Ask Genealogists: Useful Tips for Your Research

genealogy search tips

There is a lot of guesswork and uncertainty in genealogy research. Many records contain wrong information, mistakes can be made in documents transcriptions, and, of course, there’re misspellings in censuses. What’s more, in the 19th century when publishing family genealogies was a popular thing, many genealogists often relied on legends, gossip, and erroneous family stories. As you can see, there’s a lot of room for human error in genealogy research, and even seasoned genealogists make mistakes once in a while. With this in mind, we’ve asked five genealogy experts to share their genealogy search tips for beginners.

Meet Our Genealogists

Melissa Barker: Melissa is a Certified Archives Manager, professional genealogist, FGS reviews editor, lecturer, teacher, and writer. Melissa has been involved in genealogy for 30 years and runs a genealogy blog where she shares her valuable experience with other researchers. Connect with Melissa on Twitter.

Paul Chiddicks: With 15 years of experience in genealogy, Paul is a blogger with an interest in military history. He runs his own online blog and often features in online genealogy magazines. Connect with Paul on Twitter.

Natalie Pithers: Natalie is a Professional genealogist offering research services. She started her own family tree when she was 18 – that’s almost 20 years ago! She is madly deeply in love with the past and runs her own blog. Natalie is a proud member of the Guild of One-Name Studies and an enthusiastic member of Historians Collaborate. Connect with Natalie on Twitter.

Kenneth R Marks: Kenneth started his genealogy journey as an amateur researcher 18 years ago and gradually turned into obsessed ancestor hunter sharing his considerable knowledge with others. Connect with Kenneth on Twitter.

Helen Tovey: Helen is editor of Family Tree Magazine, covering all aspects of genealogy research. Helen has been involved in genealogy since she was a teenager and now she encourages people to do family history research, helping them find answers to the trickiest questions.

1. How do you think the understanding of their past can benefit people?

Melissa Barker: Understanding our past can help us understand who we are, who our ancestors were and where we came from.

Paul Chiddicks: I think it can help us understand more who we are today and more importantly where we came from.

Natalie Pithers: I think that understanding the past helps us to avoid making the same mistakes again. Be that on a large scale (wars) or on a small scale (family dynamics). Understanding the past can also help us to understand why we are the way we are now. That’s something that can be very comforting or very challenging!

Kenneth R Marks: It gives us another dimension to our lives, allowing us to understand our ancestors. More importantly, it allows us to make connections with relatives that many times we didn’t know we had.

Helen Tovey: I think it can give people a much stronger foundation to their sense of self – it gives people a richer sense of their roots, the stories, lives, adventures, and tribulations of all sorts of ancestors, not just those of their immediate nuclear family – giving us a long view of history, of the ups and downs, of the opportunities and inspiring perseverance of those who came before.

2. Why did you start genealogy research? Is it your profession or hobby? What made you want to become a genealogist?

Melissa Barker: I started genealogy research because I was curious about my ancestors. At first, it was just a hobby then I decided to turn my avid hobby into a profession and became a professional genealogist. Then I went back to school and became an archivist.

Paul Chiddicks: I class myself as “an enthusiastic amateur”, I am not a professional. Sadly for me, my Dad died when I was just 3 years old, which left a big gap in my life, once I was old enough to ask questions about my Dad and my Family, I just never stopped asking questions.

Kenneth R Marks: Just as a hobby. I started because I was curious. Then I really got into it.

Natalie Pithers: My Mum inspired my love for genealogy. She’d tried to trace our tree, before the days of the internet. I was fascinated by her findings. I continued the research into our tree – and over the years I did the trees of several friends. I wanted to become a genealogist because I love so many aspects of the role. I love the challenge of research, logical thinking and problem-solving. Yet I also love the creativity of writing up the findings, imagining life in the past.

Helen Tovey: I’m not a professional genealogist but I’m lucky enough to have a job in the world of family history – something I’m hugely grateful for.

3. What path led you to transform your interest in genealogical research from a hobby to a career?

Melissa Barker: The reason I became a professional genealogist and made it my career is because I love helping others find their roots. I had so much fun finding my own roots that I wanted to help others do the same.

Paul Chiddicks: I currently only carry out my own research or unpaid work for friends, maybe one day I will take it to the next level. At the moment writing and blogging about my Family is taking up most of my time.

Kenneth R Marks: I wanted to help newer researchers with genealogy search tools and tips that I had discovered that would help others with their research.

