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Getting Started
Start With Yourself
Ask Questions

Getting Started

Genealogy is a large world to be in, there are so many different roads you can take, it is best to decide now. Some people follow their Fathers name others follow their Mothers name. The one thing to remember about tracing your Mothers name back is that the name will be constantly changing.

For Example my Mother name is Davis her maiden name was Dixon then her mothers name was Nowers.

So already her family name has changed three times. This may become too overwelming for some. Just because you start on one side of your family, there is no problem why you can't go back and do the other side.

So now you have decided what line of your family you will be tracing, it is time to sta rt asking questions.

Start With Yourself
The best place to start your family tree is with you. Write down anything you know about yourself including important dates, Achivments, Jobs, Hobbies etc. Try to find all the original documents and photographs as this is all evidence.

Ask Questions?
The best place to get information from is the source. Ask relatives or even friends of relatives for information on your family. The sorts of thing you will be told you can not find in any family history book or in and records office, these are people's memories, peoples memories of your ancesters. Remember the word 'Genealogy' does not mean family tree, it means family history.

Now having all that information, try and back up all the stories you hear with evidence as peoples memories fade with age.

This is one of the most important part of genealogy. To start it is best to keep a folder for each member of your tree, however as your research gets bigger your tree and the members of it will increase.

Another method is to have a folder for each family and inside that you would have all the relative information for each member of that family.

My method is that I have three folders labelled Birth Marriage and Death in these I keep all my certificates in chronological order. The rest of my research is stored on the computer.

There are many different Genealogy programs out there which are all just as good as one another. I use Family Tree Maker . Others may just wish to use Microsoft Excel or even Word. Some may just want to handwrite their research. I have to say that using computer is helpful as you can back up your work weekly monthly when ever you want.

Certificates / Photographs
Certificates and photographs are some of best things we will ever own as these tell you so much about a person.

On the birth certificate you will find several things that will help you either prove who that person is or help you get to the next step.

The details of a birth certficate are listed below: -

  • Child's forenames
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Mother's full name and maiden name
  • Father's full name and occupation if married to the mother
  • Name, address and relationship to child of the person who registered the birth.

On a marriage certificate one of the peices of information on this certificate is the fathers name. This will provide you with next name on your family tree, however it does not give the Mothers but it is a start.

  • Date of Marriage
  • Place of Marriage
  • Whether by banns, licence or certificate
  • Name and age of bride and groom
  • Occupations of bride and groom
  • Marital status of bride and groom
  • Current address of bride and groom
  • Names and occupations of the fathers of the bride and groom
  • names of witnesses
My Research Fact: This was the first fact that I found that started me on my family tree.



Finding the death certificate can be one of the most difficult things to find as this can be any date. A good tip is to make a timeline of events of that person including Census, Birth and marriage certificates of Sons and Daughters, once you have finished the timeline you will end with the last date that person was alive.

Timeline of James John Davis

1852 'Son James Davis Born'
1881 'On the 1881 Census
1891 'Can't Find familyon 1891'
1901 'Can't Find family on 1901'
1903 'Marriage of Son James Davis' Deceased

So now I know that he died Between 1881 and 1903. I know it is not a small gap but it is at least you have target.

Details of whats on a Marriage certificate is listed below.

  • Full name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Given age
  • Cause of death
  • Occupation (or name and occupation of husband if the deceased was a married or widowed woman)
  • Name, address and family relationship (if any) of the person who reported the death.

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