10:00 AM – March 15, 2015 by Paul Murphy
Finding out where you come from, who your ancestors were or what they did starts from a very familiar place; yourself. Researching your family tree is not as hard as you think. It just takes some time and energy. In order to get the your family history correct you need to create a family tree, you need to learn a little bit about your family.
Finding out your family history on a very basic level is fairly easy. You will want to talk to as many of your older relatives as you can. Get the full names of your grandparents, your great grandparents, your great, great grandparents and so on. There will come to a point when someone does not remember the name of their grandparents. Also important with this information is maiden names and the names of their children. You want to construct a family tree as far back as you can. The names of their children can be important because you will sometimes find documents from something like a census and this will include the names of any children living within their households.
By learning the names of your ancestor’s children, you will be able to verify if the person you are looking up is the right person within your family. Try to also get as many dates or places where they may have lived as you can. Along with information that is spread by word of mouth, look for written documents or old pictures. Documents like birth or death certificates can be very helpful in researching your family history.
Pictures are also helpful in a less obvious way. Sometimes pictures will have a date on the back of them or a town or place. There may also be clues in the pictures themselves. If you find a picture of your ancestor on a trip to see the Statue of Liberty with a date on the back that says 1935, you then have a point of reference to go back to when trying to figure out what year they entered the United States. Once you have done your best at researching your family history through word of mouth, you will then have to move on to other sources of information.
Thanks to the internet there are a lot of different ways to search for your family history. Some people sign up for websites. Some are free but, the easier ones to use cost a small fee. With these sites you gain access to a lot of other important papers that are very hard to get otherwise. Genealogy sites offer censuses from past years, death, birth and marriage certificates, plus other public records like military records or even criminal records.
There are also several free sites you are able to use to find your family history. But since they are free, these sites can get kind of tricky. If you really want to get accurate information and build an extensive family tree, it is best to go with a site that will cost a small amount now but, the results you receive will last through the lifetimes of your children’s children.