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Where to start? My teenager wants to do her family tree

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#1 ~Kay~

Posted 03 September 2018 - 06:54 AM


My 13 year old is interested in doing her family tree. I am keen to encourage the interest, it's a better use of technology than some of the alternatives, I think it would be a great hobby for her.

Where do you start? Most of our immediate relatives are from the UK.

Anything I should be careful of given her age?

#2 Elly_Bells

Posted 03 September 2018 - 07:06 AM

I used Ancestry.com recently to do my family tree. You can take out a membership but only start paying after a trial period - I think it is a month? I had all I needed by then but you could keep going if she's enjoying it and you're happy to pay. It's really helpful to have some basic information from relatives first (e.g. Uncle John was born in Qld around the 1920s; we had a great-grandparent who came to Australia in the late 1800s etc...) so you can eliminate entries that pop up. I gathered that sort of information first then went online and confirmed back with my relatives (yes, that must be the right Uncle John because I know he had 5 siblings). Good luck!

#3 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 03 September 2018 - 07:23 AM

Yes check with relatives first - any ald family bibles?

I started with the free sites
https://www.familysearch.org/. It is a latter day saints one and so not first hand but I found it easy to dip into.

In the UK there is the free births, deaths, marriages  https://www.freebmd.org.uk/

not as user friendly but still useful

Census copies are to me endlessly fascinating but I haven't found anywhere free.
Although as Elly said get a basic idea and then join for a free membership period to get extra details

#4 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 03 September 2018 - 07:25 AM

Oh and I didn't find any real skeltons in the family tree, but that may be why it is a good idea to ask relatives first - the will know of anything.

I did find a GT Gt GT who had got his servant pregnant and married her  but that wan't confronting

#5 QuisbySchmoo

Posted 03 September 2018 - 07:46 AM

As the others have mentioned, start with the basics first. I would suggest you print out a 5-generational template for her first for her to start filling out first - this one is fine:


Before she goes anywhere online, interview people - parents and grandparents (both sets). Get grandparents to dig out any old records, photos, bibles etc that they may have and take good resolution photos of those records.

Always work backwards going up the tree. Use free sites initially - PC has already mentioned a couple but don't forget about Trove for things like family notices such as births, weddings, deaths because they usually mention other family members names.

There is so much but basics first I think.

#6 Renovators delight

Posted 03 September 2018 - 09:13 AM

Probably the main thing to be careful of is that she doesn't sign herself up to any websites that may collect more of her and your family's information than you want her to divulge.

For example, lots of websites will limit people joining to over 18s. I just looked at the terms and conditions for Ancestry, and they are OK with people 13 and over, but I would be cautious about that anyway.

Agree with QS that the best place to start is from the 'bottom' of the tree, working your way up. I would be tempted to suggest that given you are starting from scratch, decide some things you would like to find out about each person, and create an individual template for each of those people so you can collect or tick off evidence about them as well.

For example, you might be able to record names and birthdates, but do you want places? Addresses? Schools and universities attended? Professions? Hard evidence such as birth, death and marriage certificates?

Certificates do cost money but can sometimes be FULL of information. If your immediate family is all from the UK I think that you can now buy PDFs of most birth and death certificates for 6 pounds each: https://www.gro.gov....cates/login.asp

Your local library should have a few of the common family history databases available to browse, such as Find My Past (I have found this great for English records) and Ancestry. Your library may also have a family history service available too. Some libraries will allow access to these from home (such as my university library) while others require you to go into the library (like my local council based library).

For Australian history we have Trove which is an amazing free source of newspapers. English newspapers are not generally free, although you can access some through Find My Past, and others through British Newspapers I think it is called, which your library probably has a subscription for.

If you sign up for Ancestry or Find My Past, even for the free 2 week trial, use the time to discuss evidence and whether or not the information available should be taken on face value, or if you should analyse it a little better.

I may come back and add some more things if I think of them!

#7 ~Kay~

Posted 03 September 2018 - 03:52 PM

Thanks everyone.

Very helpful.

#8 seayork2002

Posted 03 September 2018 - 03:57 PM

There is also the UK census



Edited by seayork2002, 03 September 2018 - 03:57 PM.

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