See yourself in your family tree

By | September 28, 2011

Finding out more about your family’s history and tracing your family tree is a great way to learn about your ancestors and also learn about yourself. If you’ve ever wondered where you get certain character traits from or why your hair is brown when the rest of your immediate family is blonde, looking into your family tree can help you find the answers to these questions and uncover family secrets along the way.

In the past few years, creating a family tree has become extremely popular with people whose families are growing and dispersing around the world. As more public records become available and are compiled online, it’s more straightforward than ever to trace your family back to its roots.

Before you begin, create a binder or notebook where you can take notes and keep a record of anything you find. This way, everything will be safe and easily accessible in one place, and if you ever want to share your findings or create a visual family tree you can.

Start by speaking to the oldest members of your family when you’re tracing your genealogy. They will be able to remember older generations of family members you may never have met and can point you in the right direction as you begin to try and find your long lost ancestors. Ask about any family members who emigrated to different countries, and try to get an understanding of who you might be looking for or if you have any family members in the past who were highly visible in their communities.

Ask for photos or any other birth or marriage certificates and make copies of these for your own records. As you start to search for family matriarchs, keep in mind that many women changed their names after getting married, so the woman you’re looking for might be listed under her family name or her husband’s name.

Once you know where to start, it’s time to start looking through public records for more information. Birth, death and marriage certificates are a great place to start and will supply you with names and dates to help get a more comprehensive search going.

Census data is also another great source of information, and can tell you more about the professions and households of your family members, which may help you to uncover other family members you didn’t know existed.

If you’re struggling or don’t have the patience to look for this information alone, consider going online and using a service that can help search record databases and find the information you’re looking for faster. The advantage of this is that you’ll be able to look for your family tree on your own time and can also connect to a community of other genealogy hunters who can share tips and give words of encouragement.

By tracing your geneaology you can learn more about your ancestors and see how similar and different they are to you, uncovering your family secrets and learning more about what makes you who you are.