Where To Start When Tracing Your Family History

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Looking back through history is a fascinating pastime. Especially when it involves your own family. A lot of people choose to recreate their family tree, and explore back into their past. It throws up a lot of secrets, and reveals hidden identities. You might find that an old relative was part of a major historic event. Or perhaps they grew up in a different country before migrating to where you are now. Modern resources and records allow you to search back many centuries, and you’ll be surprised at what you find. The only tricky part is knowing where to start.

Speak to your relatives

Your existing relatives should always be your first resource. Sit down with them, and ask them to tell you everything they remember. Grandparents are great for this, and they’ll love to tell you vibrant stories of their past. Ask them everything they know about their parents, their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Write everything down, and this should give you another layer to your family tree. It will also give you key biographical information to take your search further back in time.

Search the house for scrapbooks and memories

Most of us keep boxes of memories and trinkets. We keep scrapbooks as our children grow up, and capture our lives with photos and diaries. It’s likely that your grandparents, and their parents, did the same. These scrapbooks hold all sorts of memories, stories, and information about the family lineage. Photographs might be dated, with names scribbled on the back, for example. Search the attics and basements of your family’s home, and see what you can find!

Use the internet

There are now plenty of genealogy resources online. It’s easier than ever to sign up for an account, and tap into huge databases of family information. Genealogy accounts allow you to access censuses, newspaper clippings, and vast numbers of personal records and data. There are also plenty of army records for military families. If you knew your great grandparents were in the forces, you can find Canadian military records and service history. These are some of the best kept records, and you’re bound to find something useful.

Search the census and newspapers

Before the days of the internet, the best way to research the family tree was in the library. Here, you’d get access to all the most recent census data. That’s a clear list of everyone in the country at a given time. It lists their address, next of kin, and occupation. If your family were in the country, they’ll be on this list! For extending the research further, you’d use newspaper clippings to find local information about your relatives. You can still use this method in most major libraries.

Keep notes of everything

While you’re doing your research, be sure to keep a note of absolutely everything. You never know which small piece of data or information will become crucial. Tracing the family tree is a little like a detective hunt! So, keep your eyes open for anything that could lead you to the next family name.

You’ll soon learn everything there is to know about your family tree!


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