Where to Start your Tree?
So you want to start preserving your family history and don’t know where to start?
In this, you are not alone. Many people are turning to genealogy to research their lineage and find stories hidden among the records. The journey into the past is like traveling to a foreign country with a new language to learn and new sites to explore, and it is usually a lifelong journey.
I got started in researching my family tree when I was handed a family pedigree chart, handwritten by someone in my family. It traced my heritage on my maternal and paternal ancestry back to my great, great, grandparents. I was hooked from this point onward, and I spent considerable hours getting to know about the world-class tools I would need to continue the research and fill out my tree.
I needed to learn the ‘language’ of genealogy and found these glossaries useful: Family Search Wiki glossary My Heritage Glossary If you decide to take out a subscription to Ancestry you’ll find they have a comprehensive glossary too.
If you prefer all your learning to be collated into one space, you may prefer to subscribe to FindMyPast. Their comprehensive stash of blog articles containing video tutorials on ‘Getting Started‘ is a valuable world-class tool that will help you. They are easy-to-follow beginner guides and introductions to tracing your ancestry.
I am often asked, how to get started in tracing my heritage. Here are a few simple strategies to help you prepare for your journey into creating your family tree.
- Start with what you know. Write down the names of your parents and grandparents (if you know them) or consult with your siblings or other family members. Find out what they know. You may find that others in your family have started recording the family ancestry and are willing to share. If you are really lucky, they may share an online tree with you to save you time.
- Explore one or two of the popular online family trees, such as these world-class tools: Ancestry or FindMyPast, or MyHeritage or Family Search. (Note: if your family has British roots use FMP or MyHeritage; if your family is based in the United States, use Ancestry or Family Search.) Find out if there is already a family tree of your ancestors created there by someone else in your family. Make contact with them for the purpose of sharing the work.
- Construct your own family pedigree chart using a template. For instance, this beginner’s guide with a downloadable family tree template from FMP, is an ideal place to start.
- Create your own family tree using one of the online resources starting with yourself and building the ancestral lines backward in time to your great, greats. Use your pedigree chart as your starting point; keep it beside you as you create your online tree. If someone in your family has shared a GEDCOM file with you, simply upload that into your online tree to automatically grow the tree. Note: a GEDCOM file (short for GEnealogical Data COMmunications) can be created by someone who owns an online tree.
Here are some helpful videos to show you how to create your family tree on Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and Family Search!
If you need more help in getting started with organizing your Family History Research, you may wish to enroll in this self-study course from my Academy; How to Organise your Genealogy Research. Discount Coupon Code = Coach2021. There are 9 of these remaining, which will give you 30% off the $47 price. A total cost of just $32.90; and you have access to the course for as long as you wish.
This course features my recommended strategies for organizing your genealogy research and easy steps to managing your ancestral records. This course includes practical chapters organized sequentially, and available at any time for your convenience.
If you need some advice or a tutorial with me then let me know by booking a session with me in my Pensight tool.
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