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Family Tree

It’s not hard to begin your search for the roots of your family tree. Here is some useful information.

The first step toward building your tree is to start with yourself and move backwards. You can use a regular notebook to document your information or use a software program that will help you keep everything sorted out.

Next, you will want to find as much information as possible about each of the members of your family. The basic pieces of information you need are the date and place of birth, wedding date, spouse name and date and place of death. These bits of information will allow you to work further towards getting the information you need. If you don’t have all the information, you will be able to do research to find it later.

Begin to write down your family tree. Start with who you know and work backwards in time. Don’t worry if you have blank spaces – that’s what researching your family tree is all about. Later you can conduct research for your family tree to fill in the missing information.

There are many places to research your family tree. Start with your current family members. Interview your family members to gather as much information as possible. Sometimes family stores that have been passed down may hold clues to important information about your family tree. Document the information so that you can go back to it later. Another family resource is the family bible. The bible is the place where past generations recorded life events such as births, deaths and marriages. Someone in your family may also have records like birth or death certificates and marriage certificates.

Besides the family there are other places you can go to research your family tree. With access to the Internet, you won’t even need to leave home. Some resources on the Internet have free access. Other websites that specialize in genealogy require a subscription. You can access many public records for free. However, the further you go back, the fewer records you are likely to find. You can use birth records, death records, marriage records and even the census records to find information that is useful.


  1. Hawkeye4077
    March 2nd, 2010 at 18:21 | #1

    Family Tree?
    I want to write down mine and my husband’s family trees, but I don’t know where to start. Someone told me that you could pay for the FBI to send you a printout of your family tree, but I can’t find any info on their site. Does anyone have any ideas?

  2. grannytoad
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:23 | #2

    Don’t count on the FBI heehee! Count on your oldest living family members to get you started, to tell you all they can remember of their parents and grandparents as far back as they can. You will need full names, and dates and places of births, marriages and deaths.

    Enter the information onto genealogy software, bought or free online, for organization, so you’ll know what you know and don’t know yet, thus where and when to begin looking. You’ve now begun documenting your work, and will be needing documents as you can find them available.

    Cemeteries your elders directed you to, your library and nearest LDS Family History Center can help you get started. You will need some access to census images. From this point I don’t know if you are US or not, so what I write is generalized.

    Poke around at familysearch.org, rootsweb.com and ancestry.com. Some others are genforum.com, gencircles.com, interment.net and findagrave.com . OH! Don’t take *anything* you find as fact, check it out for yourself, at very minimum on census images. Document document document!
    References :

  3. Lieberman
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:25 | #3

    Granny’s answer is a good one. There are lots of books written on getting starting in genealogy, your local library should have some.

    Who-ever told you the FBI does genealogy is wrong. There are no U.S. Governmental agencies at any level who perform genealogical research and have your tree; there are many who have resources that enable you to find it, however.
    References :
    Amateur Genealogist for 10+ years.

  4. Darrol P
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:27 | #4

    The best way to writing down a family tree for you and your husband may seem a little backward at first.

    Begin with yourself (or your husband).
    Who is your/his father? mother? (maiden names?)
    Who are your grandparents? great-grandparents? great-great grandparents? etc.?
    Birth dates? Marriage dates? Death dates?
    As far back as you can go just based on your own knowledge.

    It helps to write things down. There is a chart that family researchers use called a pedigree chart. This chart can be found on the internet. Fill out a pedigree chart–again as much as you can based on your own knowledge.

    (Whether you use a genealogy software package or use a paper organization system is up to you. I have been doing by family history nearly 10 years and use a paper organization system.)

    How do you find out what you do not already know? Unfortunately, there is no single path forward. It all depends on the details of what you know.

    Some key questions at every step: Where and When? For example: Where were your grand-parents married? When? The specific answers to these types of questions will determine where the best place to go for further information.

    If you can identify (great?) grandparents who were married in the United States prior to 1930, you can look them up in the Federal Census.

    If you know the state and county in which they were married, sometimes (not always) the marriage record will identify the parents of the bride and groom.

    Again everything depends on the specifics of your individual ancestors and the quality of record keeping in the times and places where they lived.
    References :

  5. treesandfleas
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:29 | #5

    FBI, i’ve never heard that source for family tree info before. working on your tree can be a life long pursuit. start with what you know, and then talk to everybody else, starting with your eldest family members first. and then move on to the archives and newspapers and databases. document where every detail came from. you’ll be glad you did 10 years from now.
    References :

  6. Holly N
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:31 | #6

    Welcome to genealogy 101. May I suggest that you get a book called "unpuzzling your past" by Emily Croom. This will take you step by step. There are several websites out there once you collect some info that will assist you. Please do not take what is on a website as truth unless you can document it. Use websites only as tools.

    Some great documents are birth, death, marriage certificates, obits and cemetery records, headstones, family bibles. These all document your ancestor. They also give you other clues on more family.

    I think you will be very pleased and frustrated like the rest of us. This is a continuing puzzle. Before the states starting keeping records they used church records and family bibles.
    Some of your ancestors you may never find some you may find things you really don’t want to know but its all part of your family tree.

    Happy hunting
    References :

    these are just a few sites. Use your local LDS center too

  7. Ted Pack
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:33 | #7

    Whoever told you that tale about the FBI was pulling your leg. They might have the names of a person’s children or parents, if they have a file on that person; for instance, if you are #4 on the "10 Most Wanted" list, and your mother is alive, they may check every once in a while to see if you have come to live with her. Beyond that they don’t do genealogy and they don’t share what they have.

    You got some good answers. Tracing your family tree is about as hard as writing a good term paper for high school history. You can pay professional genealogists to do it but they charge $25 – $100 an hour, with NO guarantees, and they would need at least 40 hours to do a good job even with the best of luck.

    The resolved Q here have lots of links and tips. You could start the Internet portion of your search there.
    References :

  8. Theodore H
    March 2nd, 2010 at 23:35 | #8

    Oldest living family members
    Census Bureau records
    Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Church records
    References :

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