Every one of us has long ancestries and searching for our ancestors can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time. There tends to be a person in every family who becomes resilient and obsessed with tracing his or her ancestors. In our family, that person is me. This is the reason why I am online right now writing this article to share with you guys my journey in finding my family tree without paying or spending a buck.
I started with the traditional Genealogy. I talked to the people around me – these are my family, friends, relatives and more. I asked them about themselves and write their stories down. Yup, I log, document, and source every single piece of information that I find. You do the same thing whether it came from your grandparents, Find-A-Grave, Ancestry websites, Census, or any document – even a note written on the back of a certain photo.
Be as detailed as much as possible. Add page numbers, line numbers, book titles, even the dates, and places.
Your goal is to talk to a lot of people and get the facts – important names, relationships, birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, etc. You might want to talk to the oldest people in your family. Or talk to your neighbors who might remember your family. Try to get everything while they’re still alive. Talk to your distant relatives. It’s going to be a lot easier these days because of technology today. You can easily contact them via email, Skype, Facebook or other social media channels. Try to compare if they have the same stories, or they got different ones. Work your way backward in time, little by little, until you got that far enough to find your ancestors. Finally, work your way you’re your ancestors forward in time to find your other relatives.
Tip: Never take as absolute truth what someone else recorded in their tree about your family. If the tree contains names that are new to you (or not), do your own detective work and investigate any sources the other person recorded but don’t rely solely on their info.
Again, there’s no need to go to any paid Ancestry websites such as Find my Past, Ancestry, My Heritage, or resort to Genetic Geneology. Believe me, you can do it without spending dollars! Just be persistent, do your own research. Census is an excellent starting point to find and learn more about your family. In the U.K., you’d find information from 1850–1940 which are especially helpful – they have a list of everyone in the family; you’ll find your grandparents or great grandparents here. Then, you can work your way back to find their parents, and so on. But then again, the information that you may find here can also be sketchy – so make sure that you verify every bit of information that you have collated.
Research is the key, please don’t regurgitate
If you are not into old school approach of documenting everything, you may create a free account at Family Search. Here, you can enter all the information so you’d be able to update it, preserve it, and keep everything organized online. You may also upload all the pictures and other memorabilia – you just need to scan them using a flatbed scanner. You may also use a mobile phone to record your interviews; then upload it on YouTube. Family Search also has tons of records available that you can access for free, so be sure to take advantage of it. Moreover, they also have free online help and volunteer missionaries 24/7 who can help you with your questions. They also have centers across the globe where you can get free help.
We, at Family Tree Shop, wishes you good luck. It’s a tough task but definitely, you will gain an appreciation and perspective that will bless your lives in so many ways!