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Genealogy for Beginners: 3 Ways to Start Now

Let’s face it: genealogy can be hard to spell, let alone do. Maybe you find it overwhelming. Maybe you’ve always thought that you had to be an expert or have an expert dig up the roots of your family tree. That couldn’t be further from the truth! You can do it too—right now.

While it’s true that certain branches of your tree may take some climbing and while it’s true that some of that old cursive can be intimidating, that isn’t all there is to discovering the story of your family.

You can do simple things today to begin uncovering—and
telling—the story of your family. After all, often the small, everyday details we
discover about our ancestors make all the difference.

1. Start Where You Are

When it comes to genealogy for beginners, remember that your
genealogy begins with you. Don’t be afraid to start small. Here are four
questions to start with:

  1. What memories do you have about your immediate
    family?
  2. What memories do your immediate family have
    about your extended family?
  3. How did your
    grandparents
    meet?
  4. Where did your parents go to school?
A girl does genealogy work with her grandmother.

You might be surprised by how much you can learn just by
taking time to sit with someone and reminisce. Just be sure that you find a way
record
these stories
, whether you use a pen and paper, a video camera on your
phone, or a recording device. You’ll be glad you did.

Once you’ve recorded your family’s stories, make sure to save them on FamilySearch Memories. Doing so will save them not only for you, but for your entire family to see.

2. Check Local Sources

a young girl on a computer

You don’t need to go anywhere to start your research. If you
have a phone or a laptop with internet, you can get started right now!

Do you have any books that have been passed down to you? Ask
family members if they have any old photographs, documents, or journals. You
might also check your local library.

Even if your family is not from the area, consider checking
out a book that covers a historical event or time period that you think may
have impacted an ancestor’s—or even a parent’s or grandparent’s—life. Or simply
search online for the meaning
of your last name
. Even these small steps can help you begin to piece
together where you come from.

Using what you discover, you might also consider searching
FamilySearch’s expansive record
collections
. With even a little bit of information about your ancestor, you
can discover dozens of records about your family.

3. Continue the Legacy

It’s unlikely that the people in your family tree set out to
be the most interesting ancestors on the census. Like you, they were just
living their lives. Today, we live in a busy world. Don’t forget to take the
time to create family traditions, even if they are as simple as an ice cream on
a Saturday afternoon.

Remember to be present in the lives of those around you and to document your family’s adventures. Taking the time to learn about family, whether in the past or the present, adds extra color and meaning to life.

a group plays basketball together

So don’t sell yourself short; you might be better at this
than you think. After all, nobody suddenly wakes up one day as a professional
genealogist. The only way to learn more is to pick a place to begin.

Need some more ideas? Check out the FamilySearch Discovery Center, and
remember that the most important thing about genealogy for beginners is to get
started.

Source: Family Search

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