Tracing your Family Tree
Genealogy as a pastime has never been as popular as it undoubtedly is today. With the growth of information on the internet and the popularity of television programmes such as the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?
, a wealth of practical information now exists in printed and online form to help get you started in this addictive hobby. ONLINE HELP
- The BBC's Family History website is a good place to start in explaining the basics of family history research.
- Family Tree Magazine & Practical Family History also have a useful online guide called Just starting to trace your family tree?
- Use a website like RootsWeb – funded by Ancestry.com. Most of the content is free as its primary function is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. You can join mailing lists and search message boards relating to surnames, places and occupations etc.
- The National Archives in London have compiled a series of quick animated quides to help if you're planning a trip to their archives.
Numerous books have been written on the subject of tracing your family tree. Look in your local library, the Dewey reference for these books is 929.1 or ask the librarian what books they have. You could also look in the History or Hobbies sections of bookshops.
- Leaflets and Guides
Many organisations holding archives and records produce helpful booklets explaining what records they have and how to use their service. Before making a trip, contact the organisation to see if they can send you this information. They may also hold ‘starter sessions’ which are a way of introducing newcomers to the facilities available.
You may also find it helpful to purchase one of the numerous Family History magazines published monthly and available from newsagents or by subscription. Some libraries may also hold back copies of these. Some of the most popular magazines are:-
Family History Monthly
Family Tree Magazine & Practical Family History
Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine – the family history magazine published by the BBC.
Your Family Tree
- Go to classes to learn how to trace your family tree. Local education providers often offer evening classes to help guide beginners. Details can usually be obtained from local libraries or newspapers.
- Join a family history society, one local to your own area and also one in the area(s) where your ancestors came from. Annual membership fees are payable to the societies. They also publish quarterly magazines and hold regular meetings. Some also arrange conferences and fairs.
Click here for information on Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society.
To search for other Societies, click here for the Federation of Family History Societies.