Getting Started

Getting Started

“Getting Started” in genealogy and family history can mean many things depending on the person. Maybe today is the first time you have investigated how to build your family tree. Perhaps you have already started looking at records online and found someone who may be your great great-grandmother but you don’t know how to verify it. Or maybe you have worked on and off collecting information, but you are not sure how to pull it all together and reach much further back in your family history. Even expert genealogists and professionals could be considered “beginners” when learning about new material, resources, and techniques…so don’t worry about labels.

For your convenience, we have created three learning paths—Getting Started, Going to the Next Level, and Building Advanced Skills—feel free to move from one to the other. Personalize your learning.

  • Consider what you need to learn to succeed in your research.
  • Create a plan of work.
  • Then check out the lists of resources.

Use these resources—and all the other great educational opportunities that NGS offers—as pathways to build the skills you need to research your family history. Then enjoy the search for your ancestors!

Getting Started

A Word of Advice

Enthusiasm is great. But most of us have found out the hard way that it is smart to learn—or refresh your memory of—the basics. Before rushing to build a family tree, ask yourself

  • What is the best way to organize your work?
  • What charts and worksheets are most helpful?
  • What information and records do you need to keep?
  • What websites can jump start your research?
  • How do you best interpret what you discover?