Family Tree Research for Beginners

by pkmcr

Are you looking to start your family tree research but as a beginner you are not sure what to do? This straightforward guide will get you started and make things easier for you.

There are a number of ways to make family tree research interesting without it costing you too much money and this is partly due to the increase in popularity of this particular hobby in the last decade.

More people are now showing some kind of an interest in learning about their ancestors that this has resulted in a wide range of resources appearing online that may have that last vital piece of information that completes the picture of one particular branch.

However, in order to get anywhere with this hobby it is always best if you understand more of the basics about what you must do to build the tree in the first place.

Keeping that in mind, the points that follow are designed to make life that little bit easier and will at least allow you to work out how to get started with this rather interesting hobby.

Download A Family Tree Planner

Prior to doing anything else you are best to download a family tree planner and there are free ones available online from various websites.

The idea behind these charts, templates and indeed pieces of software is that they allow you to add the branches online as well as adding in different piece of information such as important dates, notes, and even photographs (with the genealogy software) to help build the picture.

You will then be able to see how one person links to another in your family. In order to succeed with this hobby it is essential that you are organized from the outset and that starts by downloading this planner.

At this link you can find a great selection of Blank Family Tree Templates that you might find helpful.

If you are looking for an easy to use piece of Genealogy Software then take a look at Legacy Family Tree which is one of the most user friendly I have encountered.

Always Start Your Family Tree Research At Home!

What is meant by start your Family Tree research at home is that you are always best to start your family tree by adding your own information. Then you should spend time interviewing your immediate relatives in order to get as many details as you possibly can from them.

This information may also include family photographs that you can add or they may even give you some stories to check out, but by doing this it will at least mean that you have some leads to go on.

It is after this point that you need to turn your attention to some of the resources that are available online.

How To Start Genealogy Research For Beginners

Jumpstart Your Genealogy Research

Use Free Family Tree Research Resources

After talking to your living relatives, it is advisable to look at the free resources that are available online as they can often hold quite a lot of information that can really add to your family tree.

Two of the main websites that you are best to check out are Rootsweb and with this second one actually being operated by the Mormon church.

Both of these sites contain millions of records including birth, marriage, and death details and they can also help you to start forming links to other people on their site as they will mention any parents names or siblings should those be known.

It is quite possible for you to get the bare branches of your family tree established in just a matter of hours if you strike it lucky with these websites, but if you want to get further information you may need to consider looking at the paid resources that are available online.

Using Paid For Family Tree Research Resources

One of the first things that you are advised to do with these paid websites is to see if they actually offer a free trial even if it is just for an initial 14 days.

These websites will tend to have access to additional things such as census records, military records, and you will also find that they will host a number of photographs and other items that have been scanned into the system by fellow members.

It will also be easier to search other family trees that have already been completed, or at least worked on, by people that have been members of the website and you will also be able to contact them in order to ask questions should you have any.

These membership based websites do contain more information than the free resources available and they are certainly worth it if you are stuck on a particular branch, but do be careful and do not join too many at the one time or you could cost yourself a small fortune in doing so. The best paid for Genealogy or Family History sites is

In conclusion, when it comes to trying to make family tree research interesting it is best to follow the steps mentioned above in order to get as much of the information as you can possibly find via the internet.

Looking into your family history can be very addictive and you will often find yourself trying to unearth that last piece of information into the early hours of the morning and trying to see how far back you can get a particular branch and all because of you wondering about the people that have preceded you in your family.

More Free Family Tree Resources

Have you been thinking about researching your family history or genealogy and are not sure where to start? Let's take a look at How To Research Your Family Tree for beginners then
At some stage in our lives many of us feel the need to "find my Family History" to help us understand our place in the world. If you are new to genealogy then let's get started!
Updated: 07/25/2021, pkmcr
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pkmcr on 07/07/2013

@ologsinquito thanks very much for your kind comments and I hope that you find those sites helpful

ologsinquito on 07/07/2013

This is very good advice. Some branches of your tree are recorded much better than others and I was able to easily find some ancestors going back to the 1500s. (Somone else had already done the leg work and posted it online.) I guess I can try Rootsweb and FamilySearch for the others.

pkmcr on 05/25/2013

@Wednesday_Elf That's very kind of you and i hope this gets you off to a good start :-) Do let me know how you get on.

Wednesday_Elf on 05/25/2013

Thanks for the help & hints, Paul. I've been thinking of beginning to research my family tree for quite some time now, so your article is very timely! ~Elf

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