Creating records of your family history can be very rewarding. It allows you to form a connection with your ancestors and their life stories. It may explain where family traits come from, where your family used to live, what religion they practiced and discovering their careers and families. As rewarding as it is, it can also be very difficult to accomplish. Records can be misplaced or go missing, they can be very difficult to read, they could be inaccurate or they could contain misinformation. Government regulated census, marriage licenses, death certificates and similar documents are usually reliable sources to nail down your family’s heritage. These records can be accessed in multiple ways.
The first step is to gather all the information you know about your family. Write down all your family members and their birthdays and death dates if applicable. If you’re able to include where they were born and where they died, this will also help. This will provide you with the beginning of tracing the remainder of your family tree.
Ancestry.com is one of the most popular family history sites on the internet. Ancestry contains billions of records from all over the world, and also has a network of public family trees that allow families to connect from continent to continent. Recently I came into contact with a man who shares a third great grandfather with me, and he lives clear across the world in Australia.
Ancestry has a nifty family tree creator, and provides you with hints to try and help you find your relatives as the generations go back. If you’re like me and your family doesn’t speak much of the past, this was a super helpful resource in learning where my family came from.
Ancestry has a membership fee that ranges depending on the level of your membership. There are packages for your local country records all the way up to the world records to discover your country of origin. There is also a free option, which allows you to create your family tree but not access the records.
Ancestry is a partner with newspapers.com, which provides you with access to newspapers from multiple countries so you’re able to search for obituaries and articles from around the time your relatives were alive.
Ancestry also has a unique DNA system which will help you find current living relatives as well as tracing your genetic background. I have not yet tried this but I am interested in it! I will do a review if I am able to do it so watch for that post.
This website is similar to ancestry.com but not as well known. It offers similar features, as well as a desktop family tree creator that allows you to work offline. I do not use this as much as Ancestry, because I find I have better connections on Ancestry.
Familysearch.org is a FREE search engine to create a single family tree for everyone in the world. It allows you to search through the same records as Ancestry, and it allows you to save these records to your personal computers. Family search is run by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, and rely on contributions from individuals to confirm the identities of their ancestors to create a giant family tree that anyone can access. I use this website quite a bit because of the free access.
This one is a little bit morbid but it offers plenty of information. You’re able to search for your family through photos of gravestones and all of the information is transcribed into a large data base that is accessible by entering in a name, country and suspected death date. You can also create an account and capture photos of local gravestones to contribute to the network and help other people find their relatives.
Hopefully these websites help you on your search for your family. Keep following the ancestry series for more tips and tricks on how to build a tree, and how to navigate these websites. Happy hunting!