Help For New Researchers

How to start researching your family history.

A good way to start your research is to write down details about your immediate family:

  • Document their full names and dates of birth.
  • Other details such as place of birth and your mothers’ maiden name may also be useful.
  • Find birth, death and marriage certificates for your immediate family.
  • Certificates will not only give details on the person the certificate belongs to, but may also provide information on their parents or partners.
  • If you do not have copies of the appropriate certificates, they can be ordered from places such as the Family Records Centre or the General Register Office.
  • Speak to old relatives, such as your grandparents, and ask them about their lives, memories and names of their parents and grandparents.
  • Ask your relatives if they have previously completed any genealogical research. This could save you a lot of time and effort if research has already been done.
  • Search your belongings for old photographs or diaries, ask your relatives if they have any items that might be useful in your research.
  • You can gain a lot of information from relatives, so make sure you ask around and document anything useful that you find out.

Getting Organized

     You should organize your findings and documentations well, this will help when it comes to analysis of your research later on.

  • Store certificates, photos, letters, emails and documents in labelled folders.
  • You may find it useful to photocopy some of your documentation to keep as a back up in case the original documents are lost.
  • To start charting your family tree and organizing your data, a genealogy software program for your computer is the most useful tool you will have.
  • With a scanner, you could scan your documents and store them on your computer or a CD.

Genealogy Software

     There are many different genealogy software packages available to help you create your family tree. As you find out more about your family history, you will be collecting great amounts of information. Software packages can be a useful tool for organising all this information. Software is also useful for viewing and printing your information in many different styles.

     Genealogy Software Review is a website that gives advice and information about the top genealogy software packages available. Visit for further details.

     This webmaster's choose, Ancestral Quest the one I use or Personal Ancestral File is a good one and free.

Making your own web site

     You might want to create a website about your family history, allowing future generations to learn about their ancestors. If you decide to create your family tree using genealogy software, make sure you chose one that meets basic requirements. Requirements such as ease of use, capabilities of recording the correct information and the ability to view and print your family tree in many different ways.