Did you know that success finding your family history could be just 1 question away? According to Donna Grace of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, that’s all it took to get her on the road to success. “I had no idea what in the world I was doing when I first started my genealogy,” Miss Grace explains. “I just kept asking what I do to get started finding my ancestors? But I had a friend who once visited an LDS family history center. She showed me where it was and told me that I had to go visit them.”
“The first time I went there I was met by a sweet elderly woman who welcomed me and asked if she could help me,” explained Grace. I told her that I had no idea what I was doing, but that didn’t stop her. I knew grandma’s name, the name of my grandpa and where she died; that was it. Having so little to start with didn’t seem to discourage the lady who helped me, because she took me under her wing and showed me exactly what I needed to do to find grandma. She was so patient with me. She didn’t do the searching for me, but she helped me learn what I needed to know so I could know what to do if I wanted to look for another ancestor. She was such a sweetie.”
Family History Centers throughout the world have volunteers that offer their time free of charge, to help visitors get started with their research. These helpers are trained and know how to do family history research. In some cases, they are experts in specific areas of research. But they also know how talk to the beginner and help them feel like the task is doable.
Chris Henderson of Dana Point, California explains, “My boy scout troop went to a family history center in my home town to get help completing our genealogy merit badge. The staff there gave us some forms for us to use to write whatever information we could easily remember. Using what I could remember my mom telling me, the man who helped us was able to find my great uncle in a California census record. I told my mom about it and she went down to that center the next day to see the record herself,” said Henderson. “Most of us scouts were able to find something. I was hooked after that.”
Most beginners aren’t sure how to get started or what questions to ask. But that should never stop them from getting started. There are always kind friendly people the LDS family history centers who are more than happy to answer their questions. They will ask you a few simple questions that will help you understand what you need to do and how to get started.
That kind of help is not limited to family history centers. Visiting the Family History Library in
Salt Lake City can be just as productive. Hundreds of trained consultants and staff members are ready to help you answer any questions you might have. They are there to do all they can to ensure that your visit is as positive and productive as possible.
Getting help with that first question can be done even from the comfort of your own home. By visiting the FamilySearch website you can find hundreds of classes, tutorials and media demonstrations to help you learn how to do family history research. Classes range from basic introductory help to advance instruction on reading old style handwriting.
The answer to solving your family history mystery starts with that first question. For most people, that question is how do I get started. Regardless of what your questions are, the help is there and it’s free to everyone, so don’t put off your exciting journey of discovery. Find out who you are by discovering who your ancestors were. It’s all a matter asking that first question.