Tracing Family Ancestry – Getting Started

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Tracing family ancestry is a unique experience. You never know what surprises are awaiting for you while rediscovering your family heritage, however, you are recommended not to get started with high expectations. You may discover that your great-great-great-grandfather has played an important role in a decisive battle for instance but you may not find anything extraordinary. Keep in mind that tracing family history is not just about looking for famous ancestors just like history was not made by a few prominent individuals alone.

Tracing family ancestry is fun but it is often also time consuming. How much time you will need to rediscover your family heritage depends on several factors but above all, on the way you start your research. You are therefore recommended not to take it too lightly and follow the 5 tips below.

Tip #1. Go through your family records.

We are of course talking about your family photographs, postcards, letters and similar records as well as physical records such as medals, awards, etc. Make a rough draft of your family tree and write down as much information as possible. That way you will determine what you actually know about your family and prepare yourself for the following tip.

Tip #2. Talk to your parents and other family members.

Most families have boxes full of black-and-white photographs many of which include valuable information about the people in the photos but there are usually also many photographs which are familiar only to a few members of the family. Set such photographs and other family records aside and talk to your parents and other family members about them. It is a good idea to mark the photographs and write down as much information as possible. That way you help save an important part of your family history for the future generations.

Tip #3. Visit your elder relatives.

When starting to trace family ancestry, many people regret that they did not record their family history on time. Most grandparents, aunts and uncles have plenty of interesting stories to tell but if no one writes them down, they eventually become forgotten and an important part of family history may be lost forever. You are therefore recommended to visit your elderly relatives and record their stories including those you hear for the x-time. The generations to come will appreciate if you write them down.

Tip #4. Compare the information you have gathered.

There is a great chance that you will find some inconsistencies in the stories your relatives have told you about a particular event and particular people. Compare the information you have gathered and try to determine which story is more plausible. However, do not rule out any version just yet. Further research may reveal that the most incredible is the most accurate version.

Tip #5. Organise the gathered information and make a plan for further research.

Now that you have gathered some information about your family history, you are recommended to organise the gathered information because they are the basis for further research of your family ancestry. But instead of getting strait to work, you should make a plan how you intend to trace your ancestors. It will take you only a few minutes to determine where to look for particular information and save you days and possibly even weeks you would waste getting started ill prepared.