8 Tips to Help You Discover Your Family History

8 Tips to Help You Discover Your Family History

One of the greatest discoveries that you can go on is to take the journey to discover your ancestors and your family history. This can be a scary discovery for many people as they are not sure where to start to on the journey.

Finding your family history is quite easy if you follow eight basic tips as 1) get yourself organized, 2) start with your immediate family, 3) talk to your oldest living relative, 4) consult a Family History expert, 5) put your family tree online, 6) check online sources, 7) get an Ancestry DNA test and the 8) join family history groups on social media. Discovering your family history can help you discover a lot about yourself and your own family; it is a journey of discovery that is both fun and exciting.

Here are some tips to help you get started to find your Family History.

Tip 1 – Get Yourself Organized

One of the most important things you can do is get yourself organized; for many people, their family information, old photos, and other personal records are a huge mess. Not being able to find the information you need makes it difficult to learn about your family history.

Instead of going on a huge genealogy trip to try to find your ancestors, or going to a family history library, one of the most important things you can do is to get your records at home organized and in order, so you know exactly what information you have and do not have.

Tip 2 – Start With Immediate Family

Once you know exactly what information you have and do not have, our next tip is to start with your immediate family members. Start with your own parents or grandparents. Ask them what information they have about your family and family history; see if they have any data or information you do not yet have.

You may think you have or know all the information they have, but it has been my experience that you probably do not know everything. They may have information that you did not know existed.

Tip 3 – Talk to Your Oldest Living Relatives

The next step is for you to talk to your oldest living relative. We suggest that, if they allow it, you record them so that you can go back to refer to it. If you would like to have some suggestions and questions you can ask them, you can read the blog 100 Plus Interview Questions to Ask Relatives – Family History Research by clicking here. This blog lists out over 100 different questions you can ask your relatives to help find out more about their lives and your family.

Tip 4 – Consult a Family History Expert

We suggest that you talk to a family history expert. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has family history libraries all around the world. These libraries are filled with genealogy and family history experts. Many of these experts can even help you translate some genealogy records or data.

Going into one of these Family History Libraries is completely free. To find out where there is a library close to you, you can click here.

There are also many historical societies or other family history libraries or associations around the world. Many of the libraries or associations may charge for membership. I have some Scottish ancestors, so I belong to a couple of Scottish genealogy groups in Scotland. When I have a question, I have asked some of these local experts, and they have been helpful.

Tip 5 – Put Your Family Tree Online

Today many programs can help you to put your family tree online. We really love the FamilySearch program as it is completely free; anyone can join FamilySearch and put their family data online. You can find out more about FamilySearch and why we recommend them by reading the blog How Can I Find My Family History For Free? by clicking here.

With FamilySearch, you may actually find other people who have also been searching for your family tree. Family search is a collaborative program so that people can see each other’s ancestors. The records of anyone living are blocked, but you can see if others are researching your family line for those people who are deceased.

Tip 6 – Check Online Sources

Many programs have sources that you can check for genealogy data online. FamilySearch also has a lot of great online data and information. Once you sign up for a FamilySearch account, you can also search for your ancestor’s records to see if they are available online. There may be some online records for places in Africa and Asia, but it will not be as in-depth as the American or European records. To sign up for a free FamilySearch account you can click here.

Tip 7 – Get An Ancestry DNA Test

If you’re really unsure where to start to find your family history or family records, you can consider getting a DNA test. DNA testing has become very popular as it will give you an idea of places you can start to look. If enough people have taken the DNA test, you may even find some distant cousins you did not know about.

Two of our favorite tests are the Ancestry test or the 23 and me. With any DNA test, it should be used as just a guide. To find out more about DNA testing, you can read the blog Genealogy DNA Tests and Testing – Read This Before You Buy by clicking here.

Tip 8 – Join Social Media Family History Groups

Social media has also become important for genealogy or family history research; there are many groups on a place like Facebook that talk about Family History research for specific areas. Most of these groups are open for anyone to join.

Don’t be shy or be afraid to ask questions to people in the social media groups. Everybody has to start somewhere with their family history and genealogy research. I have found that most of the people who are doing family history or genealogy research are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Starting to find out about your family history is a very significant discovery. As you begin to put together the puzzle pieces of your ancestor’s life, it is a fun journey. You will start to learn a lot about yourself and your own family. Discovering your family or your roots is a journey that is worth taking.

Related Questions

What Are The Swedish Mantal Tax Records?

The Swedish Mantal tax system was the tax system prevalent in Sweden for over 300 years. The Mantal tax was a tax placed upon Swedish households and people. The Mantal tax system was organized and structured.

You can learn more by reading our blog What Are The Swedish Mantal Tax Records? History & Genealogy Research Tips by clicking here.

What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?

The purpose of genealogy is to study family, family history, and the tracing of our lineage or our ancestors. The purpose of genealogy goes far beyond the dates, names, and places of our ancestors.   This is because as you do your genealogy, you begin to learn more about your family and yourself.  Genealogy helps to unite and link families together as you discover things about your family that you did not know. 

You can learn more about Genealogy by reading our blog What Is The Purpose of Genealogy? by clicking here.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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8 Tips to Help You Discover Your Family History