Community blog post
I have recently been thinking a lot about the time I started my family history research, the mistakes I made, and the things I wish I had known then.
I made A LOT of mistakes and, 11 years on, I am still learning but I can certainly share my view on the first 5 steps to start your family tree.
Step 1 – Write down everything you know.
Start with yourself at the centre then add your parents and siblings, then your grandparents. You may find it helpful to create a tree.
At this point you don’t have to go into too much detail but it’s good to write any additional information down because you may need it later.
Step 2 – Talk to family members
This should be something we all do, even if you don’t want to start bidding your family tree. The older generations have stories to tell, Stories that will get forgotten if they don’t get told.
But, I am not saying only talk to older generations younger family members may have heard different stories, they may have heard snippets of stories as children. Every family story can have a use in family research.
The story of my husbands’ great grandmother is testament to this. Descendants were all told She went ‘doolally! However, the truth of this can’t be proven. She disappeared sometime around 1894 and I haven’t been able to locate her anywhere. The last reference to her is related to her giving evidence at her husband’s trial for bigamy. She vanished, and he lived out the rest of his life with his third wife.
Step 3 – Organise your research so far
After following the first few steps you will probably have more than you know what to do with and despite genealogy being about more than names and dates, these are the easiest bits to record.
Find yourself some family tree building software, Ancestry and Find My Past offer a free family tree builder with their free trials but there’s also a lot more dotted around the internet. You may prefer a programme you can run on your computer. There aren’t many free ones but I’m sure you can find a decent one that’s paid for. (I’ll be writing a post on this soon).
Also, store transcripts of stories on your computer and on paper. Remember