less time-consuming way to share your findings, and you can also encourage other members to post any photos or information they may have.