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Starting Your Genealogy - Where?

You Have to Start Somewhere - Some Hints

Starting your genealogy - where do you begin? So many ways to go; so much confusing information. Help for you to start your family tree research is here.

My grandfather and buddies camping in 192
My grandfather and buddies "camping" in 1926

One of the things you will need to decide is how broadly do you want to go with your family tree. For instance, some people do only their direct line through the family name. In other words, they follow the male line from their father up to his father and grandfather. In that case, they do not follow cousins, aunts, uncles, and such. That would be doing only their paternal direct line.

Others choose to do both their paternal and maternal lines, but limit that to direct lines only. So, they do the same as above for their father's line, and also follow their mother's line back to her father and his line.

Others choose to broaden their scope and include the siblings of their parents and their families too.

It is up to you. You may wish to start your genealogy with any of these in mind. You can always start narrow and expand later if you wish.

I choose to follow my father's parents' lines (both mother and father), and do the same for my mother's parents' lines. So, in effect, I work on four family trees. I have also chosen to expand, as I have found informtion, to my parents' siblings and their families.

So, decide what you want to do, and then set out to follow the clues.

Starting Your Genealogy - Who's First?

It is hard to know where to begin with your family tree. Do you start with the oldest people you know in your line - perhaps your great-grandparents? Do you start with the youngest people you know - perhaps a cousin's grand-daughter? You could begin anywhere with whatever information you have, and work out from there in all directions.

However, in many ways, the best place to start your genealogy is with yourself. If you start there, then you can work back through your parents and grandparents by following the records that you may have or can find.

In truth, you will tend to work in many directions at different times depending upon what you have and what you are looking for, and what you can find out as you push the boundaries of what you know.

After you have decided what you want to pursue, and where to begin, the next steps involve talking to as many people as possible who might have information about your family.

Are any of your grandparents still alive? What can they tell you? Remember to listen to everything they say, not just the names and dates. Older people within our families often have a lot of what I call "family lore" - those stories and details about what our families did and how they lived in bygone days. Our family trees become much more interesting with such information and anecdotes in them.

A family tree composed of merely names, dates, and places can be pretty dull in the long run.

A Couple of Caveats

Remember two important things about getting information this way.

The first caution is to record it in some way if you can. In this day and age of cellphone cameras which can do video recording, it is a much easier way to preserve the information than writing it down. Let your older relatives ramble with their stories - don't interrupt too much or they will stop telling you these stories. You can always ask for clarifications when they are done.

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You also need to make certain you make careful notes about where you got this information - who are you talking to, what was the date - everything so you can prove your notes are not just made up!!

The second caution I give you is to take what they tell you as unproved information until you can check it out other ways. We forget things as we get older; we remember things differently as the time since something happened grows longer. So, what you record is still only a story until you can prove it. This is especially true about dates and places and events. It is hearsay until you prove it through other sources.

Set Yourself a Starting Anchor





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Free Newsletter!!!
Find new tips and tricks here - new sources to check out
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I promise to use it your email to send only the newsletter.
And if you ever decide to discontinue, every issue has a form for stopping the newsletter.

How there's so much free information on this site ...

I have some affiliate links on this website. If you buy a product through them I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the site free of charge.  To learn more, see my affiliates disclosure document

How there's so much free information on this site ...

I have some affiliate links on this website. If you buy a product through them I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep the site free of charge.  To learn more, see my affiliates disclosure document



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