It’s easier than ever now to start building your family tree and discover your ancestors. Resources like Google, Facebook, and family history websites are more readily available. As a result, more people are discovering their families past and any unknown relatives that may still be alive. Here are our top tips for finding your family history.
1. Everything you know
Without sounding obvious, your first port of call is to write down everything you know about yourself and your bloodline. This can be anything to do with your parents, your grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and so on. The information necessary will be names, places, dates and anything in general that may be relevant to your family. Once you have exhausted all of your knowledge, begin asking said relatives for their information on the family. Luckily, you’ll soon have a solid base to begin the process. With a litany of information, you can start building your family tree.
2. Get Records
Now the basic information is in hand, start looking into official records to fill any holes. With sites like Find My Past, these records have never been more obtainable. Be it birth, death, marriage, censuses and military records, Find My Past have over 4 billion records online for you to browse. Even if you only know one name you will be able to use sites like these to go back through your family history and discover their ancestors.
3. Look Closer
Though records such a birth, death, marriage and so on are important, there is more information lying within these records than you may realise. For example, these records can tell you more than just where they were born, married or died but also provide you with names which were previously unknown. With these new names you can then order birth, marriage or death certificates to further branch out your tree.
There are other records which may prove to be useful in your searching as well. Censuses have been recorded every 10 years (except during wartime) and can provide names, ages, addresses, places of birth, occupations and names of cohabitants at the same address.
Parish records can give you some insight to how your ancestors lived during particular parts of history as well as how the surrounding group of people lived. These records exist from 1538 until 1837. Other records like travel and migration, crime, military, educational and institutional records could also aid you with further information of your family’s back-story and can all be found on Find My Past as well.
4. Build A Tree
When you have found all the information possible you will then need to start mapping out your family tree. You can begin this process both online and by hand. If you are doing this by hand you will need a large piece of card and post it notes. However, we believe it may be more beneficial to do this online as you can easily edit and delete aspects of your tree, make copies and send the tree to other family members. There are number of tools you can use to build your tree online such as Family Historian and Find My Past Family Tree Builder. You can also upload any photographs or documents that you’ve found to keep everything organised and in one place.
5. Keep it up
Finally, you need to keep updating your tree where you can. If you can’t find a record then it may be worth checking back on the family tracing sites as they get updated with new records on a daily basis.
Overall, building your family tree isn’t as difficult as it may seem and can be a deeply rewarding experience, bringing families closer together as well as discovering relatives you never even knew you had. If you are struggling to find someone, be it an old friend, distant relative or long lost family member, Blanchard’s Inheritance may be able to assist with our industry knowledge and award winning researchers.