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Why should I create a Family Tree?

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Published 02/09/2021
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I know that when I have lost certain family members in the past that I find myself actually learning new things about them at the funeral. Whether it is from the minister or celebrant during the service, or from other family members at the wake, there is always a tale being told that can make you wonder how much more there is to learn about your own family.

If that sounds like something you have experienced, then why not take the first step into learning more about your own family history by creating your very own family tree?

How do I create a family tree?

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The easiest way to get started is with a pencil, a sheet of paper and yourself! Note down your name along with when and where you were born. Do you then have any siblings, a partner or children that you can write down these same details for? From there you can work backwards to your parents and any aunties and uncles, then grandparents and so on. A quick WhatsApp message to various members of the family might even help you fill in some blanks.

If you want to do something a little fancier and are happy to get a bit more technical, then there are a variety of online resources that you can use to build a more complete visual picture of your own family tree. Perhaps the most well known is Ancestry.co.uk where you can not only create your own family tree, but if you are wanting to delve a bit deeper (and spend a bit of money) then you can search birth, marriage and death records to help link up family connections - you can even send off a DNA sample to find out more about own heritage!

Ancestry is not the only site that offers this service, and there are a number of others you could turn to; it all just comes down to preference. Find My Past has probably the nicest looking family tree builder which can be used for free, and again they do offer a subscription service which is cheaper but not as extensive as that of Ancestry. Family Search is a completely free website as far as I can tell, and as well as their easy to use family tree builder, you can also search their records to find other family members as long as you have a few details to go on.

Why create a Family Tree?

Family trees are not only a good way to find out about your own history and heritage, but they are a great way of opening up conversations with family members you might have lost touch with. Email round a copy of your findings and you are bound to find that some of your relatives have a shared interest, or they may have even created a family tree of their own.

A hobby is great for your mental health too, especially if you have just lost a loved one as it can help you to feel more connected to your past and to all the generations that have come before you. You can also choose to take the hobby as far as you want it to go, delving further and further back into your family’s past. Some people even choose to hunt down the gravesites of their ancestors, like one lady from Norfolk who has now photographed over 220,000 headstones!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, hopefully you feel inspired to have a look at creating your own family tree.

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