Researching your family tree can be a fascinating and rewarding experience. It can help you discover new information about your ancestors and their lives, and give you a better understanding of your family’s history and traditions. If you’re interested in tracing your family’s roots but don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you get going.

  1. Start with what you know

Begin by gathering as much information as possible from your family members. Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives to learn more about your family’s history. Ask them about their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, and any stories or traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Take notes or record their responses, and use this information as a starting point for your research.

  1. Organize your information

Once you have some basic information, organize it in a way that makes sense to you. You can use a family tree chart or genealogy software to keep track of your ancestors and their relationships. Make sure to include key details such as birth and death dates, marriage dates, and locations. As you gather more information, update your chart or software accordingly.

  1. Research online

There are many online resources that can help you research your family tree. Websites such as,, and offer access to census records, birth and death certificates, and other historical documents. You can also search for obituaries, newspaper articles, and other records that may provide valuable information about your ancestors. Some websites offer free access to their databases, while others require a subscription fee.

  1. Visit libraries and archives

In addition to online resources, libraries and archives can be great sources of information. Local libraries may have historical newspapers, city directories, and other documents that can help you learn more about your ancestors. Archives, especially those that specialize in genealogy, may have records such as wills, deeds, and probate records. Some archives require appointments or have limited hours, so be sure to check ahead.

  1. Attend family reunions

Family reunions can be a great opportunity to connect with distant relatives and learn more about your family’s history. Bring along your family tree chart or genealogy software to share with others. Ask family members if they have any old photographs or documents that you can scan or copy. You may be surprised at what you can learn and discover at family gatherings.

  1. Be persistent and patient

Researching your family tree can be a time-consuming process. It may take some time to find the information you need, and you may hit dead ends along the way. Don’t get discouraged – keep at it! Be persistent in your research and patient with the process. Remember that each new piece of information you discover is a step forward in your quest to uncover your family’s history.

7. Verify information

As you gather information, be sure to verify it with multiple sources. This will help ensure that you have accurate information. Never just assume you have the right information or copy information from anyone else’s tree. Online databases are user submitted and usually contain mistakes. The only way you can guarantee your information is correct is if you find the information yourself.

8. Fill in gaps

As you research, you may come across gaps in your family tree. Try to fill in these gaps by talking to family members or conducting more research. You will find more children listed or less than you know on census records and other areas but by taking time and filling in those gaps your tree will have correct information for future generations.

9. Share your findings

Share your family tree with your family members. They may be able to provide additional information or correct any errors. Always go back to step 7 though and verify what they are telling you. Sometimes memories are muddled or they may confuse certain events but their stories lay the foundations for your continued research.

10. Preserve documents

Preserve any documents or photos you come across in your research. Store them in acid-free folders or albums to prevent damage. You can always save documents to your trees in Ancestry, My Heritage,and Family Search but I would prefer to have them handy as if you do not have an active membership with these sites (Family Search is Free and they will still be there) you will not be able to access those records. Download them into your own Family Tree Software to print out later into a book.

And here are 2 bonus tips

Consider DNA testing

DNA testing can help you learn more about your ancestry and connect with relatives you may not know about. Consider taking a DNA test to add another layer of information to your family tree. There are many sites that offer DNA testing including Ancestry, 23 and Me, My Heritage, FTDNA and more. If you take a DNA test through Ancestry or 23 and Me you can upload those results at no charge to My Heritage and FTDNA to expand the number of possible matches. FTDNA also offers Y-DNA tests for male line testing and a test for maternal lines. The more places you upload to the more answers or questions even, you will find.

Remember to keep updating

Your family tree will never be complete, as new family members are born and new information becomes available. Keep updating your family tree as you gather new information. It is a passion once you get started and you want to find more and more relatives but it is so much fun along the way.

So you want to start a family tree, here are 10 steps to get you started.

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