Before you Begin your Research
Before you begin your research, you need to decide what your aim
is. You need to develop a plan, and a way to research your ancestors.
Think about which lines you want to follow - you have two parents,
four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great
grandparents, etc. Whilst some of
you may want to trace as many as you possibly can, through both
paternal and maternal lines, it is usually best to trace the paternal
line, as due to the status of women as you get further back in time,
it becomes difficult to trace them.
There are three common ways to approach your research:
- Aim to create a family tree showing the male-line ancestors
(father, grandfather, etc), including the wives, siblings and
children of these ancestors.
- Aim to create an extended family tree, which shows all descendants
of the earliest known male ancestor - you could end up discovering
a distant cousin or two.
- Aim to create an Ancestry Chart , which shows as many ancestors
as possible, through both paternal and maternal lines. It is usually
useful to note down any siblings or other relative of your ancestorsm
as these could later solve identification problems.
Whatever you decide to do, don't go trying to research three or
four ancestors at once - it is usually better to concentrate on
just one, and if you get stuck you can then move onto another.
How to Begin
First you need to talk to all your living relatives to gather as
much information as you can from them about your grandparents and
great-grandparents. You also need to gather any documents from them
- this could include certificates, photo albums, diaries, newspapaer
cuttings, letters, or even a family bible.
Put together the basic genealogical facts about the people you
have found out about - this includes birth date/place, marriage
date/place, and if deceased, death date/place. Also, don't forget
about family legends - although these are not necessarily true,
it is useful to note them down incase you discover something interesting
Now you should be all set to begin your research using either online
research sites, or CD-ROMs containing
the data you are interested in.