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Your Step By Step Guide To Getting Started

With billions of records online at findmypast, researching your family tree may at first seem a little daunting. Follow these easy steps to help you get started.

1. Where To Start

2. Build Your Family Tree

  • Start building a family tree at findmypast. It’s free to use and totally secure.
  • Put the initial information you have acquired into your tree and begin to grow from there.
  • Add any extra information that you find along the way to each family member’s profile.

3. Birth / Marriage / Death Records

  • Read our birth, marriage and death records guide to understand why BMDs are so important and how they can help, with all the jargon explained by our experts.
  • When you’ve found an ancestor, use the information to order their birth, marriage or death certificate.
  • Certificates provide lots of extra detail, such as parents’ names, occupations and address.

4. Census Records

  • Find your relatives in any census from 1841-1911 (the first census was in 1841, the most recently released being 1911).
  • Discover who they were living with, what job they had and other family members living at the same address.
  • Add any new information to your family tree, including rough dates of birth and parents’ names.

5. Newspaper Reports

  • Findmypast have scanned millions of pages of historical local newspapers, dating from 1710 to 1963.
  • Search for your ancestors within their pages to discover what life was like and add more detail to what you know about your family history.
  • Newspapers reported both local and national news, inquests, obituaries, scandals and criminal trials.

6. Parish Records

  • Official birth, death and marriage civil registration records only date back to 1837.
  • Parish records date back to 1538 - much earlier than birth, marriage, death or census records.
  • Search findmypast’s parish records to reveal who your ancestor married, where they lived, parents’ names and occupations.

7. Broaden Your Search

  • Explore findmypast’s other collections - there are over 1.5 billion records to search!
  • You could learn about your ancestor’s time in the army, at sea or even in prison.
  • Find living relatives, research your Irish roots and discover other overseas relatives with millions of records available from all round the world.