Family genealogy research is something many struggle with, but for millions they don’t know anything about their ancestors.
This is a real shame, because our ancestors make us who we are. Hundreds of years may pass or even decades, but that doesn’t mean to say we should forget about our forefathers – we should take the time to get to know them.
Today, ancestry research has become a lot easier with the widespread availability of new technologies including:
- online ancestry / family tree platforms
- genealogy search engines, and
- ancestry DNA tests.
Here are ten steps to finding your ancestors using these new technologies.
Start With Your Oldest Living Relative
The easiest way to start learning more about your genealogy is to select someone who is the eldest within the family. This can be a grandmother, an aunt or cousin from whichever side of your parents.
Remember, you can’t get to know everything about your family in one go so start with the eldest and work your way from there.
Search for Local Information
If you’re family has always lived in a certain town or state then it will be much easier to find out a little more about your genealogy.
So, take a look at the local libraries and check out the internet for news on your family name.
This will result in a lot of similar names that aren’t relevant to you but they can also help; you get to eliminate names you know aren’t associated with your family.
Check the Obituaries
The best way to find out about your family tree has to be to use the obituaries. This is probably the number one way to find out a lot of information including information about spouses, children, siblings and all sorts of other relatives. It could allow to you scale further in your search.
However, genealogy has a trick or two to play on you so if you find your great-grandparents were married twice; it may throw up lots of additional family members you never knew about.
Use Census Records
Census records could be a fantastic way to help you find out a little more about your ancestors. Of course, they aren’t going to go back all the way to the beginning of time but they are fairly good in terms of what they can bring up. This will allow you to find out where your relatives lived as well as about any siblings or children too.
Genealogy search services using census records can throw up lots of new and great info.
Use an Online Ancestor Program
If you are really struggling, then it may be a good idea to try out some online software. There are lots of great ancestry programs that help you to find out a little more about your family tree and genealogy.
Of course, you may need to pay for some of these but if you’re really struggling, it’s a good option to try. Online family trees are popular but you do need to validate what you find out.
Talk to People In Person
There should be people in the area that know your family well such as old friends, neighbors and acquaintances but these are the people you want to talk to. Why – because they are the ones who knew your family most and they will be able to tell you a few things you probably don’t know. You should take the time to talk to local residents and get to know a little more about your genealogy.
Use Libraries for Additional Help
Libraries are a great source for you to use when it comes to learning about your family. Now, if your family has always lived in a certain area, you should find it a lot easier to get more info. Libraries can allow you to use their computers to check through old newspapers and records you may not find anywhere else. This can be so useful and you may find your genealogy search that much simpler.
Search the Web for News
The internet is millions of pieces of information on it and it should have information about the things you want to know – even about your ancestors. Big and small news stories are saved online and you may be able to find out key pieces of information about your family here. Of course, genealogy searches online aren’t always the best but they can give you a lot of information.
Talk To Your Family
You need to get talking to your family members, even the ones you barely know. The reason why is simply because everyone knows a little more about the family and by talking to lots of family members, you have the chance to learn more. This will maybe even give you another platform to search for more information and you may learn new names as well. Genealogy searches can be useful when you have lots of names to go for.
Confirm Using DNA Testing
By now, you will have a lot of information about your family and potential lines of history. It’s time to look at it and confirm your matches using ancestry DNA testing. There are four major providers of DNA tests for genealogy research today: 23AndMe, Ancestry DNA, FamilyTreeDNA and NatGeo’s Genealogy Project. All of them cost about $99, and may reveal new ancestors and relatives.
What Will You Find Out?
It’s really exciting to learn about your family no matter who you are or what your reason to find them. There is always something hidden or kept secret but it will be important for you to find out about your ancestors.
It can be a rewarding task and if you stick to it, you will enjoy finding out about your genealogy.