Work Backwards

Whatever you do in your research, start with yourself and work backwards, generation by generation, ensuring that you have verified your sources at each stage.


You must be systematic and organised - you'll collect a lot of information. Start with a simple filing system using A4 binders with loose-leaf pages and subject dividers, and an index card file for each of the family names/members and events. Have somewhere to keep certificates and other documents. While your record keeping may be methodical, it must also be honest. There are always skeletons in the cupboard to a greater or lesser degree - do not ignore them.


Assemble all the information you can from relatives. Gather together - or take copies of - all the available birth, marriage and death certificates of family members, or ask for the approximate dates of birth, marriage and death. Talk to as many relatives as possible, including the eldest. They will all have information; some that they'll readily tell you, though they may be reluctant with revealing certain events. Make comprehensive notes.

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