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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree April 2018 > HOW TO START DOING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY


June Terrington has been researching her family history for years and it’s a hobby she truly loves. If you’d like to begin tracing your family tree, read on, and she’ll show you those steps you need to take


Make a note of each new family history detail, fact or story you discover. This will save you forgetting or muddling those all-important clues you find


Excellent news – you’re thinking of starting on your family history trail, and I would really like to encourage you to take that first step. Today genealogy is an ever-growing pastime, with thousands of books, websites, and museums to help you, not to mention internet chat groups, online family trees, DNA tests and more to explore. Family history is most definitely a rewarding hobby, yet the cost of doing it can be something that worries many of us. Don’t panic, however, as there are many free sites and sources to aid your investigations into your family tree.

What do you want to discover?

First decide how you want to tackle your research. Do you want to follow your maternal or paternal line or just go with the flow? My advice is don’t overload your head with too many branches to begin with. Keep it simple at first and there will be time in due course to widen your search. Remember that each generation you get back on your family tree, the branch multiplies – you have four grandparents, but eight greatgrandparents, etc. So, initially, just try to concentrate on one line.

Make good notes!

From the outset, try to make notes of your discoveries. To begin with this can just mean writing a summary of what you’ve discovered in your research session (and a research session might mean chatting with your mum and gleaning clues, or sitting down at the computer and looking online).

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About Family Tree

What is it that you're yearning to discover about your family history? Just thinking of starting to do your family tree? We can help (see our beginner tips this issue). Looking to stretch your learning? Check out our Academy pages to get practical experience to improve your research knowledge and skills. Or just want a spot of ancestor-hunting inspiration and a great read (our reader stories are cracking!)? You've come to the right place. These are just a few of the genealogy gems to be found within the pages of Family Tree - enjoy!