With more information available online, there is a renewed interest in genealogy. Creating your family tree requires time-consuming research efforts, but there are certain resources available that can help you make sense out of your genetic puzzles.
Whenever possible, start your search with DNA testing and try more than one test. Since each company uses different reference samples, you will find differences in your heritage. Most DNA companies also provide you with genetic matches, which can start you on your quest to fill in your tree. In most cases, the matches you find will be cousins, but some people find closer relatives within the database. If any of your matches have a public family tree, this information can help if you find yourself stuck when constructing your tree. Since you know you two are related and the approximate familial relationship, you know you have to share a common ancestor somewhere in the tree.
Some records are free, whereas others may be stuck behind a subscription wall. Find out as much information as you can from free resources and leave the paid options for later when you can make the most use of your money. The most common records you will find are census records. You may find military enlistment records and obituaries in some free databases. If you know some information about where your ancestors were located, be sure to check court records that may be available online. Every city and county is different, but you may stumble across marriage licenses or other local records, such as deeds. Another important resource is newspaper archives. Sometimes you can find an obituary, which might reveal relatives or other critical information that gives you a new lead or allows you to go further back into the census records.
There are many online companies that offer people searches, with some showing more information than others. Even a basic search can be useful in constructing your family tree. If you know a person's name, location, and approximate age, you may find their current and former residence. Sometimes they may have an alias, which is useful when researching women in your family tree. Finding the women in your tree is often a challenge since they might marry and change their name. During your search, you might see the names of relatives. All of the information provided can assist you in determining if you have the right person and finding new people in your tree.
With the resources available online, there are fewer people stuck in the library for hours just to find a simple piece of information. Taking advantage of all the resources online will make the work of building your family tree much easier.