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Top tips for family tree research

Researching your family tree is something we’d all love to tackle but for some, it can seem like a daunting challenge. Many of us don’t know where to start while others simply don’t have the time or patience. Therefore, here are our top tips to get you started and help you research your own family line:

  1. First of all, check to see whether anyone else has researched your family history. Go onto sites like and or get in touch with the Society of Genealogists as they collect all published and unpublished family histories and any research notes.
  2. If no one has started your family tree, it’s wise to start at the very beginning and work backwards in time. It’s easier to get going with your research, using something like the date of a birth or marriage.
  3. Speak to parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents – ask them what they remember. Make a note of any nicknames, name changes or family incidents.
  4. Take notes. Jot down everything you uncover. You never know what information will come in handy later on in your research.
  5. Seek out relevant documents such as birth, marriage and death records, wills, military service or tax records. These will all help you to uncover the secrets of your ancestors.
  6. What about other family historians. Again, check out the Society of Genealogists – the UK’s largest genealogical society – and look at its vast and varied library plus programme of talks, workshops and seminars. You can find your own local society through the Federation of Family History Societies.
  7. Learn everything you can about family tree research. Buy or hire books, visit relevant websites and read specialist magazines. There’s a lot of information available out there so make the most of it!
  8. Go online and visit sites such as Sites such as these can be very helpful but can be expensive when they can sometimes charge you over £60 for copies of birth, death or marriage certificates.
  9. Be prepared to travel around the UK, visiting graveyards, libraries, councils and registry offices. It can take quite a lot of effort to make progress with your family tree research. Certainly expect the unexpected.
  10. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to stay focused. It can be all too easy to become overwhelmed with information. Family tree research can also be very frustrating, especially when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. Just try and keep a clear goal in your head and you should achieve your objectives.

That should be enough to get you started but if you just don’t have the time to research your family line, then please get in touch. At Family Tree Genie, we have the skills and expertise to carry out family tree research on your behalf. It’s what we do best. We take the hassle out of genealogy and do everything for you. That includes visits to relevant registry offices, councils and libraries and ongoing research both online and offline.

Our service is especially helpful to customers who live in America or Australia and are keen to uncover their own English heritage, tracing their ancestors here in the United Kingdom. Whichever your situation, please email us with your story and we’ll do our best to help uncover your family’s past.

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