How do I start a family tree on Ancestry?


21 November 2019
Start a family tree on Ancestry
Discover how to start your family tree on the Ancestry website with this step-by-step guide.

Ancestry is home to the world’s largest online family history resource, bringing together millions of people around the globe. You can join this community by starting a family tree on Ancestry’s website – giving you:

  • An online record of your ancestors
  • The chance to find and work with others who are tracing the same family lines
  • Access (via a paid subscription) to millions of Ancestry records from around the world

How do I get started on Ancestry?

Starting your family tree is simple, as we show in the steps below. You begin by entering your own details and then build your tree person by person, as demonstrated below. The more details you enter, the higher the chance of your details matching those of another person with an Ancestry tree – and you may be able to work together and share your research, discovering new ancestors as you go.

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1 Begin to build your tree

Start with the most recent person (yourself) and then work backwards, adding the details that you know for parents, grandparents and so on. Simply log on to Ancestry and select ‘start a new tree’ on the left of the top black menu bar.

Click ‘add yourself’ then enter any details you can, before pressing ‘save’.

2 Add your parents and grandparents

Your tree is now underway and you can start to add ancestors. Click ‘mother’ or ‘father’ and enter as many details as you know, leaving any unknown fields blank for now – you can always go back to them later on.

You’ll now be prompted to continue adding people generation by generation and as you work, you may start to see green leaves appearing on some of the entries – these are hints that Ancestry may have records relating to that person. Find out more here.

3 How to add facts

Once you have as many ancestors on your tree as you can find, it’s time to add more facts. To do this, find the relevant person on your tree and click their box to open their profile page.

Click ‘facts’ to open a new box where you can add relevant dates and life events. On the right hand side of the box you’ll see a ‘family section’ and if you click ‘add’ here you can put in siblings, parents, spouse and children, so growing your tree.

QUICK LINK: Top Ancestry search tips