The best foundation for genealogical research is to start with the information you know and work backwards. Who you are and who were your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc?
Talk to older members of your family, like your grandparents — and prepare some questions beforehand. Consider recording their answers with a tape recorder.
Your relatives can probably give you information about people going back some years, but as you move through the generations you generally need to start checking other sources. This is where our birth, death and marriage records can help.
Certificates have information not just about the subject of that registration but also other family members. For example, a death certificate has the deceased person's name, their age at death and often their occupation. Depending on the information supplied at the time of registration, it may also contain the names of their parents, the name of their spouse and often the names and ages of their children.
Certificates can be a stepping stone to previous generations:
- A death certificate may contain names of parents, and you can then search for the parents' marriage certificate.
- The parent's marriage certificate may contain their place of birth, their age at marriage, the date of the marriage and sometimes their parents' names.
- When you now know their approximate year of birth, you can search for their individual birth certificates which will give their parent's place of birth.
As this is a step-by-step process, it is important to realise that your family history search may take some time.
Back to Top