How to Get to Know Your Family Tree

How to get to know your family tree?

how to get to know family tree

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

We’ve all watched that scene in a movie at least once where a character finds what happened to their ancestors and discovers a long-lost relative or wealthy uncle. We can’t help but wonder what we would do if we were in their place, but despite how dramatic these revelations may seem in Hollywood movies, getting to know your family tree is actually a thing in real life and many people are genuinely interested in knowing about their ancestors and what happened to them. 

They may also be interested in contacting those relatives. So, if you want to know how those people find out about their ancestry, continue reading the following guide.


History has been relayed for ages through storytelling and although this is not the most accurate method to describe events, it was our main source of information for ages due to lack of documentation. If you want to find information about your family tree, you’re probably going to find them if you talk to older members of your family. If you can’t find enough records or documents of your family history, then you’ll have better luck listening to what older members of your family can recall from memory. You’ll probably want to ask them questions about their siblings, parents, grandparents, birthdates, birthplaces as well as their ethnic background, education, military service, nationality, and occupation.

Collect information

This is where you go back to your home, leaf through old family photos, military records, letters, diplomas, postcards, and any family memorabilia you can find. Even if you can’t make heads or tails of the items you find, a proficient genealogist can. The genealogy specialists over at explain that a genealogist will be able to find clues, find patterns in the data you’ve collected, and reach conclusions based on the evidence. It should also be noted that genealogists are licensed experts with years worth of expertise backing them up, so you can be sure that the information they’ll find regarding your family tree is legible.

DNA test

DNA tests have become so popular recently that we now find many bloggers, YouTubers, etc. rushing to buy DNA kits to find out and share their ancestry with their followers. This can help you find where your ancestors lived. Sure, it won’t give you specific details, but it can give you a general idea of ancestors’ birthplace, which can be helpful, especially if you don’t have enough data on your family tree. Some people even found relatives they didn’t know existed after they took the same DNA test. So, doing a DNA test can be a useful tool in drawing up a family tree. 

Online records

Not all genealogical information that you find on the internet is false. There are websites that take great care in keeping records from all around the world for the last 100 years and keeping them in a digitized form for everyone to have access to. They also update their databases on a regular basis, so there will be a wealth of information ready for anyone who would like to tap into it. If you’re drawing up your family tree and still missing some valuable information, you might want to take a shot by visiting these sites. You can visit,, Find My Past, and

Poor law or criminal records

Let’s face it. Not everyone is the long-lost descendant of a royal family. If your great great grandparents lived in a workhouse, then maybe you can find their name recorded in poor law records. This can also give you clues if they used to live in a workhouse or if they had a criminal history, as these records usually point out if a person had a criminal record. Knowing about your great grandparent’s adventures against the law is worth documenting and fun to read about.

Social media

If you manage to find members of your family that are living in other states or countries, chances are that you will be able to find their social media accounts as well. Finding these people can be as simple as searching for and contacting people who share your ancestral surnames, which can be achieved with info found in local libraries, archives, and tour guides. 

Knowing your family tree can be a life-changing experience and can also provide you with a new perspective of your family, but remember that it is a process that can take a lot of time and effort to finish. Some people even spend years tracing their ancestors in search of an infamous ancestor but don’t find any, so it’s important to manage your expectations and believe that you’re drawing a family tree for knowledge’s sake. 

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