Start your family history or refresh your family history skills!
Welcome to the first-ever Family Tree Family History Week!
We’re so glad that you have joined us online for our free genealogy jamboree and can’t wait to share and exchange ideas to help you start tracing your family history or, if you’ve already been bitten by the genealogy bug, take your research to the next level.
Our Family History Week promises seven fantastic days of learning opportunities, jam-packed with genealogy advice to help all family historians, whether novice or experienced, discover new things about the hobby they love.
Many of us are intrigued by our family’s past, but may not know our ancestors’ names beyond our two sets of grandparents – and plenty of people don’t even know that much, so don’t worry if you are among them. So if you want to know who’s in your family tree, then you’ve come to the right place to start the search to find your family roots.
‘How do I start tracing my family tree?’
The answer is always, start with yourself, and what you know, and work backwards. Draw up a basic family tree, beginning with your own birth and marriage details, those of your own descendants (ie your children and their children) and of your siblings and their families. Write down your parents’ details, such as full names, birth, marriage and (if applicable) death dates and (if you know the details) all the information you know about their siblings and parents – your grandparents.
These are the basic beginnings of your family tree and from here you’ll soon be stepping into the world of real records. You’ll be doing hands-on research using birth, marriage and death certificates from the General Register Office (GRO), which go back to 1837 (the start of civil registration) for England and Wales, and the census, which takes place every 10 years. Online you can find the census for England and Wales and Scotland available from 1911 right back to 1841 and the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
It’s also important to chat to older relatives, if you can, to record their memories and any information they may have about other family members. You may want to capture an interview on film, with their permission (watch out for Family Tree team member Lauren Beharrell’s legacy video in which she interviews her grandfather).
You may find relatives have key family history documents, such as BMD certificates and old photographs, which they may be able to provide you with copies of. Not only will this save you money on the cost of certificates, but it can provide key clues to who’s who in your family tree – and give you precious glimpses into your family’s hidden past.
3 free articles and video guides that may interest you:
* How to do your family tree – 60-second video guide for family history beginners
* Family history records – what’s held where
Or you can download our How to Start Your Family Tree digital guide (priced £4.99).
‘I’ve been doing my family tree for a while, what next?’
If you are a more experienced family historian with a few months or even years of research under your belt, well done! You may have started out in the days before the internet revolutionised how we study our family history, and visiting archives and sorting through old documents takes real dedication. You’ll be familiar with the delights and disasters of tracing your family tree, although, thankfully, the rewards are usually far, far greater than the pitfalls.
Everyone can get stuck in their genealogy searches once in a while, in what the family history community is known as a ‘brick wall’, but by refreshing your family history skills during Family History Week, we aim to help you break them down – or at least navigate around them!
Not only that, but DNA for family history is a rapidly growing new resource for family historians – and we’ll be publishing lots of fresh DNA genealogy advice in our programme this week, to keep your learning bang up to date as you start to grow your tree back to its ancient roots. You may discover cousins you never knew existed, right across the globe.
3 free articles that may interest you:
Keep returning to this special area of our website during Family History Week from 16-22 April 2018 for family history tutorials, useful downloads, essential guides, prizes, quizzes and much more.
Family Tree would love family historians and genealogy businesses from all sectors of the heritage community to get involved in the event across social media platforms, so be sure to catch all the coverage by using the hashtag #FHWeek
Helen Tovey, Editor of Family Tree, says: ‘We’re really excited to be launching our first online Family History Week, and we’d like to welcome family historians from all over the world to join in. Our genealogy jamboree will include downloads, guides and discussions to help you trace your tree. From getting starting to getting organised, from dusty old documents to DNA, we’re going to be covering genealogy gems like this during the week. And our goal is that by the end of the seven days we’ll all know a whole lot more about our family histories and would have had a lot of fun learning too!’
• Family Tree is Britain’s longest-running family history magazine, and since it’s very first issue back in 1984 it has tried to listen to and serve the genealogy community. Last year the team from Family Tree dedicated many hours to researching what it was that today’s family historians were after. Poring over the survey responses they came across numerous great ideas, but a few in particular stood out, including many calls for more genealogy learning opportunities. The result? Family History Week.