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Start with your family tree

The first step in tracing your history is building a tree.
Begin with yourself then go back as far as you can.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure of the details – guesses work
too. In fact, they can help us find clues to new information
about your ancestors.

Tell us who you are.

Then tell us about your parents.

Take a hint

As soon as you begin a tree, we automatically look through billions of historical records, photos, and other Ancestry trees for information about your family.

When we find something, a green leaf appears on your family tree. Just click the Ancestry Hint to review the details.

Looks like we found a
census record for Grandpa.

Discover the story

A document isn’t just a piece of paper — it’s a snapshot of your family’s past. Plug a name into a search of our vast collections, and there’s no telling what you’ll find.

Your story awaits – go find it

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Next steps

Discover how to get the most out of your journey.

Find more helpful information here.

Learn something new

Search like a pro

Optimize your searches and learn
how to use advanced filters.

Follow the guides

Break into new territory with our
downloadable research guides.

Maximize your hints

Get the most from Ancestry Hints
with these helpful tips.

Find answers in DNA

See how to trace your story back to where it began with AncestryDNA.

Tips from Ancestry members

“Ancestry is always adding to their
record collections. Keep checking back
to see if a new search gets more results.”

“Review all the hints. Not only are the documents fascinating, but make
sure the facts are right before you
add to your tree. I wish someone
had told me this when I started!”

Get the free Ancestry app. It
makes sharing and updating really
portable — and so much fun!”