Hampshire Genealogical Society

Research tips

Are you just beginning to research your Family History?

Not a beginner? You may find some reminders useful!

Look at these tips for researching:

  1. Start your family tree with the information you know. Add yourself and all the relatives whose names you know to your tree, and add any birthdays and other life facts you know. Remember to add spouses of biological relatives. Look through records and marked photos of family members for more information.
  2. Talk to your relatives. Family members are often among the most valuable family history resources. Ask members of your family what they know and which family documents they have. Listen to their stories and compare story versions. Download free interview questions to get started.
  3. Create a list of existing documents. Ask your relatives whether they have any letters, newspaper clippings, obituaries, photo albums, medals, photos, postcards, Bibles, diaries, certificates of naturalization, or even family heirlooms with engravings. Make a detailed list of who owns what and request copies or photos of the items you’ve captured.
  4. Announce on social media that you’re exploring your family history. Facebook and other social media companies can be useful tools for connecting you to family members and family friends with whom you don’t regularly converse, some of whom may reach out. Sending direct messages to specific family members or family friends can also be effective.
  5. Keep track of your sources. Whenever you collect information, record your sources. This can help you confirm information, resolve conflicting details, and return to sources to mine more data.
  6. Learn about the places in which your ancestors lived. Familiarizing yourself with the geography and history of these locations can provide you with context for your ancestors’ lives. You may be able to view historical maps online and even access old street names and country borders may that may have since changed.


Kay Lovell

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