Discovering Your Family Tree

By: Paul Duxbury

Discovering your Family Tree is becoming one of the fastest growing hobbies as more and more of us are inspired to trace our Family Trees. Genealogy, or discovering your family tree, can be a fun and valuable hobby. You will start to learn where you come from and what your family history is all about. You may also discover that your family played a role in historical events and you will certainly discover what impact historical events had on your family.

The hardest part of getting into genealogy for a lot of people is getting started. They just don’t seem to have direction or an idea of how to get going with their research. The best way to get started is actually by getting four things set so that the process is easier. Make sure you have a plan, keep track of a goal, have wide goals, and develop a set of methods that suits you best.

The best first step to take in genealogy is to make sure you have some sort of idea where you want to go. You will have to set a goal so that no matter what you do online or in the library you are always focused on your goal. If you constantly review your information and goals, you will be able to make sure you are always headed in a direction that will aid you in achieving your genealogy goals. The goal doesn’t have to be complex, just make sure you have something in mind that will help you find your way through your family tree and will keep you focused.

Once you have come up with the specific genealogy goal you want to pursue, make sure you have it in front of you all the time. Keep a written copy of your goal or your list of goals in front of you as you research. Handwritten or even printed index cards, a notebook, or notes on a desk top calendar all work well to keep your goals right in front of you. By having goals in front of you at all times, you will be able to stay more focused on what exactly it is that you want. With all of the information available on the internet it can be easy to get distracted or sidetracked by other information and before you know it you are researching other people who may or may not have a connection to your family! This way, you can keep your focus and achieve goals and reach milestones with more frequency.

Third in discovering your family tree or your genealogy research, is to make sure that you pursue your stated goal with a broad stroke. Meaning that you should avoid the temptation to focus your search on a certain site or a certain library and instead go broad to allow yourself a better chance of success. For instance, if there is a very specific relative you want to learn more about, but you only know a name and a place of death. Your temptation might be just search for his name or on a website with information on the city or town where he died. Instead, brush with a broader stroke and begin your search on someone in the family you know more about. Perhaps you know a lot more about his son. Begin by searching for more information on the son and his family to focus you on that section of the family. You will be surprised at how often you will stumble on clues to what your original focus was anyway, by using this method.

Finally, be prepared to discover your own little way of doing things. That seems simple enough, however not everyone is so prepared. What you should do is put together strategies that have worked for you in your search so that you can use them for other genealogy searches. For instance, many people like to run all of their family members’ names through all available search engines. You can use this method and even add other keywords or search terms that might pull genealogy or legal record websites to the top of your results. No matter what method you use, try to remember which methods have worked best for you in the past and add them to your process so that you become more efficient the more you work on genealogy.

Discovering your Family Tree can be a lot of fun. With the increasing popularity and broadening of the internet, as I noted at the outset, many more people are beginning to take up genealogy as a hobby. If you want to get started in this fun hobby, there are four things you should keep in mind. Make sure you have a plan, set and keep track of your goals, brush broad strokes in your searches, and continually develop your own process for success. Once you are ready, the process itself will be much more enjoyable.

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Paul Duxbury owns a wide range of genealogy websites which are amongst some of the most popular on the internet. The latest ones to be launched are and

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