If you're one of those people who's always wanted to create a family tree, then there's no better time to start than now, as there's never been so many resources at the click of a button. It really is something that every family should get around to. You might uncover some surprises, some sadness or even some family secrets - you might even find that you're related to somebody famous! No matter what your family tree uncovers, when its done, you're sure to be overcome with a sense of achievement and satisfaction, and of course, it's also something that can be handed down to your kids and future generations.
Now considering your own family tree? Well, the first thing you should do, is to find out has it been researched before. This is the most obvious thing to do before you ever start, but it's not always easy finding out whether it's been done, or whether some other relative is currently researching it too! You need to search directories, genealogy sites and basically just ask relatives.
Once you've established this, you can move onto the next stage which is gathering information. But where do you start? Start at home. Gather documents, photos, papers, newspaper cuttings, diaries, basically anything that gives you information on your grandparents and their parents etc. When you've collected as much family records as you can, it's time to interview your relatives, but start with your own parents and concentrate on one part of the tree at the time. You should also record where your relatives were born, where they lived, if they married, where they worked and where they are buried.
Always work backwards in a family tree, starting with you, your parents, grandparents etc. The further back you go the more difficult it may be to obtain information so this is where it really gets tough! You will end up looking for wills, birth, marriage, death records, immigrations records, land deed etc.
In the modern world however, there are many resources such as the internet for researching our ancestors. If you're looking for Irish ancestors then you should look at the census returns, the civil registration records, the parish registers, Griffith's valuation and the Tithe Books. The General Register Office is located in Dublin city and contains records of births, marriages and deaths from all over Ireland, but only starting from the year 1864.
If you do hit a brick wall with your research, then the next thing you can do is seek professional assistance from one of the many Irish Genealogy databases and let them do the hard work for you. Provided with the basic information such as a location and name some most online databases can pinpoint exactly where your ancestors lived! Other online sources available at your fingertips include obtaining a copy of an original birth certificate, finding the location of your ancestors grave and even obtaining record of the exact inscription on a gravestone! You can also search the Famine Ship records online.
By now, your family tree should be well established. And if you're not already inspired, you might want to take your research to the next level and visit the home of your ancestors. Once you've established where they came from, you can visit the local church, the local library or the local graveyard. You could also see exactly where they lived and maybe meet some living relatives
Besides the General Register Office other places to conduct your research in Ireland include the Genealogical Office which is next to the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives, the Valuation Office and the Registry of Deeds.
Hope this helps you in starting your own family tree. Remember to have fun researching and piecing together the jigsaw and you never know who you might be related to! Anthropologists claim that everyone is a 40th cousin, so that's something to think about!
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