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How to create your family tree

Family history research has become more and more popular as people trace their ancestors in order to find out what and who they were. Delving into your family history can turn up many surprises, but how do you go about it? Read more to know how to create your own family tree.

Looking for information

Start off with what you know when making a family tree. Look at your generation first. Note your siblings and parents. Then, note your aunts, uncles and cousins. Think about who your grandparents were. Jot down everybody's names, and if you have them, jot down the dates of birth and death. Occupations are also interesting aspects to have on your family tree. You can start drawing your tree by hand with each layer being a different generation, or you can buy ready-made charts where you just insert the information. Websites Websites like Findmypast.co.uk have family tree makers as part of their genealogy service. The further you go back in time, the more difficult your search becomes. Talk to family members to see what they remember of their relatives. Look through birth certificates and marriage certificates so as to add more information to your tree. You can check births, deaths and marriages for England and Wales at Freebmd.org.uk. You can also make the trip to church registries and archives to look for more information on your family. The National Archives at Kew contains a wealth of information and also has a shop full of guides and genealogy books on researching family history.

Where else to look?

If you can’t get out and about to do your research, there are plenty of genealogy websites that contain databases. Findmypast.co.uk has migration and military lists, parish records, births, deaths and marriages index and other specialist records. Genuki.org.uk has a virtual reference library of over 88,000 information pages that covers England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. These sites can be invaluable in helping you to add information to your family tree. You might also find someone else who is researching your family, even a long-lost relative. They can give you pointers on what to look for and where to go. When you have completed your tree as far as you can go, give copies to your family members. Frame or laminate them so as to make them last.

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