Monday, August 9, 2010

How Do I Start?

I hear this question often from clients, "How do I start to create my family tree?"

Invariably, the answer is always the same .. "you start with YOU". You are the first step, as you are going to have some information that will be necessary to begin. You know your parents' names, birth dates, places where they've resided, siblings, their parents info, etc. With this information, you can being to develop your family tree.

Step 1 .. write it all down. Capture it in written form so that you can come back to it and review (you will often!). I like to start with pre-defined forms, but I know others who start with an Excel spreadsheet with simple headings. Whatever you use, make it simple, readable, and easy accessible.

Step 2 .. begin to work backwards. Talk with everyone in your family; brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Ask them questions about their childhood, other family, places they lived, early family stories; pretty much everything you can think of. Write down the answers, or better yet, capture it on digital recorder that can be uploaded to a hard drive. Keep it handy, as you can use it to verify facts that you find later, or to expand your base of persons in your tree.

Step 3 .. expand your tree and facts. Keep track of the "family stories" that you've found and add it to their profile. If you write the "family history" later in life, you will utilize these facts to flesh it all out.

Once you have the family tree expanded, it's now time to start verifying the facts.

Next Blog ... finding and verifying facts.


Daniel said...

An article on, with some specifics on how to start your search.

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