Start with what you know. Yourself!
The easiest way to begin building your family tree is start with you. Download or print MGC's six-generation chart. Record your information and then start moving back in time. Add in information on your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other relatives until you get to where you don’t know any more.
Okay, now what’s my next step?
Use resources you have at home or have available through your family.
- Family Bibles
Now it's time to search for records!
The United States conducts a census every 10 years. Trace your family decade by decade. At home, you can search the census with HeritageQuest Online with your library card. At MGC, you can search with Ancestry Library Edition and Findmypast.
Vital Records (birth, marriage and death):
At the Midwest Genealogy Center, you will find access to databases, books, periodicals, microfilm, and maps that cover the United States as well as countries around the world. Information like this can help you move back through generations in your family's history.
Tips and Advice
- Use maiden names for women.
- Record every alternative name a person used.
- Record dates in a day/month/year format (Example: 4 July 1776)
- Look at family photograph albums, Bibles, etc.
- Use genealogy charts to organize your family tree
- Thinking about using a genealogy software program - Look through listing at http://cyndislist.com/software.
- Remember to evaluate each piece of information you find. Try to find another piece of evidence that supports your original discovery.
- Record your sources.