This article is the first in a series on how you can get started with your family history research. These articles are based on information found in a new infographic that was developed by FamilySearch.
Over the next six months, we will publish articles that focus on two or three steps outlined in this infographic. Visit this web link to view or print the infographic as a complete step-by-step process.
Step 1: Write What You Know about Your Immediate Families
The first step in getting started is to write down what you know about your parents, brothers, and sisters. If you are married, be sure to include information about your spouse and children. This is usually a fairly easy step since you most likely remember a lot about these family members. The trick is being sure that you write this information down! The information you want to capture are the answers to the following questions:
- When and where you were born?
- Who are your parents?
- Who are your siblings?
- If you are married, who are your spouse and your children?
- What are the dates and locations for important events such as birth, marriage, baptism, confirmation, and death?
- Where have you lived? Where did you go to school, work, and so on?
Step 2: Write What You Know about Your Extended Families
The next step is to gather from your extended families the same kind of information that you gathered in step 1. Extended family members include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Some people are not very familiar with their extended family members. If you are not familiar your own extended family, try to find just one or two distant relatives. These new connections can usually provide you with contact information and other details of who is alive, who has died, and how to contact those who might have useful family history information.
You can sometimes find extended family by using the Internet. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easier to find those relatives you haven’t seen in years. Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others can also be helpful.
With these first two steps, the focus is on getting the easy-to-find information and writing it down so you can create a plan of action for gathering missing information on your family. By creating this action plan; it will show you what information you already have and where you need to focus your attention to find what’s missing. All of this is done with the goal to enter data in the FamilySearch Family Tree, where your family history information can be easily organized and managed.
In steps 3 and 4, we will focus on finding photographs and stories you have around your home. We will talk about working with relatives to find more information about family and then show you how easy it is to add these photographs and stories to your FamilySearch Family Tree.