Taking the first steps you take to create a family tree don’t have to be giant leaps; they can be small baby steps. Small baby steps taken regularly can help you to create a tree full of branches and leaves you couldn’t even imagine when you first started out.
Create A Family Tree – How do I find my family?
Announce: Tell your close relatives that you are beginning a project to create a family tree. Then you won’t have to keep explaining yourself when you ask around for documents or photos.
Gather: Find out what you already have. You are going to start with yourself. Make sure you have a copy of your birth certificate, passport, social security card, marriage certificate. Keep copies in a safe place. If married, make sure you have the same items for your spouse. Then each of your children. Only after this is done, should you start working backwards to trace your ancestors.
Ask around: You’ve already announced what you’re doing, and your nuclear family records are organized, so now you can ask those closest to you if they have any documents and photos. It might be worthwhile to invest in an inexpensive copier/scanner, so you can make copies and return originals right away. Take full-face digital photos of family members, you’d be surprised at how few photos some of us have of our relatives looking straight into a camera. Also take photos of family heirlooms and artwork.
Interview living relatives who can add dates, locations and ‘flesh out’ family stories. Use open-ended questions so they’ll give you a narrative instead of just answering yes or no. Write down what they say, or better yet, record them on tape.
Focus: Choosing one family line to research will help you to organize your search early on. You will find that you already have more information or living relatives in one line (either your mother’s or your father’s ), so start there.
Use the internet and the numerous resources and search mechanisms found there. If you aren’t computer literate, then you will need to consider taking a class to enable you to feel comfortable getting online. The internet is too big a resource not to take advantage of it in your project to create a family tree.
Join your local genealogical society or club You’ll get caught up in the passion that these hobbyists and serious researchers have for genealogy, and they’re always excited about helping newcomers.
The main purpose to create a family tree is to have fun finding ancestors and your links to the past. Taking small regular steps toward discovering new information will make your journey more satisfying for you.