Natalie Pithers: I had children! I’d had a full-time career as a contractor in Project Management. I really enjoyed it but I wanted something I could flex around the kids. Genealogy was perfect. I was genuinely passionate about it, found it stretched my brain and many of my project management skills helped with the organisation side (both in terms of running a business and in terms of managing the actual research).

genealogy advice

4. Did you just start by asking your family members? Did you start doing any research in libraries?

Melissa Barker: Both! I started by asking as many family members about what they knew and I found out that was much information. So, I turned to libraries, archives, courthouses and anywhere I could find records.

Paul Chiddicks: Asking family members first, record offices came after once I had established the key facts.

Kenneth R Marks: I started by asking my relatives and by performing online searches. Very little has been done in libraries.

Natalie Pithers: My Mum had already completed questionnaires with her side of the family. I started on my Dad’s side by quizzing my grandparents. I did go to the libraries – to access the Birth, Marriage and Death indexes.

5. What is one mistake you often see non-professionals make in their family history research, and how might they correct/avoid it?

Melissa Barker: The one mistake I see non-professionals make is believing everything is online. Being a seasoned genealogist and especially an archivist, I know that the majority of genealogical records are still sitting on shelves in boxes at libraries, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies and other records repositories just waiting to be discovered.

Paul Chiddicks: I write a regular blog for Family Tree Magazine here in the UK and one of my recent blogs was ‘The Top 10 Sins of a Genealogist’. Every single one of these sins/mistakes comes from my own experiences.

Kenneth R Marks: They don’t interview their oldest living relatives immediately.

Natalie Pithers: Not recording sources or conclusions. They think they’ll remember, but it’s amazing how quickly you forget where something was from – or why you concluded a piece of evidence was relevant (or irrelevant).

6. Are there any mistakes you’ve made that you regret about?

Melissa Barker: Yes! I wish I had taken better care to cite my sources for the information I gathered early on when I started doing genealogy research. I have records now that I have no idea where I got them.

Paul Chiddicks: All of them.

Kenneth R Marks: Yes, that I didn’t start 20 years earlier and interviewed my grandmother, who was brilliant and would have known everything about my family.

Natalie Pithers: I recorded sources but not exact citations. So, in the early days, I’d put that I’d discovered a fact in the 1901 census but have no further detail. It meant re-finding documents was difficult.

Helen Tovey: I regret not making recordings of both my grandmothers’ voices. I interviewed them, but just wrote down their quotes, and I’d love to have recorded the sound of their voices too. I also regret that when I started out when I came across something ‘untoward’ that I would often just tell other family members what I’d found. I’ve learnt with time, to be more diplomatic and cautious about what to say and how to say it.

7. What are some of the challenges you typically face while doing research?

Melissa Barker: The challenges I face are not having enough time to work on my own research. Being a professional genealogist, I work more with others’ researches than I do on my own research.

Paul Chiddicks: Time, I still work full time and have a grown-up family, so spare time for Family History is hard to come by.

Kenneth R Marks: None really. There are challenges everywhere in life. Goes with the territory.

Natalie Pithers: Gaps in records and my surname (Pithers) being mistranscribed or misspelled in original records. I have a very long list of all the variants I’ve found!

8. We all reach deadlocks sometimes. Is there anything that stimulates you to keep going?

Melissa Barker: Maybe it’s because I am an archivist working in archives every day but what keeps me going is knowing that records are being found in attics, basements and old buildings all the time and being donated to archives. Families are donating records after their loved ones have passed on a daily basis to archives which contain one-of-a-kind documents and information that has never been known before. This is what keeps me going.

Paul Chiddicks: I think all Genealogists have that ‘never say die’ or ‘never give in’ persona about them, it’s that tenacity that makes us good Genealogist’s.

Kenneth R Marks: Just the desire to find out as much as possible about my ancestors’ life stories.

Natalie Pithers: That burning desire to know the truth. To discover someone and remember them.

9. What are the benefits of hiring a genealogist over trying to research something on your own? At what point do you think a novice should bring in the professionals?

Melissa Barker: The benefit of hiring a professional genealogist is their expertise in their particular area. My area is Tennessee research and if you don’t know much about researching in Tennessee, a professional can be a huge benefit. A novice should bring in the professionals when they feel like they have done all they can do.

Paul Chiddicks: Again I have written a blog on this very topic, the link is here.

