Building a Family Tree

So how do you begin constructing your family tree? It all starts with you!

1. Record your name, date of birth etc. and a short pen-picture of your life so far. Easy isn't it! From now on it gets more difficult :)

2. Talk to every member of your family - to find out who fits where in your family tree, click here. Find out if anyone else is researching your family history. If not, tell them you are taking on the role. If possible, tape your conversations; there will be times when you need to go over what you have been told. Try to get photographs of your family members, homes etc. Names and dates are the essentials that will enable you to trace earlier generations; ask for certificates and take copies.

3. It seems obvious, but keep all information well documented and clearly filed. There are software programs which can make these tasks less of a chore and allow you to print out the results of your work to present to all members of your family. A document that will be well-thumbed in the years to come. Don't just keep the record on the computer,they have a habit of crashing and destroying the data - keep a backup.

Depending on your age, just by talking to your family you should be able to record details of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The family tree is growing and, hopefully, you have added the leaves and blossom! Time now to don your detective's hat and move on to What's Next?