Sunday, March 28, 2010


For those of you who are new to the world of genealogy, today’s post is a quick start guide to creating your family tree.

To dig into one’s family history is a truly rewarding enterprise. When you explore the corridors of the past, you enter a fascinating world. You are acting as a detective, digging up information and presenting the facts. Then, as you dig deeper, you uncover very real and human stories. Finally, you place these stories and facts into a historical narrative that brings your family to life.

The first step to take when beginning your family tree is to interview your relatives. The best source of information you have about your family is your family! Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else you can think of who might know something. You want to find out who is who in your family. Get full names, nicknames, names of siblings, birthdays, wedding dates, death dates, where they lived, where they are buried, and where their parents came from. Then ask them if they know any stories about the family, find out if there are any rumors about who the family is related to. While doing your interviews, you might just find a relative who is already working on your family history!

The information you get from your relatives should provide a good starting point. Even if all the information is not accurate, it should be enough to get you going. Take good notes and try to develop a system to organize your data.

At this point, I think it is important to say that there are many options available to organize and present your family tree. You can always do it the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. Family histories have been maintained like this for centuries. If this does not appeal to you, you can maintain your family tree on your computer. There are many software products available to save and present your information. I have been using a product called “Family Tree Maker” for almost 20 years. It is a complete package and I have been happy with it.

I have a lot of data on the surnames I have listed on this blog and I am willing to share my genealogical information with anyone who can use it. If you have any questions about genealogy or you need information that we share, please ask and I will do my best to address all inquires.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, Good start to your blog. I started a genealogy blog at that morphed over the past year or so into a website where I share genealogy and history stories. I've been pleased with the response; over 12,000 visits and many kind comments from distant cousins and others interested in my stories. If you haven't done so already, I suggest you publicize your blog on Rootsweb and Genforum message boards for your families. Good luck with your blog. I hope you find sharing your family's stories as rewarding as I have.
    Dave Barton