ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Geneology 101: Tracing Your Family Roots

Updated on October 21, 2012

Starting a Geneology Search

Have you ever wondered where your family heritage began? You may have heard bits and pieces about your family at weddings, funerals, and family reunions, which peaked your curiosity about filling in the blanks. You have decided to find out more about your ancestry, but you do not know where to begin. Getting started with a geneology search is easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Keeping Good Records

Before you jump into your search, you should have a method of maintaining the information you find. There are several ways to do this. You can keep a notebook for each family line (your family line, your spouse's family line, each of your parent's family lines, etc.) You could also make folders for each family line where you put your notes, any documents, and pictures that you collect. You might decide that you want to keep it all together in one folder and sort it out later. There is no right or wrong way as long as you are able to keep track of all the data you find.

Information at Your Fingertips

Believe it or not, your search begins at home with knowledge you already have. Begin by identifying your immediate family, such as parents, siblings, spouse's parents and siblings, sons and daughters, and nieces and nephews. These are the family members that are going to initially produce the most information. Write down their birth dates and places, baptisms, social security numbers, places where they have lived, major illnesses, and deaths. These answers are usually very easy to discover because you have been or are directly involved in their lives.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Example of a family photograph
Example of a family photograph | Source

Memories of Older Generations

Once you have written down all the information you have in your memory, it is time to start asking questions about the next generation. Your parents can give you information about their parents and siblings. Your living grandparents can give you information about their parents and siblings. They may have newspaper articles, old pictures with ancestors that you have never met, birthday cards, address books, and many more items that can provide you with a wealth of information. Make copies of any written documents and pictures that you find as these are important when verifying the data you have collected. Keep thorough records of every piece of ancestry that you discover, so you will not have to redo work you have already done.

Family Tree

Family Tree Template
Family Tree Template | Source

Compiling Your Discoveries

Now that you have completed the first step in your search, it is time to organize your data. There are several ways to do this. You can join a website, such as, and type in the information about each family member. These sites often alert you to extra information about a specific family member or written documentation available for verification ( census records, birth records, social security death index records, etc.). Another method is using ancestry forms to put your data in a written format. There is no right or wrong method. It is just important that you put all the facts in a neat and organized manner that will assist you with future searches. Once you have completed this step (which will take more time than you expect), you will be ready take the next step in your geneology journey.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • shiningmoments66 profile imageAUTHOR

      Debra Pelletier 

      6 years ago from Norman, OK, 73071

      Thank you for the feedback. This is my first hub, so your comments are greatly appreciated. I have been working on my own ancestry for a few years now. It never ceases to amaze me what kinds of information is out there waiting to be discovered.

    • whonunuwho profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Nice hub. My wife does this and has compiled quite an interesting log of both sides of our families. Many surprises along the way, too, thanks.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      6 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      As knowledgeable as I think I am about family history work, I have learned the proper way to do it here. I start with my history and work backwards. I would only ask names and dates. Now I am empowered to ask for stories and memories also. is a goo site where I can put all of this information. It has a format which allows for stories and other history.

      VOted up for its concise manner and informative nature. The information was easy to read and succinct. Shared


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)