Getting started in genealogy

People engage in genealogical research for various reasons, to search for their family roots, to establish a legal right to inherit property or to search for parents or children whose identity has been lost to the family through divorce or adoption. A person begins genealogical research by recording their name on a family tree and then the names of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on.

Always start with yourself and work backwards in a direct line.

Fill out a pedigree chart.
Write down everything you know, names, dates, places. For example: 

b 15 Nov 1863, Botany Bay
d 23 Jan 1936, Sydney
m 19 July 1889, Randwick

Note: When writing dates use the following format: 16 January 1865

  1. Do not use a number for the month as it can be confusing later on,
  2. Always write the year in full so that you know which century you are in,
  3. Surnames should be written in Upper Case (capitals) to avoid confusion between given names and surnames. 

When you have finished filling out the chart, look over it carefully to see where you have blank spots. You may not know:  

  1. a birth, death or marriage date
  2. the place where someone was born, died or was married
  3. a female's maiden name

Now you can begin your search. Where do I look? This will depend on where an event (birth, death, marriage) took place.

The number of genealogy sites on the Internet grows daily. Beginners should look at Cyndis list website and visit the Genealogy eResources page.

Visit your local library to explore more resources and consider joining a Family History Group.