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Family history made easy

Researching your family is an absorbing and rewarding hobby. If you start on the right track, you will soon find yourself on a fantastic voyage of discovery: and that’s not just the people you’ll uncover, but also the places, jobs and relationships that all add up to a rich heritage. But if you’ve only just decided to start researching, where do you begin?


The first step is you. Think of your family tree as a collection of individuals, one of whom is you. Your aim is to discover as many easily identified life events for as many people that link to you as possible. These include birth, marriage, education, military service, employment and death. These are the kinds of things that are likely to have been recorded. Begin your tree by writing down all your own information, and then begin to expand with information about your parents.

You may know a lot of this off the top of your head, but it will always help to talk to living relatives if you can. They can confirm dates and records and will soon start adding more information about more distant family members.

With any records you find, whether certificates or facts that your family remembers, try and be as organised as possible.




Make note of the sources you’ve used when writing down your family tree. For instance, a birth date entered from the birth certificate will usually be more reliable than one as taken down during a conversation with a relative. If you keep a note of where you got the information it can help you when you revisit your research. If you have a rock solid birth record you can move on, if you have spoken evidence you might want to pursue the certificate itself based on the information your relative gave you. Click here to read more about Birth, marriage and death certificates.

Writing your research