Are you planning on making your family tree? Are you curious to find where you come from and uncover your family’s history throughout the years? You must know that it’s not an easy task and you will need time and effort to create a complete family tree. You have to be organized and patient. But when you’re done the feeling you get is really unique. So let’s start.
I will try to give you some basic tips to get you started but you must remember that you need to research a lot unless there’s already some kind of family tree created by some of your ancestors.
If you are serious, invest on a family tree software that will organize all the information you find. Paperwork may become overwhelming as you will notice.
You will need a lot of paper.
Use a single sheet of paper for every person/ancestor in your family. Then make small family groups of ancestors. You will write information you find for every person in the single piece of paper that belongs to that person. And you will write a summary of the information from all persons who belong to a family group to the sheet of paper that belongs to a certain family group. For example for your family group (e.g. you, your spouse and your 3 children), use 6 sheets of paper one for every member of the family and one for the family group (5 members and 1 family group).
In the ancestor sheet of paper you will write all kinds of information you find about that particular person: Date Born, Birthplace, Marriage Date, Date of Death, Father’s Name, Mother’s Name, Spouse Name and all other information you decide is worth mentioning in the family tree.
In the family group sheet of paper you will write a summary of the information you have gathered from all persons who belong to that family group: Number of members, Husband, Wife, Children and other kind of information you might find and want to include.
Now it’s time to work and research. Start with yourself and your family. Gather information from your parents and their children. Then your grandparents and their children. Remember to keep track of the family groups and the sheets of paper that belong to each ancestor. As you go back in time you may need to contact other relatives, family friends or even researchers. Ask them to help you fill the information on your sheets of paper. Tell them you are creating a family tree for your entire family.
It’s a good idea to keep a family tree log of your actions. For example when you find a birth certificate update your family tree log writing the date that you found that death certificate and the person that death certificate belongs to.
Check out if there’s already someone who has created a family tree for a certain family group. Use that information to save time but verify if the information you find is correct. Look for wedding books, divorce papers, birth or death certificates, funeral cards, awards, diplomas, school books, employment records, military records, medical records and anything that you might find useful. You can obtain a lot of information from such papers like dates, ages, parents, witnesses etc. If you are really motivated and determined to create a family tree, this journey to the past will be fascinating.
And now let’s move on to the fun part. After you have gathered all the information you need, it’s time to design your family tree. You may want to use paper and fill the information so that it is organized and easy to access. But I’m sure after all that paperwork you will definitely need help from a family tree software that will save you a lot of time.