Friday, March 05, 2010

How Do I Find My Ancestors?

You may be asking yourself, "How do I find my ancestors?" after viewing the compelling new TV show, Who Do You Think You Are?.   The TV show tells the stories of the family history of celebrities, and unearths connections to the California Gold Rush, Salem witch trials, slave auctions, the Civil War, and other unique slices of American history. 

This show personalizes the family history of celebrities and turns it into a gripping narrative entwined with the history of the country.  The celebrities reflect who we all are -  a microcosm of the United States multi-ethnicity.  All families have a unique story, not just celebrities.  After all, before they were celebrities, they were regular people from regular families.

If you are interested in tracing your own family tree and discovering your own unique family story, it's easy to get started.  Begin with yourself and work backwards as they do in the TV show.

Start your private family tree online to enter what you already know about yourself, your parents, your grandparents, and as far back as you know.  Invite your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and other family members to contribute what they know to add to your online tree - fill in names and dates, tell stories and upload photos. will use what you enter to try and find more about your family in the world's largest online collection of historical records and family trees.

Talk to the older people in your family.  You may be surprised what they know but never talked about because they thought no one was interested.  Here are some suggested questions to ask them to get the ball rolling.

After these first steps, learn the additional steps for building your family tree at the  Learning Center. And here are further resources for how to begin your genealogy search.

Your family story is waiting to be found.   "To know who you are you, you have to know where you came from."  Your journey can be as exciting, as emotional, and as surprising as the stories on the TV show because it is your personal family history.  The excitement and surprises happen as you uncover that story

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

It will be interesting to see how the reactions work out...
Nice list of starter questions, by the way!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"