Don’t know where to start in gathering your family history information? The following ideas may help.

1. Write down what you know. Start with yourself. Use the chart below to enter the family history information you already know. If you do not know exact dates and places, estimate them. Circle any missing or incomplete information, and decide what you want to find first.

2. Talk with your family. Contact your family and friends. Record any useful information and stories they provide. Ask about copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as journals, letters, photos, and other records that might be available. Find out if they know other people you should contact.

3. Search other sources. Gather your records. Start with the records you already have, and organize them in one place. Explore online sources. Visit for free access to family history records, guides, and resources. You will also find links to other helpful websites. Get personal help. Visit a local FamilySearch family history center for free personal help and many other valuable services. Center staff may also direct you to other local community resources. Find a center near you online at

4. Preserve and share what you have gathered. Your relatives and friends may also be interested to learn more about their ancestors and heritage. You can preserve and share your family history with the free software at

Learn more in the article “Getting Started with Family History (By Starting at the Beginning).”

Below is a simplified family tree chart you may find helpful. (Click to see a larger version.)




This information is from a former publication from FamilySearch.



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