04 October 2012

Where Do I Begin

I have had many people ask me "Where do I begin to look for my roots?" Well the best first step is to make a list of your parents, their parents and aunts and uncles. Contact the living ones. Ask them questions (I'll suggest some of those later in this post). Think about what resources you have at hand. Things like a family Bible, baby books, letters, and the telephone. All of these could be valuable resources.

Make a list of the following questions:

  1. Who are my grandparents. Call them or better yet, pay them a visit. Take a note book or record the conversation for later retrieval. Ask them about when and where they were born. 
  2. Ask them to tell you stories about where they grew up. What was it like then?
  3. Who were their brothers and sisters? 
  4. Ask them questions about their parents. Who were they? Where were they born? When were they born? 
  5. If your grandparents or great-grandparents were immigrants find out if you can when they came over and from where. What was the name of the port they came in to? Why did they leave their home country.
  6. Where is the family burial plot if there is one. Ask for locations of burials. 
Once you have all of the information you can get from them talk to your parents if they are still living. They can fill in some gaps from before you were born. 

Once you have this start compiling your tree. Starting with yourself first work your way back. It may be easiest to create or download a ready made chart. There are a lot of FREE resources on the internet to utilize. A good site is here

I am posting an example of a pedigree chart from my own family. This will help you understand how to do this. 

The person listed in yellow is the root person in this case. Follow the lines up and down to the person in blue. These are her parents. Now follow the lines to the people highlighted in green. These are the root person's great-grandparents and the parents of the people in blue. Keep following lines over to add other grandparents. Each person will eventually have their own sheet. That will allow you to add more information about them. Once you fill in the names as far as you can go start a new sheet for each person listed. It will allow you to add more detailed information about that person. 

Once you get all the people you know on these sheets you are well on your way to tracing your roots. In following posts I will cover researching. Stay tuned!

Happy searching.

1 comment:

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