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Genealogy-How to Find your Family History

Updated on May 6, 2011

Have you ever thought about searching for your family and, because you didn't know where to start, you didn't? Well, the advent of computer technology has made it a lot easier and I hope to make that even easier.

Where to start

First, you need to write down everything you know about each and every family member that you know of.

Now, make a list of the names you know. Leave spaces to put in more details as you learn more about each member. Add their Christian and surname. Enter the dates of birth, christening, marriage, and death including the places of those occasions.

Add a note section below for notes: Here is where you include any information at all, like birthday parties, anniversaries the more you know the more chance you will have of finding them. Locations of events are very important.

Once you have listed all your family members, ask each individual member if they know any other details that you haven't put on your list, or may have forgotten over the years. Some important things are often forgotten until someone jogs our memory. Now that you have this ask them all about what their lives were like when they were growing up.

Naming Photo's

Remember to write the names of people in photo's on back of photo, try and include dates and places. Years later it will be so much easier for people to match family members to the right families then. There is nothing worse than looking for family when you have the wrong connection.

Keeping Records & Programs-There are many ways of keeping records on paper or computer. Two of these are; a pedigree chart or a family group sheet. If you have a computer and it is connected to the Internet you can download many free programs especially designed for entering family information into your computer.

These programs allow you to enter all your details and match up families at the touch of a button. You can print out reports on certain family lines, descendant charts, group records, Pedigree charts etc. Various programs enter data differently. You can insert photos; include copies of marriage, birth and death certificates and add special notes to go with each family member.

The Pedigree charts are used to document all information of your family (parents, grandparents, and great grandparents etc). These charts are needed to record all proven or unproven records. Make sure you write down all the notes as to where information came from, as if you need to clarify something you know where to go. These records make it clearer to see who came from where and when at a glance.

I can't stress enough how important it is before adding family members that you need to get proof, such as birth certificates or marriage records etc. Don't accept people's word without proof as this may lead you to a completely different family line that is not connected to you at all, and could put you back months in your search. Evaluate all the information, does it conflict with other records you have?

Family history centres-Your local Family History Centres are an excellent place to start searching for records. Most of them have records for other countries stored on cd disks, fiche or film. A lot of these centres can order copies of certificates and other records for a fee. You can also check out family on the census records.

There are several mailing lists. To find them, type Mailing Lists into the search bar on Google or your home page and press enter. It's amazing how much you can find by doing this. Whenever accessing mailing lists or searching the web you must, "make sure that your virus checker is updated regularly."

How to use the Family History Libraries


When tracing your family history, it is a good idea the have a list of names and dates and any other information on who you are researching. That way, when you front up at your local Family historical society you know what you are searching.

Tell the assistant exactly what you require; they are more qualified to help you find which area, file, etc to look through. They can also explain the use of microfiche screens, using them is an essential part of searching and finding the records you need.

There are newspapers, rare books, and all types of information to help in your search.

Most family historical societies have computers, be there early to avoid disappointment as many use them for researching. They have many cd's for different countries. These hold records of census, deceased estate, electoral rolls, court records, land details, monuments and memorials to name a few. They offer printouts and copies of the records you need. If you find the person, you can order birth or death, related Certificates. There is a charge for this.

There is also The Family Search Library online. This is a good place to search. You need to fill in the details know to you and hit enter. It will then give you various matches with that name.

Most of the online web pages offer a variety of services and help in their archives.

Genealogy - google search bar

Click on the link below for Legacy Software


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    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Family tree, yes although you need to verify all data before adding anyone to your family tree. Often all leads look like they are a family member, then after months you find you are on a strangers family line. Verify with birth death and marriage certificates. Before adding them

      This will prevent months of heartache.

    • profile image

      Family Tree 7 years ago

      I am also working on my family tree. I have named many people by searching into various records like public, marriage, land and death records. My experience says you need to communicate a lot with the people in your family list and also try to catch up with the neighbors. This is also a great way to know about the family history and the people in the history.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      callmesplash, Yes its amazing hoiw many people spend years doing research.

    • profile image

      callmesplash7 7 years ago

      Great Hub A Lot of people look for this info!

    • highway star profile image

      highway star 8 years ago from Mostly Seattle, Amsterdam and Milan

      Nice Hub!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      lidian, yes I know the same feeling. I just wish we had found their rellies before they died. The internet makes searching so much easier.

    • Lidian profile image

      Lidian 9 years ago

      Great advice! I agree, do ask those questions of older relatives now...I wish I had asked my mother and grandmother so much more.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Gaget girl, Do not make the mistake of leaving it until too late,

    • Gaget Girl profile image

      Gaget Girl 9 years ago from UK

      Very interesting... I have a lot of family that I've never met and would love to get in contact