Beginner Genealogists’ Research Guides

For a novice family historian, genealogy might be confusing, but if you’ve decided to dip your toe in the water, you’re in luck! This website has a wealth of materials that will get you up and running in no time. One of the biggest mistakes a new genealogist can make is to dive right into the deep end without understanding what you’re getting yourself into or how to build a strong foundation for your research.

What is Genealogy?

Genealogy is the study of family ancestors with documentation of birth, marriage and death date through parents, grandparents, great grandparents, as far back as possible. Whereas, family history is more an in-depth study of the lineage in a family including the life stories of individuals; like their education, occupations, medical conditions, military service, residences, etc.

What does a Genealogist do?

As a professional genealogist, you research family ancestors in order to determine kinship, lineage, and history. Gathering information utilizing genetic testing, oral histories, and other research, such as births or weddings, is part of your work. You could also be able to educate, publish articles based on your results, and deliver talks.

What does a Genealogist do
What does a Genealogist do

The genealogists work with clients to trace their family roots through public records and historical documents. They consult with clients to find out what they already know about their ancestry and what they hope to learn from genealogical research. 

They also use data from DNA testing in conjunction with contextual information that your clients provide as a starting point for your research. Exploring immigration records, property and tax records, birth certificates, marriage certificates,… put together a family tree that their clients can share with the descendants.

Guide to newbie genealogist 

Start with yourself

You may want to join your grandparents’ generation straight away, but take the time to chronicle your own life’s milestones. By writing down dates and gathering records for yourself, then your siblings and parents, you’re anchoring your research, connecting each generation to the previous, and creating a strong chain of relationships.

Start with yourself
Start with yourself

Fill in the forms

There are numerous formats that might help you document and keep track of your study, but the pedigree chart is the most basic and well-known. You can use paper forms or software, but the online tree is the most frequent. 

Start with the resources closest to you

You might be sitting on a treasure trove of family history if you have old pictures, letters, papers, or even artifacts. Examine those first to see what you can learn. Then, schedule an interview with your older relatives. Bring some of those photographs with you to get them to chat.

Start with the resources closest to you
Start with the resources closest to you

Also, there are a lot of websites that contain information pertinent to your research. Chances are, you have seen the commercials for the Ancestry website and maybe you have even taken a DNA test there.