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How to Make a Family Tree

Updated on October 17, 2014

Make a Memorable Family Tree Using Your Genealogy Skills and Resources

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Ellis Island

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Ellis Island, United States
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Here is a way to track your migrating ancestors if they came through New York between the years of 1892-1954.

How to Search for Your Ancestors

There are many, many ways to begin searching for your ancestors. The first step towards your quest for information is to interview the oldest people in your family. Get stories, family names, dates, and traditions. Take written notes or record the interview to use as a reference and a starting point for your research.

  • Family Bible Records may be accessible and full of family history which would make for an excellent start. Ask your cousins and distant relatives to share what information and pictures they have and you share yours. Everybody wins.
  • Census Records are a great way to find your ancestors. There are several decades of census records available online. Try one or more of the links below to find census databases.
  • Social Security Death Index has almost every death listed from the 1950s to modern day. This is a free site, and gives names, dates and places of death. Be advised, however, that a female will be listed under her last name at the time of her death.
  • Ship Manifests are another set of documents which can be helpful. If you know what port and an approximate date your original immigrant ancestors came to America, you can search ship manifests to gather information such as age, companions, nationality, and professional trade of your family member.
  • Military Records are plenty online. It is not difficult to find those who served, primarily during wartime. There are tons and tons of websites that are free to use for military service research.
  • Land Grants and Purchases are public information and list names, sales, dates, and ownership of land tracts. In America, there are databases that hold this information beginning in this country’s colonial times.
  • Birth, Marriage, Divorce, and Death Records are also public records.
  • State Records, County Records, or City Records are worth researching if you have run into a “brick wall” (genealogy term for dead end) using their general genealogy websites. If you have the information regarding date and place of an incident, you can search the local websites. You may also visit the local libraries in search of information. Newspapers and other forms of journalism are accessible at the library too.
  • Cemetery Records usually fall under private websites created by the individual businesses. If you have knowledge of the internment information of an ancestor, by all means, Google the cemetery name in search of a modern website.
  • Personal Websites of people sharing information about their ancestry will occasionally appear when searching online for your family ancestry. You may find a distant cousin with whom you share a common ancestor. I have had that happen to me 4 times in my research.

Many genealogy websites charge a fee to use their databases. Some however will give you a limited amount of information for free. It is very difficult to find information on live relatives without contacting them. It is however quite easy to find family history facts on those who have passed away unless the time period is before they migrated to the United States of America.

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Set up Your Genealogy Chart

There are several types of flow charts and graphics available to make your family tree. I created a basic tree that fits on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. However, you have a wide variety of template charts to choose from online. You may be required to purchase a template if you don’t make your own.

You may include as much or as little information on your tree. Of course, you will want to include a full birth name, and date of birth and death, at a minimum. You may choose to include the places of birth, marriage, and death. Sometimes a single statement or title makes a tree interesting; especially on the ancestors who served in the military. Pictures of your ancestors (head shots are recommended) on your tree make it attractive as well.

Adoption and Genealogy

Just as DNA is hereditary in humans, basic behavior can be inherited as well. A child doesn’t have to be biologically related to a family to take on family traits, traditions, and expressions. Morals and values are taught to us by our parents and surrounding family members and friends. Environmental influences carry as much significance as do biological relationships.

Thank you for your taking the time to read my writing. Please feel free to leave a comment.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan

Written Family Tree

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Kissing Cousins?

Common Ancestor
Child
Grandchild
Great Grandchild
GG Grandchild
GGG Grandchild
GGGG Grandchild
GGGGG Grandchild
Child
Sibling
Niece or Nephew
Grand Niece or Nephew
G Grand Niece or Nephew
GG Grand Niece or Nephew
GGG Grand Niece or Nephew
GGGG Grand Niece or Nephew
Grandchild
Niece or Nephew
First Cousin
First Cousin 1x Removed
First Cousin 2X Removed
First Cousin 3X Removed
First Cousin 4X Removed
First Cousin 5X Removed
Great Grandchild
Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin 1x Removed
Second Cousin
Second Cousin 1X Removed
Second Cousin 2X Removed
Second Cousin 3X Removed
Second Cousin 4X Removed
GG Grandchild
G Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin 2X Removed
Second Cousin 1X Removed
Third Cousin
Third Cousin 1X Removed
Third Cousin 2X Removed
Third Cousin 3X Removed
GGG Grandchild
GG Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin 3X Removed
Second Cousin 2X Removed
Third Cousin 1X Removed
Fourth Cousin
Fourth Cousin 1X Removed
Fourth Cousin 2X Removed
GGGG Grandchild
GGG Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin 4X Removed
Second Cousin 3X Removed
Third Cousin 2X Removed
Fourth Cousin 1X Removed
Fifth Cousin
Fifth Cousin 1X Removed
GGGGG Grandchild
GGGG Grand Niece or Nephew
First Cousin 5X Removed
Second Cousin 4X Removed
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Fourth Cousin 2X Removed
Fifte Cousin 1X Removed
Sixth Cousin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you all for your kind words. I'm happy that this hub has encouraged you. I had a wonderful time writing it!

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 5 years ago from California

      Great links. Your hub is really helpful. It has inspired me to look further into my family history. Voted up and shared.

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      Love this hub - genealogy is a passion of mine. The list of resources is endless. I like using google books to search for ancestor names. I've found interesting stories about some of them being early American settlers and mentioned in texts that are available on google books as pdf. Voted up and SHARED!

    • jaswinder64 profile image

      jaswinder64 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada.

      Wow! Very informative article. Voted up.

    • ancestralstory profile image

      ancestralstory 5 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

      Thank you for you a great hub on American genealogical research. Very thorough!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you so much, Kelley! I'm glad it was helpful.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Wow you did a thorough job writing this hub. It is well organized and well written. Thanks for giving me some more ideas on how I can research my family history! Voted up, take care, Kelley