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Tracing Your Family Tree – Top Tips

Our extensive database of surname histories and coats of arms helps you to trace the history of your own surname, and fascinating facts about its origin. If you are thinking of tracing your specific family history, there are several things to consider which could help you on your way.

1.

Above all, keep your search specific and manageable, focusing on one or two family members at a time. Otherwise you risk becoming swamped with information which is likely to make your search confused and unmanageable.

2.

Make sure that you keep your discoveries in one place! Whether that is on your computer, or a folder with copies of information.

3.

When tracing your family tree it is important to talk to family members and relatives. They are an invaluable source of information for the family history enthusiast. They may well have leads which can help you on your way to tracing the roots of your family tree and its recent history. These therefore might include printed family records and certificates for you to make copies of.

4.

Search your home for family history records – you never know what you might find! Furthermore, diaries, school records and photographs can all provide vital clues.

5.

Join a local family history society – most can be found on the website of the Federation of Family History Societies, which is an educational charity aimed at offering information and support to its membership.

6.

Have a look at magazines specifically written for the family history enthusiast. You will find a wide variety of articles which may certainly help you on your way to compiling your family history and research. Magazines include Family Tree Magazine, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, Your Family Tree Magazine and many more.

Advertisers often include professionals that can help with your search. Links to some magazines can be found here. If your search is focussed in Scotland, you may like to look at a free copy of one of a variety of magazines available.

7.

Look on social media such as facebook and twitter to find groups or societies that could help you with your search.

8.

Check all available records, such as parish records, birth, marriage and death certificates, census information, military records and more. There are of course many websites that can help you with this search for minimal cost, such as Find My Past and Ancestry. Links to some organisations can be found here.

9.

Be aware that over the generations, surname spellings have changed and consequently this might have an impact on your search. Discover more about you surname history here.

10.

Finally, enjoy your family history research and tracing your family tree! Your journey of discovery is certainly likely to reveal some fascinating facts about your family and its roots.

Good Luck!

Did you find this article useful? These links may also be helpful:

Tips from a professional genealogist

Tracing your Welsh ancestors (provided by Who Do You Think You Are Magazine)

Tracing your Irish roots

Does my family name have a coat of arms?

Who’s who in your family?

Getting started with your family research

What’s in a name? (provided by Who Do You Think You Are Magazine)

Find out if we have the coat of arms and surname history for your surname by clicking here.

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