Anyone who has tried to put together their family tree before the age of the internet would have found it very difficult. With many family history records held in central archives, it would have meant heading to the nearest big town or city – or even the nation’s capital – to find what you needed. This means that there was a cost involved, and you would need to be prepared to give up a lot of time to be able to make the progress that you wanted to with your family history research.

The good news is that those days are over – family history has become a thousand times easier now that almost everything you need is available at the touch of a button.

Family Facts Online

Things such as birth, marriage and death records are now widely available, and these can be accessed online using a variety of websites such as Ancestry. However, these will only help you so far. To start with, record keeping hasn’t always been as great as it is now, and it hasn’t always been a legal requirement to register births, marriages and deaths. Once you have found the record that you need you may only have a few snippets of information to work with, such as a name and a date. On a birth record, for example, you might only be able to see which quarter of the year that the birth was registered, so that doesn’t give you the exact birth date. However, the online files will provide you with the option to order a copy of the certificate, which will give you much more information such as the parent’s names, addresses and occupations.

Online family history records have also expanded in recent years. They now include things like parish records, which often go back several centuries, and military records so you can find out which of your ancestors earned medals and served during major military campaigns. You can look at census records, which tell you where your family were living, how many children they had, what occupations they had and their ages – helping you to narrow down your research considerably. The census is a great way of tracking your family, showing how they might have moved from one area to another for work, for example.

Family history research online has also advanced a great deal recently with the growth in the number of people who want to know more about their DNA. They send off samples to be tested, and these can break down where your ancestors were from and then put you in touch with other people that you are related to. This can help you to find other, more distant members of your family who are also looking for the same information and answers as you.

These sites also have the facility for you to save records so that you can build and view your family tree online, linking it to others who are doing the same. This will also give you the facility to print out your family tree when you want to display it for everyone to see.