Family Tree Researching
Filling in the Gaps on Your Family Tree
Just about all of us would like to know where we came from, and when and how our ancestors arrived to start a new life. Many of us have thought about creating a detailed family tree, but we may have been intimidated by the seemingly complicated and difficult nature of the task.
Fortunately modern technology has made the search for the family tree and family history a great deal easier. Not only do innovations such as email, websites and cell phones make it easier to interview living relatives, but the many genealogical websites and vital records available online make it easier than ever before to gather information about relatives long gone. Whether your family came over on the Mayflower or just arrived last year, chances are creating a family tree is easier than you think.
The creation of the perfect family tree begins as so many documents do – with the blank page. It can be discouraging to see all those blank squares on the family tree chart in front of you, but in fact you may already have more information than you realize. As you begin to fill in the blanks with the names of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents and other relatives you may find that the blank family tree begins to take life rather quickly.
When filling in the names of the women in your family, it is important to include their maiden names in the blocks. Having these maiden names will make it much easier to research the family history back further. Under each name on the tree should be recorded such information as date of birth, the city where they were born, the date of their marriage and if applicable the date of their death.
When completing this initial phase, do not be too concerned about the information you do not know. The purpose of this initial exercise is simply to record what you do know, and that information can be used to fill in the missing squares on the chart later on.
The idea behind the family tree is to move backward in time, filling in information as you move backward through parents, grandparents and others. As you move backward through the family tree, don’t forget to contact living relatives for information on their own parents, grandparents and other relatives. This information can be extremely valuable to your further research. When talking to your parents, grandparents and other relatives, be sure to ask about maiden names, birth dates, marriage dates, and so on. This information will be useful in tracking down additional information about relatives further back in the family tree.
After you have gathered this additional information about your grandparents, great grandparents and those further back in the history of your family, be sure to record these names on your family tree as soon as you can, while the memories are still fresh in your mind. Record as much information as you have, including each relative’s date of birth, date of death, married name, marriage dates, maiden name and so on. This information will be very valuable as you search the many public and private records available on the internet in search of still more information on those relatives in your family history.
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