Starting your family tree is an exciting undertaking; at the same time the sheer number of resources you will encounter can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Start with yourself and work back generation by generation
- Document every piece of information you find and where you found it.
- The key information you need to find for each ancestor includes: full name, residence, occupation, religion, dates of birth, marriage, and death
- Gather together everything you already know. Search for documents or old photographs in your home
- Talk to your relatives. The website Thoughtco.com has tips on How to Interview a Relative and Questions for Family History Interviews
- Organize your information. Use some basic genealogy charts to keep things straight. The two essential charts that you will need at the beginning are the Pedigree Chart and Family Group Chart
- These can be downloaded and printed for free from a number of websites, e.g.
- Library and Archives Canada: Organize Information
- National Genealogical Society Free Charts & Templates
- FamilySearch Genealogy Research Forms
- The FamilySearch site has an Interactive Pedigree Chart that can be filled out online
- For a brief introduction to genealogy research, check out these websites:
- How to Begin, on the Library and Archives Canada Genealogy and Family History Page
- Family History Research Wiki. This wiki on the FamilySearch site contains thousands of how-to articles. The Research Process is a general introduction; or Browse by Country for an introductory article on the country you are researching
- Read a general genealogy guide. See our list of recommended titles: Genealogy Guides for Beginners
- The first records you will look for will be census, vital statistics (birth, marriage, and death), and church records. Check the research guides on this site for tips on where to find these, and other, records.
- And finally, our best piece of advice: Make an appointment with a genealogy specialist at the library . Library genealogy specialists can meet with you one-on-one to show you how to get started, or help you with research roadblocks.