Parenting

6 Methods to Uncover Your Family’s History

Understanding where your family came from and the history of your family can be a fascinating journey into the past. The process of uncovering information about your ancestors can bring you closer to relatives in your family that you haven’t spoken to in some time and open the door to meet other distant relatives.

1. Start your family tree

This is the best place to start, you should sit down and try to build out a family tree. Your immediate family often holds the key to starting your family history research. If you get stuck along the way you can call up a grandparent or aunt for them to help you fill in the blanks as best they can. The more details that you can gather at this stage the better. You should make sure that you have done everything that you can to flesh out the details of each person you put into your family tree.

Ask your relatives if the people had nicknames, what their job was and where they lived. This is all valuable information when building out a family tree and can help you a great deal when you are looking to verify a connection. Birth and death dates are also very useful in the regard too.

2. Gather photos of the people you have added to your family tree

This can start to give your family tree some real character. When you look at the pictures you are no longer looking at names on a page, you are seeing them for what they were. A blood relative of yours with hopes and dreams that lived a long time before you were born. This can be an emotional experience so brace yourself.

3. Get your genetic code analyzed

The information in your genes can help to point you in the right direction when you get stuck. Doing DNA testing can yield very valuable information on where your family came from, so that if you reach a dead end, you can look to census data from a select group of countries to see if you can track down the next layer of your family tree.

4. Build a family story

Gather any information that you can about the members of your family that you have found out. You can try reaching out to local libraries close to where they lived to see if there are any records of them living in the area. Newspaper clippings of engagement announcements are an absolute goldmine that can help you find a whole new branch of your family.

Another great source of information is the military, if you’re lucky, you will be able to find records of your relatives who served in the armed forces. These records are often meticulous and can also help to give your ancestors a bit of added personality along the way.

5. Seek out online forums and communities

There are many people who are actively searching for information on their family history. You may find that you get some great tips on what you can do next to further your search for information. You could even contribute a tip of your own as you are probably getting quite good at this now.

6. Take it one step at a time

Discovering your family’s history is not a small undertaking, there is no rush and you should treat this process as an ongoing hobby that can be enjoyed for many years to come. There is some real excitement about finding a thread and pulling on it until the whole picture has been revealed.

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