How to Begin a Search for Your Ancestor

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To begin a search for your family, follow the steps below:

  1. Write down what you already know about your family. Talk to relatives and family friends, and look for memorabilia, such as letters or certificates, to learn the dates and places where your family lived.
  2. Decide what missing information you want to learn about your family. You may want to know the date of your grandfather’s death or the names of his parents.
  3. Find out what research has already been done. Search family sources, Internet information, and published books.
  4. Search other records to find missing information. Search vital, church, and census records.
  5. Evaluate and share your information. Did you find what you were looking for? Was the information complete?

How Do I Start My Family History  is a step-by-step guide about this process that can be found on the FamilySearch™ Web site.

Go to

  1. Click the Search tab.
  2. Click Research Helps.
  3. Click Sorted by Title.
  4. Click the letter H in the alphabetical list near the top of the screen.
  5. Scroll down and click How Do I Start.

For more a more comprehensive guide to starting research, see A Guide to Research.

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