Top Tips to Research Your Family History

Tips of the trade

  1. Start with yourself. Identify what you know. Work backwards from you.
  2. Choose the line to research with the good story, uncommon name or oldest living relatives you can talk to.
  3. Gather records in the family possession such as photos, certificates, letters and diaries
  4. Gather oral history. Ask questions “who, what, when, where, why and how”. Identify all heritage photographs.
  5. Check if others are also researching your family and collaborate.
  6. Purchase civil registration certificates – births, deaths and marriages.
  7. Search online. Use various search strategies across multiple sources.  Search broadly then narrow down.
  8. Search offline. Some online sources such as cemetery indexes will assist in your offline research. 
  9. Understand the country of origin of your ancestors and the times in which they lived.
  10. Get and stay organised. Note sources for your information.
  11. Store your research safely. Keep a master copy of your research on your computer and back up regularly.
  12. Publish or share your research and family stories.
  13. Never stop learning!

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