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How to Trace Your Family History: Top 10 Genealogy Tips from the Experts

Tracing your family history can be an exciting journey, but it can also be a daunting task for beginners. Starting with just a name or a vague memory can feel overwhelming, and without a proper plan, it's easy to become lost in the vast sea of information. In this blog, we'll share some of the top tips and advice from the experts to help you get started with your genealogy research. 

From organizing your documents and utilizing online resources to joining genealogy groups and staying persistent, these tips will provide you with a solid foundation to start your family research journey. So, let's dive in and discover how you can begin to explore the stories of your ancestors!

1. Get organized

Before you start your research, it's important to get organized. Creating a system for organizing your documents and information can save you time and frustration later on. Use file folders (paper or electronic systems) and label them by the individual to start, and then subdivide them by topics like vital records, immigration, photographs, personal documents, and the like. Investigate if there is an online tool or app that can help you organize your records.

2. Start with yourself

The best place to start your research is with yourself. Gather information about your immediate family first. This will give you a foundation to work from. Work backward and talk with family members to see if others have done any genealogy work before, and if not, it gives you some stories to follow.

3. Utilize online resources

There are a wealth of online resources available to help you with your research. Visit many genealogy websites.  Have you read my blog "10 Best Genealogy Websites"?  Your public library may have access to some of these sites.

4. Use print resources

In addition to online resources, there are many print resources available. Check out my blog "5 Best Books on Genealogy" to get started. Visit your local library or genealogy society to find books and other materials to help with your research.

5. Join a genealogy group

There are many genealogy groups available online and in person. These groups can provide support and assistance as you conduct your research. If there is a genealogical society in your area, drop in there to see what they have to offer. The Church of Latter Day Saints - Family History Center may be accessible in your area. Their library holds an abundance of resources.

6. Stay flexible

As you conduct your research, be flexible. Don't be afraid to change your plans if you hit a roadblock. Check out other branches of the families also. The discovery is widespread.

7. Be patient

Genealogy research can be time-consuming. Be patient and don't get discouraged if you don't find information right away. Remember, genealogy research is a marathon, not a sprint. As new information becomes available, add it to your records.

8. Take breaks

Working on your family research can be overwhelming. Take breaks when you need to and come back refreshed.

9. Be persistent

If you hit a dead end, don't give up. Be persistent and try different approaches. Genealogy research is not always straightforward, so it's important to stay focused and keep trying.

10. Have fun

Remember, genealogy research is supposed to be fun! Don't take it too seriously and enjoy the journey. This is your opportunity to explore your family history and learn about your ancestors. So have fun with it!

In conclusion, with these top 10 expert genealogy tips, you have a solid foundation to start your family research journey. Remember to get organized, start with yourself, utilize online and print resources, join genealogy groups, stay flexible, patient, and persistent, take breaks when needed, and most importantly, have fun! With these tips in mind, you can embark on an exciting journey to explore the stories of your ancestors and build your family tree. So, what are you waiting for? Start your genealogy research today!


Carol Walsh

Article by Carol Walsh

Carol Walsh is the CEO of Creative Roots, a professional genealogy company. She has a passion for preserving family history and storytelling. Carol's research methodology centers around fact-finding and publishing in a format that readers can use to preserve the stories. Her ultimate goal is to help families connect with their past and each other.