Natalie Pithers: Tracing your family tree is time-consuming and there’s so much to learn. Even experts continue to learn all the time. It’s not all fun either. Much as I love it, there is also a lot of data entry. Recording sources, proof statements, workings, research logs, etc.

If you are interested in discovering your ancestors, don’t wait until you ‘have the time’. Life’s too short and you never know what’s going to happen. If you don’t have time, hire a professional.

There’s also so much more that can be discovered in local archives. If you’ve done some online research consider hiring a professional that can visit the archives that are too far away from home.

10. What’s been your best genealogy discovery so far?

Melissa Barker: My best genealogy discovery so far is my 8th great grandfather provided wheat to George Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War.

Paul Chiddicks: This is a very personal and emotional story that I have shared here.

Kenneth R Marks: The discovery of a family still living in Germany that I communicate with regularly, and other “cousins” that I have met. Also, the discovery that several of my ancestors were murdered in the Holocaust.

Natalie Pithers: My Nan claimed that we had French ‘blue blood’. I discovered that my 4 x Great-Grandfather was the illegitimate son of a Reverend. That Reverend was the son of a Baron, and that family line was of French descent. With some suggestions, they may be descended from the Plantagenet line. Richard III was my favourite Shakespeare play so I was very pleased with this discovery.

Helen Tovey: My best discovery so far has been recently finding a living relative at RootsTech. I always love making connections online via my online trees, but it’s so much more special to meet them in person. I don’t have a single discovery in my research that stands out, but I do really enjoy digging deeper into my ancestors’ lives and making sense of them – understanding why they might have made the decisions they did, the difficulties they had to face, and what it was that made them who they are.

11. What’s your source of inspiration?

Melissa Barker: My source of inspiration is my ancestors. Knowing each one of them has a story to tell inspires me to keep digging.

Paul Chiddicks: Fellow Genealogists inspire me every single day, with their individual stories and their generosity and kindness in helping others

Kenneth R Marks: Just the motivation to complete as best as possible my ancestors’ life stories

Natalie Pithers: Everything I do, I wonder – how was this done in the past? What did it feel like? What did my ancestors think about it? Even simple things like making breakfast. I’ll wonder, what did they eat? That curiosity seems to be insatiable and drives me forward to discover as much as I can about our ancestors.

Helen Tovey: The thought of leaving my kids a rich and inspiring record of their ancestors, that helps me to keep organized, and try to gather as many photos and memories as possible. I also love online learning resources – from the digitized records to podcasts and webinars.

12. What advice would you give someone who wants to start their family history research and what tools would you suggest they use?

Melissa Barker: My advice to anyone starting their family history research is to start with yourself. Tell your story first and then move to your parents, grandparents, etc. The tools I would suggest that new genealogists use are a good computer genealogy database to keep up with all the information you gather, take good notes and use those archives records that are not online.

Paul Chiddicks: Ask questions of your elderly Ancestors before it’s too late. I use Family Tree Maker, but whatever you choose treat yourself to some software. Consider taking a DNA test.

Kenneth R Marks: Don’t get hung up on dates as the be-all, end-all to research. Verify that you have the correct individuals in your tree but use newspaper research to discover the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

Natalie Pithers: I’d suggest they ask their family for as much information as possible. That they get a really good ‘how to’ book or do a course. And that they use an offline tree provider, like RootsMagic or Legacy rather than just building on Ancestry. Avoid the hint system until you are confident you are building up your own chain of evidence. Secondly, don’t rely on just one website.

13. Where do you recommend people who are new to genealogy start out? What do you consider “Step 1” in family history research?

Paul Chiddicks: Join a local family history society in the area that your family lived. Also, join as many family history online forums as you can both these are packed full of all sorts of experience and expertise to guide you through the early stages of your research. Most important of all, have fun!!

Kenneth R Marks: Interview your oldest relatives.

Natalie Pithers: Start by ordering the birth and marriage certificates of your oldest known relatives. Then use FreeCEN and FamilySearch to begin looking at census documents. Learn to cross-reference the details between Births, Marriages, Deaths and Census before branching out into more records.

Helen Tovey: This advice is never going to go out of date – do start with yourself, then your parents, and grandparents, working backwards. Make the most of the opportunities to record and share family stories, photos, and memorabilia. These are the close bonds that help us to feel connected – and that feels to me like what’s at the heart of treasuring our roots.

Family History on a Budget: How to Save Money on Research

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Due to the increasing number of online databases and websites with historical records, it feels like genealogy research has never been easier. However, many of the resources can’t be accessed without a paid subscription, resulting in a steep fare for just a hobby.

