Planting and Growing Your Family Tree
What kind of detective are you? Do you enjoy research – starting off with one tiny fact and discovering that it leads on to an entire new subject/person? Do you know if another family member has started a family tree that includes you and your family?
Why not make a start on your own family tree now?
Here are some easy suggestions to get you started:
- Start with a blank notebook and write down your own personal details full name (maiden name if you are female) and date/place of birth; plus, the same details for both marriage and death. Can you support these facts with the relevant certificates?
- The record the same details, on following pages, for your spouse and any children and grandchildren. Note divorce/s, second marriage/s or de facto spouses and/or any step children.
- Now move on to separate pages for your own parents and your siblings, plus, the same for your in-laws. Using this format, progress to grandparents and further back, if you can.
- Locate as many birth, marriage and death records as you can.
- Search census records to discover where your family lived at different stages and times.
- Store your family records in archival quality boxes and files. Scan and digitise whatever you can.
- Download a blank Ancestral Chart from the internet and fill in as many details as you can (tip – use a pencil until your family tree is complete).
- Based on your discoveries, write the stories of your family ancestors or engage a professional personal historian/memoirist to help you with your project.
- Join a family history society to learn as much as you can by using their resources, both hard copy and internet genealogy programmes.
These practical suggestions can start you on a marvellous voyage of discovery as you establish your own family tree, which will become a priceless legacy to pass on to your children. Make a start in February!
Annie Payne, History from the Heart, Preserving Australian Life Stories Since 1988