The first rule is the sooner you start the better. Your initial search should start with talking to your immediate family – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and if you are lucky great-grandparents.
Before you do anything arm yourself with some forms to record the information that will become your family tree. The first and most important form is the Family Questionnaire that is used to record the Births, Deaths, Marriages and other relevant data. You should use one of these for each family, they are readily available to copy or download from the internet or you can save a copy of our family questionnaire
Once you have some information on a few generations of your family tree you might wish to prepare a graphical display of the genrations and relationships, and you will find numerous Pedigree Charts and Fan Charts on our website to choose from.
The next and important step is to verify your information by obtaining copies of Birth, Death and Marriage certificates. These are the proof that your ancestors were born, married etc. on the dates and places that your informants told you. Marriage and death certificates are also extremely useful for finding the names and ages of the previous generation. Another important task is to make sure that whenever you make a record of some information, you also record the details of the source of the information.
If by this point you are catching the “genealogy bug” you should consider obtaining genealogy software to record your family tree into. There are quite a few to choose from, many free and we can thoroughly recommend Legacy that is free to download and modestly priced for the Deluxe version. These programmes are very powerful databases that allow you to record your family tree in an orderly fashion, add photos, personal details such as email addresses and much more.
You will soon realise that there is much more to building your tree with just names, dates and places and you will start to add facts such as occupations and other interesting events that your ancestors did, culminating in biographies of their lives.
Good luck with your project