Three practical tips for those just starting their family research.
Getting started with your family history can be a bit overwhelming. Follow these three basic tips and you'll avoid some of the common traps that beginners fall into.
Start with Yourself
- Work backwards through each generation.
- Work from the known to the unknown.
- Interview relatives, particularly those older than yourself.
- Write or talk to family members.
- Ask them about family names, where the people lived, when and from where they emigrated.
- Some records may be held within the family; e.g. letters, school yearbooks, wills, photographs, birth, marriage and death certificates.
- Write down what you find and where - you may want to go back at a later stage. For example:
- What institution?
- Which collection of records?
- What volume and page number?
- Which microfilm reel?
- Record the sources you have searched, even if the results are negative.
Chart Your Progress
- Various family history charts recommended by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists can be downloaded from their website.
- Many genealogical computer programs are now available. A local genealogy group may be able to advise you on the pros and cons of the various programs.