Three Tips for Finding Your Ancestors and Figuring out the Past

Awkward family

Did you know that genetic testing has shown that about 8% of men in a large region of Asia, or .5% of men in the world, are descended from Genghis Khan and his close relatives? Because of their social influence, multiple wives, and unfortunately rape, he and his descendants were remarkably prolific.

Genealogy is an interesting field of study, and you yourself might be interesting in learning how to find your ancestors. Here are three steps you can take toward reuniting with information about your family of old.

1. Collect Your Information

To make your journey easier, you will first want to get all the leads you can about your family. For many of us, it is difficult to find records of our ancestors going back more than a century or so. Even these names, however, can be helpful for establishing links and figuring out genealogy. Write everything down. Talk to everyone, not just your immediate relations, since great aunts and second cousins can sometimes be the key to uncovering further documentation.

2. Family Tree Finders Online

With the advent of the internet, many sites have catalogued thousands of documents in order to offer you premium genealogical services. Some are free, while others you pay a subscription for. Some of the top rated sites include Ancestry, Archives, and Familysearch. Genealogy Today, Family Tree Searcher, and the Olive Tree are all good starting places if you are looking for free ancestry sites. Keep in mind that in most cases, to get a more complete family tree you might need to visit several websites, not just one.

3. Family History Centers

There are about 4,400 family history centers that operate throughout 134 countries, and they all trace back to the foundation of the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1894, who established the Family History Library that links to all the history centers. The library holds genealogical records from over 110 countries, with a total collection of 2.4 million microfilmed genealogical record rolls. If you can find one nearby, this can be a great resource for free ancestry records, and you can request a loan of any information they lack from another center for a small fee.

Do you have any tips for using family tree finders? Let us know in the comments!

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