Some might view it as old fashioned, but there’s no doubt that there is still a place in the heart for the traditional family tree. Long before the internet, these were something that fascinated families, even if the elusive people search sometimes did border on the frustrating.
Fortunately, the fascination-factor does still exist. This is the reason we have penned today’s article, and we are now going to take a look at some suggestions to help beginners get their family tree up and running for the first time.
Make sure you work backwards
First and foremost, it’s completely fine setting goals in relation to your family tree. It’s fine to say that you want to date your history back to 1900, or your date of choice.
However, don’t under any circumstances try and start your research from 1900. In short, you’re not going to get anywhere. Nobody from this era is unfortunately alive, meaning that you are starting with a blank canvas with absolutely no assistance.
Instead, look to start from the current date. You should hopefully have a decent pool of relatives, who can all provide you with that elusive starting information which will make your hunt for more data so much easier.
Keep track of everything you research
A common mistake made by a lot of people putting together their family tree is that they don’t document any of their progress. Considering the fact that these trees can take years, even decades, to put together, this is a crucial mistake.
You will find that you start to duplicate information and as such, duplicate your workload. You will research data that you actually found years ago and considering the fact that this is supposed to be done in your free time, this is a really inefficient way of working.
Don’t discount the power of archives
There’s no doubt that people search services have made family trees much easier to form, but at the same time you shouldn’t discount traditional archives. This might be in the form of local records, or your library, which tends to house original documents of everything. This is something that can help you out considerably when you start rolling back the years and ultimately, trying to piece together information on relatives who haven’t been alive for some time.
Start drawing quickly
Unsurprisingly, a family tree tends to be displayed quite visually. Despite this, a lot of historians don’t actually start drawing their tree until very late in the day. In other words, they collect all of their information, and then put together a tree. Some would suggest that this approach is vindicated, and perhaps organized. However, it can mean that it becomes very hard to track your progress and at times it can be quite demotivating. By drawing your tree early, you will immediately see where the land lies, which eras you still need to cover and ultimately, you can see just how your work is bearing fruit.