First Steps in Family History
- Start with yourself and write down information about your immediate family. This can be written into a family group sheet of even a single sheet of A4 paper. Click here for an example of a group sheet Try and limit the information that you fit on one sheet to 3 generations e.g. self ,parents and grandparents. It may get a bit confusing if there are too many generations. The next sheet will have say your mother her parents and her grandparents and so on.
- Talk to your immediate family e.g. grand aunts/uncles grand parents etc.. about your history and use a discrete tape recorder to tape conversations.Don't forget to take photographs. and take copies of old photographs for your album. You may see interesting family resemblance's.
- Use a good software package to record you information e.g. Family Tree Maker familytreemaker
- Make sure you keep 3 copies on diskette and eventually keep a copy on CD It is also advisable to keep a hardcopy.
- Other methods of compiling you data include using a word processor, spreadsheets, data bases and Hand written books. When using a Word processor you can use a narrative indented pedigree. For examples of family trees done like this click here
- Don't forget to use your scanner to include photographs and other documents like wills and letters etc.. There are lots of sites that have graphics which are nice to include in your work.
- Most importantly give copies to other members of your family. Don't let all the work you put into collecting and recording data go to waste.
- Family history is an ongoing hobby and it's well worth having a webpage. Make sure your webpage simple, clear and easy to understand. Don't have flashy wallpaper and excessive graphics as this will distract readers for the information you want to impart. It's easy to create webpage now as there are many templates and software available on the Internet.
- Collect as much information however trivial it may be. That small bit of information maybe relevant in time.
- Always keep a note book on your person so that your never caught out. People say things at strange moments. Remember to be a good listener you never know what you might here.
- After you have made initial steps the next step is research. Your nearest Library will have archives that include Census records, Historical Magazines, Newspapers on microfiche. Births deaths and marriages offices is another place of research. The Church of the Later Day Saints or LDS may have a Family History Centre near you. These centres can be a great help as you can order film for you own use for a small fee.
- Visit relevant graveyards and take photographs of grave stones. Some Libraries may have books on gravestone inscriptions also.
- There are also Magazines that you can buy that have lots of useful information. Irish Roots magazine being one of them.
- You can also hire a Genealogist to carry out work for you in another country but these can work out very expensive.
- And finally don't forget and have some fun!