Planning your Research

The best way to start planning your research is to write down details about your immediate family.

Start by writing an account of your life

This is a good way to start the process of generating a routine for your researching as you develop the ancestors details you find.

  • Begin by writing down all your own details. Your children and grandchildren or other relatives may want to know about you. This is the time when information will be comprehensive. Once you start going back in time this type of detailed information begins to get a bit thin on the ground. So why not make future generations who wish to know about you as complete as possible.

Start from what you know

Begin by gathering information about close relatives. You will know much more about your parents and something about your four grandparents. As you go back further generation, your grandparents each had two parents giving your eight great grandparents. The next generation will give you sixteen great-great-grandparents. And so it goes on making your family tree grow.

Click here to see a list of good research basic principles. These will enable you to work backwards in time, from yourself and give you a comprehensive picture of you and your parents.

  • Document their full names and dates and places of birth.
  • Your mothers’ maiden name may also be useful when starting your 'maternal line'
  • Find birth, death and marriage certificates for your immediate family. Certificates not only give details on the person the certificate belongs to, in most cases it will also provide information on their parents or partners. If you do not have copies of the appropriate certificates, they can be ordered from places such as the Family Records Centre or the General Register Office.
  • Speak to old relatives, such as your grandparents, and ask them about their lives, memories and names of their parents and grandparents.
  • Ask your relatives if they have previously completed any other genealogical research in the wider family. This could save you a lot of time and effort if research has already been done.
  • Search for old family photographs or diaries, ask your relatives if they have any items that might be useful in your research. You can gain a lot of information from relatives, so make sure you ask around and document anything useful that you find out.

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