How to Begin

A great way to begin is by printing out all the information you may have in a pedigree chart.  If you have a FamilySearch or Geni account, a fan chart can be created for free here.

Having a visual map of your ancestors is a great help.  You can now see what has been done and what there is next to do.

However, the greatest success in doing family history is by seeking for God's help and guidance.  The next step is to look over the pedigree/fan chart and see what names stand out to you.  Then take that/those name(s) to the Lord in prayer and ask for His guidance.

When you feel inspiration to follow a name, gather the information you have about them.  The most important information is their name with dates and places.  With that in hand, start searching databases. Great places to start:

Make sure to have a Research Log and write down the searches you do.  It's good to include what information you've searched under.  Try different possibilities:

  • first and last name
  • first/last name and date
  • first/last name and place
  • only last name and date
  • different spelling of names
  • etc., etc., etc.

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I live in the present yet feel for the past
Seeking connections and roots that outlast
The change of the seasons, the distance of time
Stories and people who I can call mine

Someone who's part of me -- Who will that someone be?

For the hearts of the children are turning
Turning to fathers they've never seen
And the hearts of the fathers are burning
With the promise of what will be

Play the song "The Hearts of the Fathers are Turning" by Steven Kapp Perry