This page offers some basic advice on starting family history.
Births, marriages and deaths are the base of any family history. After this you can add as many details as you can find (occupations, war service, travels), the list is endless and will expand the longer you search.
Start with yourself. Write down your full name, date and place of birth, occupation, names of parents. If appropriate date and place of marriage, spouse’s and any children’s details.
Talk to your parents and all your living relatives and record their details and life stories. Ask them for details about any dead relatives. Talk to close friends of dead relatives as they will have information to offer. In particular ask for any old documents or photographs of the family members. Check for a family bible as these were often used to record family events. That is the easy stage but it may turn up some surprises and mysteries.
Now you have to decide whether you wish to go any further. It should be possible to trace your family back probably into the seventeenth century. The tree will grow both backwards, sideways with numerous children and marriages, and with ever increasing detail.
Initially the research should be quite easy but will become more difficult as you go backwards into time, often become frustrating, sometimes exciting and will certainly take a long time. The search may necessitate journeys to access archives across this country and perhaps the world.
One request – please purchase copies of critical documents (births and marriages in particular) for the main ancestral lines as it is very easy to follow false leads.
You will need to purchase a recently published book on researching family history, and perhaps subscribe to an appropriate magazine, which will provide invaluable guidance to the internet and other sources. Talk to other researchers.
If you are going ahead you will certainly need use of a computer, to search the ever increasing amount of information on the internet, and some family history/family tree software to record the data.