Though such resources are convenient (and if you can afford them they will be of great help), the truth is that they are not a necessity in many cases. Let’s see if it’s possible to find out about your ancestry without spending a cent.

How to Reduce the Cost of Genealogy Research

Genealogy research is an expensive hobby and you are unlikely to find your ancestors absolutely for free. The good news is that there are still some ways to save money on your family history research. Free Genealogy Records If you divide all costs that genealogists bear to carry out ancestry research into categories, you will see that the largest share of money is spent on record subscriptions. Although such giants like MyHeritage and Ancestry are very convenient to use and provide large amounts of data, many of the records provided on such resources may be found elsewhere for free.

There are countless online public and government archives that provide census records, pedigree books, birth, death, military and other records free of charge. Also, you can find there old newspapers and city directories there. We’ve already provided a list of totally free genealogy websites, don’t neglect to check it out.

If the record is held behind a paywall and can’t be accessed online for free, you can go to your local library or a history center – quite often they offer access to genealogy subscriptions.

Another option is to use a free trial of the website you’re interested in. Typically, paid websites provide 14 days free and you can use those two weeks to your fullest advantage.

Record and Photo Scanners

This type of costs is unfortunately unavoidable. Eventually, you will find yourself in need of a scanner. Whether it’s a record from an archive or your granddad’s photo, you will need a photocopying device you can use anywhere at any time.

You will need a photo scanning app. No phone can handle the task properly. Sure, you can apply some edits after photographing but it will take way more time and is not nearly as convenient.

There’s a wide choice of mobile apps, so try several options to find the one that suits you.

find your ancestors for free

DNA Testing

One of the frequently asked questions among researchers is: “How much does it cost to get a genealogy test done?” A lot.

This is one more major cost that many genealogists face is DNA testing. It can tell us a lot about our heritage however such tests are not free. Nevertheless, over the last couple of years, DNA tests have become more affordable. Moreover, there are many free options to further expand your family history research after you’ve undergone the test.

Another option is to wait for discounts. Choose the type of test that you want to take and check announcements about a price drop. Quite often, companies offer discounts for attendees at conferences on genealogy research.

Make a Wish List

This will not help you economize, however, you won’t have to spend your own money on some things. We’ve published a gift guide for genealogy researchers, so you can check it out for ideas. It’s a win-win situation, in fact, since you get a useful thing that you don’t have to waste money on, and your presenter doesn’t have to rack their brains trying to think of a present for you.

We’re all working with a limited amount of money. Although it’s impossible to do quality genealogy research without spending a cent, you don’t have to spend a fortune on it as well. These tips will help you cut off all unnecessary expenditures and spend only on the things that may really make a difference for your genealogy research.

5 Tips for Adoption-Related Research

The search for birth-parents is an emotional yet complicated process because the information may be confidential and it may take a long time and effort to find what you’re looking for. Luckily, with technological advances and digitalization of records and databases, the searching process has become easier than ever before. Here are some tips to tracing family roots and finding your birth parents.

Continue reading “5 Tips for Adoption-Related Research”

7 Effective Tips on How to Make a Family Tree

family tree design

Updated on June 3, 2020

Your family history research is always based on an effective organization. Just like with anything else in life, setting the right expectations and organizing processes goes a long way in achieving your goals.

In this article, we will give you 7 crucial tips to successfully conduct genealogical research. 7 is an odd number, but we didn’t want to push the list just to reach the sacred number 10. We kept it simple and concise.

What Is a Family Tree?

A family tree is a visual representation of your lineage that traces relationships to your ancestors. It is visually similar to an organizational chart and is usually represented in a tree structure starting with the oldest known ancestor as the root. From the root, the tree branches terminate in boxes representing leaves. Each leaf represents a family member with information about them, such as birth, marriage, and death dates.

How to create a family tree

Why Create a Family Tree?

The practice of genealogy, researching one’s ancestors, has exploded lately. Many, if not most, families in the United States have at least one family member actively researching their family history, not to mention professional genealogists who do genealogy as a job.

There are many reasons of why people start genealogy researches:

  • To feel a connection to your family.
  • To trace genetics and family health concerns.
  • To learn about family history in relation to historical events.
  • To involve children so they will want to learn about ancestors and preserve family stories.
  • To find out if they are related to someone famous.
  • To determine genealogical proof of a family connection for potential heirs.
  • To settle questions of land ownership by providing proof of descent.
  • To preserve the knowledge of ancestors who contributed to family traditions, such as a family recipe book.

