How to trace your family tree
Genealogy is a fascinating hobby and thanks to the records at findmypast.co.uk, it's incredibly easy to get started.
Begin your family history research today by following these simple steps:
Begin your family treeStart a family tree
- Start building a family tree at findmypast.co.uk. It's free to use and totally secure.
- Write down what you already know about your ancestors - just the facts, not the rumours!
- Speak to your family - can they add any names or birth, marriage and death dates to your tree?
Discover birth, marriage and death datesSearch birth records
- Use our birth, marriage and death records to fill in the gaps in your tree.
- 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.
Gather information from census recordsSearch the 1911 census
- Find your relatives in the 1911 census. Who were they living with? What job did they have?
- Add any new information to your family tree, including rough dates of birth and parents' names.
- Repeat this with the census taken 10 years earlier. There are eight available to search, from 1841 - 1911.
Find amazing detail in newspaper reportsSearch newspapers
- Search for your ancestors in millions of pages of historical local newspapers.
- 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.
Get back further with parish recordsSearch parish records
- Search for your ancestor's baptism, marriage or burial in our parish records.
- Parish records go back to 1538 - much earlier than birth, marriage, death or census records.
- These records can reveal who your ancestor married, where they lived, parents' names and occupations.
Broaden your researchSearch all records
- Explore findmypast.co.uk's other collections - there are over 1.5 billion records available to search!
- You could learn about your ancestor's time in the Army, at sea or even in prison.
- Research Irish roots and discover overseas relatives with millions of records from around the world.