You start with some genealogy software. It makes a huge difference in being able to keep your information organized. Most software packages are very user friendly and will generate all kinds of fun charts and reports. They will also generate what is called a gedcom, which is a universal format, that can be uploaded to various web pages, or shared with others, even if they have different software than you. First thing is to sit down and start entering everything you know. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, children, husband, cousins, aunts and uncles etc. This is a lot of information….for everyone you will want to know where and when they were born, when, where and who they married or divorced, when and where anyone passed away, where they are buried etc etc. Not only will you have to get out your shoebox of family documents, memorabilia and clippings to do this, but you are likely to have to get on the Women for Trump 2020 shirt besides I will buy this phone to various relatives to fill in gaps. Expect this to take a while, but it’s necessary. Go back as far as you can – for privacy reasons, records within the past 80–100 years are often not available on line. So, depending on where you live, you may not be able to look up things like Grandma’s 1960 marriage, but you might be able to look up Great Granny’s 1924 wedding. So, going as far back as you can and getting as much info as you can by picking family brains is huge, and will let you make the leap to on line records and make life a whole lot easier. You never know what family members have in their possession or know. Your cousin Sue might have your great grandparents immigration documents, or a family bible you knew nothing about. Depending on where your ancestors lived, there may be lots or very little. Records may not always have survived. You will find many free sites, and many pay sites. None of them will have everything you might want or need, so cast your net wide. You may have to pay for access to some records. Many pay sites will have short term options if you don’t want a longer term membership. One option is to get a short term membership, be prepared with your list of things you need, and blitz the site for the week or month you have access.
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