Are you looking for a simplified genealogy database that provides all the right resources and tools to help you trace your ancestral history? It will be a difficult task to achieve when you lack any data to fill in the timeline with lineage history, but there are dozens of actions you can take to jumpstart learning how to explore your family tree origins with 20% off gift subscriptions.
Where to Begin
The easiest place to begin learning about your family roots is to start with the information you know. Write down your parents’ names and their siblings’ names. Then, add their children’s names, which will include you as well. If you have children, add them as well. Starting there will give you the first generations to work from. It will get more complicated when you begin to work on older generations because you will need the help of an ancestry database to acquire more data.
You will want to choose an ancestry registry that is worldwide and provides access to a number of historical records. Companies like Ancestry.com is wide-ranging as it has more than 31,000 databases, 9 million historical archives and United States Census records spanning several centuries. As it is a worldwide network, you also have at your disposal the ability to trace your heritage through multiple immigration routes, which would be difficult to do without an ancestry database.
You will also have access to public documents like the military service and vital records encompassing the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, which helps identify activities, business or social service experiences. You also will get access to cross-border and port-of-entry immigration records through a digital library of artifacts, genealogy logs, city manuals, local historian directories, files, yearbooks and newspapers that span more than 400 years of ancestry movement.
What Information Should I Collect?
With an overabundance of information, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, which is why defining your search criteria will allow you to navigate the information better. There are also specific exploration archive queries that will allow you to branch out and fill in your family tree easily. Here are a few vital things you should keep in mind as you begin your ancestry journey.
1. What’s in a Family Surname?
What is the story behind your family’s surname? Are there any funny nicknames, name changes, variations or aliases that you know of? There are millions of names in the world, yet it is the greatest clue you can use to trace your ancestors’ movements. Before the 11th century, people in Europe used a singular name or nickname. As communities grew, the names became more complex as a systematic approach to identification.
After 1066, the Normans began to use surnames in Europe and quickly spread. As families immigrated to places like America, some families changed, shortened or dropped their surnames, which is why ancestry can be a bit more difficult to track. While a surname will guide you in a specific direction, do not count on it to determine your ancestry as many families changed or adopted names for personal and legal reasons.
2. What Is Your Family Story?
Word-of-mouth is one of the best resources you have at your disposal. You will be surprised at how much information the elders in your family can provide. While public registries might now have births, deaths or marriages, your family members will have an accurate account based on experiences. While it will not fill in all the answers, it will give you enough information to start filling in the historical data on your family tree. Once you get names, you know whom to look for as well as a profession, location and date to search.
3. Building a Family Tree
Before you exhaust yourself trying to fill in your family tree yourself, take the time to see if anyone else in your community has completed their genealogy search. You will find that there are many people who are willing to help you out. With so many genealogy communities online, you will be able to contact multiple sources at once and save time. Many of these resources are kind enough to add their research online to link with others.
4. Using Genealogy Websites
You will find that there are multiple genealogy websites online that will make your search easier to achieve. You also have access to search engines that provide multiple leads that will help you verify your findings. Some genealogy platforms are free while others offer subscriptions. You will find that those who charge a fee provide much more value and accessibility to vital records than free sites, which will help you track data quicker.
5. Recording Data
There is so much material available today that you need to know what is worth recording and what you should discard. Search engines and genealogy databases take only moments to access, which means you are going to have much more information at your disposal than if making your inquiries manually through the mail or long-distance travel. While you will be tempted to save everything, save only the documents that pertain to your family’s record so that it is filled with authentic documents worth their preserving.
Keep the Following Things in Mind
- What databases will you access?
- What services do the paid ancestry databases offer that the free ones do not?
- Will you use a family tree template or create your own?
- Will you digitally save or print out documents or imagery?
- How will you verify the written information that is not from a verifiable source?
- Will you adopt other family genealogy or do it all yourself from scratch?
- What global databases are at your disposal on genealogy websites?
- Will you share your research with other family members to access?
- Which message boards or genealogy communities will you subscribe to?
- Will you take a DNA test to fill in the missing ancestry questions?
Once you are ready, you will find that you will be well on your way to learning about your family history. You will also gain access to hints about possible ancestors that will take time to track down. With a computer or smartphone, it will be easier today to get started than ever before.