Last but not least, it can be fun!

How to Design a Family Tree

1. Define Your Family Size

The time you will have to spend on a family tree design will largely depend on the size of your family. People often underestimate their family size since they forget to take their extended family into consideration. Besides brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts we also have distant relatives that we shouldn’t forget about.

With more in-depth research, it is possible to trace your family history back to about 150 years, which is about 5 generations. Basically, this will be the scope of your family tree. So, how to calculate the approximate amount of family members in a tree of five generations?

A typical family tree will include 2 parents, 4 grandparents, and 8 great-grandparents. If you keep counting backward you will discover you have 32 great-great-great-grandparents. Considering that probably your ancestors had brothers and sisters, this number multiplies. Could you imagine your family tree is that big?

2. Decide on Who to Include in Your Family Tree Layout

Logically, with such a big number of family members there comes another question: “How to cope with all the data?” Be selective in your research. You can take only one branch of your tree or you can go sideways and record all family members who are still alive today. The approach will depend on your family structure and the resources you have at your disposal. The more records about your ancestors there are, the easier it will be to track your family roots.

You can start tracing your family tree horizontally and vertically at the same time. Just choose what branches of your tree you want to do first. The easiest way is, to begin with, the branches where it is faster to get the data you need.

How to make a family tree

3. Older Records Require More Effort

As a rule, the older the documents you are looking for are, the more time, skill, and resources it takes to collect the information.

Learning about your distant ancestors can seem an exciting journey. However, the amount of effort it takes to obtain information about just one person can equal the amount of effort it takes to collect data about several living relatives. Sit tight – in the beginning, it may be frustrating but after you gain some experience it will come off easily.

4. There Might Be Someone Talking About Your Ancestors

Searching for old records can be difficult. Provided that typewriters didn’t become common until the mid-1880s so most government records before this time were handwritten, and quite often not standardized. Searching for such information is time-consuming and expensive.

Check out if someone has already done the research for you. There might be families who had already published their family trees in a book format. There might be some local history books describing families that live in your area. In the age of the internet, it becomes much easier to find someone mentioning your family.

Society of Genealogists is one of the most popular websites that contain published and unpublished family histories notes. However, be careful with copying data as it might not be verified. Make sure every piece of information you copy is backed by a source document.

5. Question All Sources

There are many sources nowadays that provide family trees created by other people. However, some of them may be questionable. Don’t assume that everyone is diligent when conducting research. Someone can be just making educated guesses.

Doing research may be tiring and you may want to cut corners but this is not a rational approach. It may not be obvious when someone makes guesses, so you need to verify all the facts you find on the internet.

How to do a family tree

6. Use Treemily to Create Your Family Tree

Our family tree builder will help you visualize your family history and share your ancestors’ stories with your loved ones. You can choose various templates and play with colors to make your tree look the way you see it.

The truest form of art is the one that touches your heart. So creating an artistic interpretation of your history through a family tree is a great way to feel connected to something much bigger than yourself.

7. Learn to Enjoy the Process

There is always more to discover. To be successful in your genealogical research you need to treat it like a lifetime hobby. In some way, a family tree cannot be really finished because it is a living reflection of your family and your family is constantly changing. There might be moments when you will feel tired and ready to give up. Just put down your research for some time.

Though don’t neglect to make notes of your previous discoveries. None of us has a perfect memory, so some facts may be lost if you don’t document them. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the work you have previously done.

Successful genealogists are those who go slow and don’t expect to find all information at once and conveniently packaged. By following these tips you can avoid some of the common mistakes people make while creating their family trees.

2020 Genealogy Research Guide

roots family history

Updated on June 3, 2020

Conducting a family history research can be an exciting journey, though difficult. Anyone who has ever dug into their family history knows how time-consuming (and even frustrating) the process can be. The do-it-yourself approach to learning your ancestry may lead you down a series of blind alleys. We compiled advice to help you do your ancestry search – just keep reading and you will learn how to do the research like a pro!

Tips on the Correct Way to Research Family History

Make a Plan

To succeed in genealogy research, you need to have a clear plan of action. It is better to start off with smaller goals that can be changed over time rather than going at full speed and hit a brick wall. Spend time collecting information and documenting your family in small pieces as you work towards the larger goal of filling out your family tree.

Family history research

1. Set an objective. Focus on a particular story about an ancestor or a family you are interested in most of all. Aim to uncover any data relating to them.

