Search for or list unwanted BMD certificates and other family tree documents

Speak to your living relatives

The first step to tracing your family tree is to chat with your family members to discover what they know about your family history.   Your parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents will undoubtedly have some stories or family legends to recount.  Your siblings or cousins may have been told family stories at one time or another too.

As well as their stories and memories of the past, ask for any names and dates of events that they can remember.  These will be important in helping you to take your family tree back, however don’t take them as “gospel” truth – always try to confirm these details with some written evidence.  People don’t always remember things completely accurately.

Take some time to look through old family documents, letters and photos (including the reverse side).

You may find that some of your family members are reluctant to talk about the past for different reasons.  They might not like you delving into the past, so be sensitive towards their feelings. You may uncover some skeleton, but don’t be ashamed of what you turn up.  You can’t change the past.

Genes Office training courses