Starting Your Family Tree by Following the 22 Steps

When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.” – Alex Haley – Author of ‘Roots: The Saga of an American Family’

This article is based on Chapter One of my book the “22 Steps in Researching My Family Tree”. The information is for new genealogists who plan on researching their own family tree.

What is a Family Tree?

A Family Tree can also be referred to as a Pedigree Chart. It is a diagram or chart that displays different people and family members and their relationships over several generations of a family. It is also called a genealogical tree.

It is my intention that each blog article in the future will provide you with the necessary steps you should take in researching your family tree. You will be provided with lots of information and web links for you to start your genealogy research for your family tree.

Genealogy – What is it?

Genealogy is the study of family trees. It typically involves looking into the past for family members and their ancestors.

The interest in genealogy started about 100 years ago when people were starting to become more interested in their past, specifically what happened to them after they died. Genealogists are able to find out who your relatives are by using resources like census records, birth certificates, death certificates, birth announcements, marriage announcements and even advertisements.

How Do I Start Researching My Family Tree?

There are many different tools and websites that can help you start. It all depends on what type of information you want to find out.

There are a number of ways that you can find out about your family tree, such as:

  • Public records like census data and wills
  • Private records like letters and photographs
  • DNA testing
  • Family history websites
  • Genealogy software
Why Should I Research My Genealogy?

Genes are the fundamental building blocks of our physical make up and those genes dictate some basic aspects of our lives. For instance, those genes determine how tall we’ll grow, what color our hair is, how wide our nose is, and whether or not we have a family history of diabetes.

Genealogy research is a systematic investigation into your ancestry. It helps you understand which areas of the world your ancestors came from and their genetic traits.

Getting To Know More About Yourself

If you’re looking for a way to learn more about yourself and your heritage, then genealogy research is the answer. It’s a rewarding process that can help you find out more about who you are as an individual.

Genealogy is a family history tracing your lineage and ancestral history.

Throughout this future series of blog articles and if you follow the step-by-step procedure you will gain the knowledge and the tools to research your ancestors efficiently. I will endeavour to pass on important facts and website links so you can further your genealogy skills and knowledge. You will then be able to research your family tree and reach your genealogy goals. You will be guided in each blog with the necessary tools to enable you to become an efficient genealogist finding facts about your ancestors. Before you know it – you will have an awesome family tree to share with your family.

You are probably like millions of other people around the world who are curious about finding out where your ethnic and cultural backgrounds came from. You have come to the right place in your quest to help guide you in your search of your own unique genealogy background.

A few years ago, I was probably just like you as I didn’t know where to start unless I was talking or getting information from my mother. The Internet is now a very valuable resource. Anyone with a computer and the Internet can get information on their ancestors if they know where to look.

What Will You Get If You Follow This Blog?

The aim of this and future blog articles is to pass on the tools I feel will help you in achieving your goals in finding out more about your ancestors.

Researching your family tree may be a hobby or a passion but it will consume your life and become an addiction. Having a starting point and set of guidelines to follow will help you to achieve your goals.

Reaching those goals all depends on your thirst for family ancestral knowledge. Your curiosity and dedication in finding those answers await to be discovered through your hours research.

If you are beginner genealogist and are starting your family tree from scratch then the best way to start is with yourself and then work back in time. Look in the mirror and start your quest. You will definitely get some personal enjoyment and achieve personal satisfaction while uncovering facts of your ancestors. You will learn some very interesting details about where they came from and how they lived their lives.

As you research your family tree, find documents with relevant data of your ancestors. Record the information you researched into a log or keep a journal. Keep a separate journal on each family researched to help you as you work on your family tree. I would suggest to colour code each log or journal that you use to identify each individual family unit.

Start A Free Online Genealogy Subscription

Initiate your online family tree research on genealogy websites such as Ancestry, MyHeritage, or FindMyPast to research your ancestors. I would personally start with a ‘Free Membership’ first. You will gain more skills and tools as you progress on your family tree. As you become more familiar with the genealogy website and gathering information on your tree you can upgrade to a ‘Paid Subscription’ to have access to more tools and features on the site.

Genealogy resources on the Internet are mind boggling and can be quite over-whelming in your search. You should formulate an action plan and execute it so that you can reach your overall goal. That goal is to put together a professional looking family tree.

Setting Goals and Following a Set of Steps

Tracing your family tree starts where you should follow a guideline or a set of rules. Each family search is different but you can follow the same steps for each family that you research. During each step you will have website links to use while you research your family tree for gathering facts of family members.

Steps to start your journey are quite simple. Researching your family roots can be quite time consuming and can take years to complete. Is there someone in your family who has already started your family tree. Gather whatever information you can from your living relatives and use the information that has already been started.

Get the proper documentation for the information you researched and the proper source citation. Search the Internet, church records, obituaries, historical and genealogical societies in the area where your ancestor lived. Become a member of an online Ancestry Group to reach out during your search. Once you do that – research another family member. Keep repeating the process over and over again until you think your done. The ancestry wheel keeps turning as you discover more facts as they unfold.

Setting Your Sights and Leaving a Legacy

At a certain point in your research you might want to create and write a book about your family tree to leave as a keepsake. Something left in your legacy to pass down to your children and grandchildren.

  • Have you started a family tree?
  • Are you unsure of where to start your tree?
  • Are you still working on a tree?

If you haven’t started your family tree that’s okay. You can start by downloading and using my checklist or you can purchase a copy of my book “22 Steps In Researching Your Family Treeon Amazon.


Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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