how to start a family tree

how to start a family tree

The question of, “Where is my family from?” got you to this point… now what? The best place to begin is with what you already know. Start gathering names, places, and dates with the information you have.

As your family history begins to grow, you’ll arrive at a point where further research is required. Contact your relatives and ask them to share what information they have of your family’s genealogy. Not only will this further your research, it’s a great reason to get together with relatives outside of the occasional family get-togethers. Gather as much of the following you can:

  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Maiden Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • School(s) attended
  • Occupation(s)
  • Military Service
  • Marriage
  • Date of Marriage
  • Spouses First Name
  • Spouses Last Name
  • Location of Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Date of Divorce
  • Children

Start at the beginning for each spouse and child. Take plenty of notes. Remember, any piece of information you uncover, no matter how trivial it might seem at the moment, can often end up being the fact that helps you to discover a new ancestor or even a living cousin. A maiden name, an occupation, schools attended, military service , divorce or adoption are important attributes to document at any point during your genealogical research. These initial steps can yield stories you’ve never heard and pictures you’ve never seen, inspiring you to dig further!

When you’re ready to create a family tree with the information you’ve gathered, you can simply draw your own tree or take advantage of the family tree templates and software that are available online. Microsoft offers many free family tree templates.