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Getting Started

ancestral welcome

Here are a number of common recommendations for genealogical research.

  1. Start from the present and work back
    Although it may seem obvious, many people do make the mistake of trying to start too far back in time. This can mean that information can get entangled and important family links are missed. You should also record everything you find out.

  2. Talk to family members
    There is usually at least one member of a family, often an older member, who tends to keep track or memories of birthdays, relationships and geographical movements. This information, although needing to be checked and verified, can prove invaluable. If such things are not recorded then small pieces of information can be lost when that person dies.

  3. Family documents.
    There are all sorts of things that can inform you research. Birth, death and marriage certificates are obvious documents. Less obvious sources include insurance policies, military discharge documents, letters, school reports and obituaries in newspapers.

  4. Photographs
    Photographs can be extremely useful as they can jog someone’s memory as to who it is, when and where it was taken.

  5. Gravestones
    Although many ordinary people could not afford a headstone in the past, if you can find one then it may prove useful. In Angus we are fortunate that old burial records have now been digitised (see our Local Resources page).

  6. Record in detail
    Record not just what you found but where you found it. The more you find, the less easy it will be to keep it all in your memory. Once you have a basic family tree it will be easier to track down original records and fill in the blanks.

Remember, you are looking for names, ages, places, events.

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