Getting Started with Genealogy

Genealogy is the study and tracing of family pedigrees. This involves the collection of names of relatives, both living and deceased, and establishing the relationships among them based on primary, secondary and/or circumstantial evidence or documentation, thus building up a cohesive family tree.

However, simply building up a list of names and dates is likely to end up being dull - you should try and find out as much information about your ancestors as possible, and using this you can then put together their stories and gain an understanding of how they lived their life, which is what most family historians aim for.

Finding out about your ancestors and their lives can give you a sense of excitement, and a need to know more - thus, Genealogy as a hobby can become pleasantly addictive for the researcher.

If you wish to research your family tree there are many starting points to put you on your ancestors' trail. Download or request a free Family History Guide here.

If you are beginning your research it is wise to find out as much from all living relatives, perhaps recording their recollections on tape or video. It's also a good idea to have a glossary available, for any terms or abbreviations that you don't understand.

To record and organise the information about your ancestors choose a family history program, such as RootsMagic. You can also use an online family tree builder, such as TreeView. Computers have become an essential part of research and a great aid to publishing the results.