Family History and Genealogy - A Guide to Researching Your Ancestry and Finding Your Family

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Genealogy and family history research have really become popular pastimes recently due to the internet and peoples ability to access a vast amount of information with relative ease.

The aim of my article is to give a little guidance to people starting out in their search for long lost ancestors. There is so much information online today that it is extremely easy to suffer from "information overload".

Before you start doing any online research, I would suggest that you note down exactly what information you already have access to. Old photos, letters and documents are a wonderful way to get started.

Take your old photos around to your elderly relatives and friends to get the people in them identified, and to find out a little bit of information on them. You will find that old people love to reminisce about the past and these old photos are just the thing to get them started. Perhaps even use an audio or video recorder to keep a permanent record of these discussions. While you are talking to them find out if they have any old photos and documents that you may not have seen before, ask if you can take copies.

A "Family Group Sheet" is a great resource to have when interviewing your family. Basically it is a document to record the details of a particular family group (Husband, Wife and children). If you do a Google search for it you'll easily find one that you can download or print. This will record birth dates, death dates, marriage dates and allow you to have your information properly documented. You can even get your relatives to fill it out themselves. You can email it or post it and just ask if they can please fill it out and send it back to you.

At this stage I'd suggest that you get some genealogy software, because you really need this to make life a lot easier for you! If you want free software Personal Ancestral File known as PAF is a good basic one to get started with. If you want some good software that does a bit more, you may be best to try something like Family Tree Maker for around $40.00. Now you need to install your software, and start entering all the information you have collected from the Family Group Sheets. If any of the information you have is in doubt, you should try to get it properly verified before entering it as fact.

I hope that my small article has helped you in some way, and that you enjoy your genealogical adventure of researching your family and your ancestors. If you want more detailed information on anything, please go to my link at the bottom of this article, where I will discuss the various online options available to you.

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