To many people, producing the family tree is the main goal of ancestry research. This used to be my principal interest in researching my family history but this changed when I started to learn more about my ancestors as individuals.
Although you will discover much about your ancestry through civil registration, parish records and census returns, there will usually be much more information to be revealed with more in-depth research and this is what now fascinates me.
But back to the family tree.
When I first started my research, I had many rough drafts of my family tree to show different branches and generations of my family and used them as a way of recording information as I progressed. The idea was to that when these were confirmed and verified by further research, I would pull them together into one, two or three trees (depending on how big they were).
This has still yet to happen and the reason it hasn’t is because I will be uploading all my research on to a proprietary database such as Ancestry that synchronizes with software on my computer.
The beauty of this is that you can create a free family tree that is infinitely editable and updatable and will display or link to any information, documents, images or records that you have entered on the database.
Not everyone will want to do it this way. Many will wish to create their tree manually on paper or parchment, or even pay and artist or calligrapher to do it for them. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
To get your family tree started, first talk to your relatives and ask them for copies of any birth, marriage or death certificates. Also ask for any photos they may have of your ancestors – it always adds interest if you can see who you’re researching.
There may already be a family historian in your immediate or extended family and it’s always a good idea to ask your relatives if this is indeed the case.
Of course, any information compiled by anyone else should be checked and verified wherever possible.
Start your family tree with the information that you gathered, beginning with yourself, siblings, parents and grandparents and work your way back in time.