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  1. Write down everything you know about yourself, your own family, and your parents’ families.

  3. Test your own knowledge of your family tree by filling out a pedigree chart that includes you, your parents, and as many generations beyond them as possible. Include their full names as well as dates and places for their births, marriages, and deaths.

  5. Talk to your oldest living family members to mine their memories for family history information. Each relative is likely to remember parts of the family story that others have forgotten, so be thorough!

  7. Evaluate the resources already available in your family by going through your own attic and by asking relatives to do the same. Look for family heirlooms, old photographs, and official documents. These may help you to uncover more family information, and such documents are an excellent way to verify dates or places that family members have given you in oral interviews.

  9. After evaluating what you have, set a specific research objective (e.g., find great-grandfather’s birthdate). The next step will be to search records online or to visit a library or archive that has the information you are looking for.


*Pedigree charts, suggested family history interview questions, and family history resources are available online at the Ancestors website.

*See the Ancestors website for series air dates and times on your local PBS station.


All material made available courtesy of ANCESTORS/KBYU ©2001. All Rights Reserved.