2. List known facts. Make some notes during your search. This will help you organize information and rest assured you don’t miss anything important.

3. Identify sources. Once you have established your hypothesis, list all the data that can be potentially useful based on what you have learned during step 2.

4. Make a working hypothesis. Combine all the facts you have discovered about the ancestor in a single story. For example:

James Evans was born in London, the UK. In 1903, he got married to Emme Wilson and had two children, Megan and Harry. His first wife died in 1028. After a while, he married Laura Johnson and they moved to America. While in Denver, their daughter Emily was born. James and Laura both died in Denver. James’ children from first wife, Megan and Harry, settled in Florida. Emily moved to Canada.

5. Start your online family tree. Start building an online family tree to organize your results. As you continue to find new details it is important to store your research data. Enter important information in your family tree builder, including names, dates, and places to build a solid foundation as you continue exploring your ancestry.

Note: Remember to re-evaluate your goals sometimes. If you have hit an inevitable brick wall, don’t stare at it but rather take a step back and think. In this case, it is better to switch focus to nearby relatives.

How to research family history

Mom-And-Pop Investigation

Every journey starts at home. Start the research about your ancestors by having a conversation with your relatives. This will help you learn about your ancestors more closely.

Your older relatives are living libraries and can save you so much time and effort. Even if you have heard your family stories and legends for many times already, taking time to interview your relatives and asking specific questions can help reveal new details. Quiz them about your grandparents and, if possible, beyond. Ask them to identify people and places in old photos and don’t forget to learn all basic information like ethnic background, occupations, addresses, military service, where relatives are buried, and other important clues.

Treasure Hunt at Home

At this stage, you can start searching for records, personal correspondence, and old photos somewhere in the attic, basement or drawers. Documents with dates are especially helpful. Some clues may be hiding in plain view at home – just keep your eyes open.

You may involve your relatives in the process of discovering your roots. Explain what you are doing and why guide each other. This can save you a great deal of research time.

Research at Archives

Archives are the number one place to go if you want to learn about your past. However, before visiting an archive or record office for family history research you need to discover what you really need to know and the types of records that may hold that information.

Some archival material may not be cataloged beyond the title and asking information on a specific ancestor may be unfruitful. Contact the archive to find out of they are likely to hold the material you need or any other relevant material.

How to research your family history

Go Online

Use the information you have collected to search online. There are websites that collect genealogy records and resources from around the world. They provide various books, online records, and publications to ease your mission. Look for local history centers or go to a library – there you can get access to various online databases, like immigration and emigration books, border crossings and passports information, citizenship and naturalization records, and many others.

If you don’t know where to look for records and other data, you may want to check out our list of best genealogy websites. There, we have collected the richest and the most reputable online databases where you could find information about your ancestors.

Get a DNA Test

A DNA test can help you determine deep ancestry and lead you to people and places you would never find simply by doing some paperwork. DNA tests are immensely popular today, both among seasoned and novice researchers. However, there are some things to consider.

Genetic testing is an extremely powerful tool, but you need a clear understanding of what to expect and how to use the results. Don’t expect that a genetic test will help you avoid routine paperwork. DNA tests are definitely worthwhile but be prepared that you will still have to conduct traditional documentary research.

Don’t Neglect Social Media

Through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can connect with people with the same ancestral surnames and look for organizations, archives and libraries, and other services in your ancestor’s birthplace. Besides that, you can find people who live in your ancestor’s hometown and contact them to ask some questions.

Besides that, you can join various networks of family historians and make new connections to gain insight into how to expand your family history resources.

Genealogy research

What’s Been Done Before?

It is worth checking if anyone else had been doing genealogy research into your family before. There are social networks where people can register their research interests and this can be a way of finding information. The Society of Genealogists library maintains published and unpublished family histories notes. However, you should never copy information from someone’s online tree without proper verification. Instead, use this data as a helper only. Take the time to make sure every piece of information is backed by a source document.

Get Organized and Keep Going

The first weeks of your journey might be tedious since it is not that easy to collect facts about relatives. Plus the amounts of data you have gathered may be difficult to process and systematize. To organize everything you have discovered, choose an online genealogical database to help you keep the data.

Beginning genealogists often wonder how long it will take to finish research. The truth is that genealogy is a never-ending challenge, since the farther back you go, the more ancestors you are likely to discover. However, there is something enticing about genealogy – though you never know where your family roots will lead you, the search can be both intriguing and enlightening.