Building Your Family Tree

Are you interested in researching the history of your family? Herrick has resources to help you get started. We have Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets where you can fill in information on your family. It’s best to check with your family first to get all of the information you can from them. One helpful hint: Use birth names only when filling in the married people on your family tree. 

Has someone already written a history of your family? You can check at Herrick or there are places online to see if someone else has done research already, such as FamilySearch, opens a new window, or Public Member Trees, opens a new window on the Ancestry Library Edition, opens a new window website.

If you are starting at the very beginning, here are some ways to get started:

  1. Look for your family's vital records (birth, marriage, and death certificates).
  2. Ask relatives (parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents) what they remember about their parents and grandparents' families.
  3. Check with friends of the family.
  4. Try some of the many Internet Websites. FamilySearch, opens a new window is a great place to start.
  5. Contact your local Genealogy Society.
  6. Look for information in local newspapers. Check with your local library to see what they have on microfilm.
  7. Look for the cemeteries where your ancestors may be buried.
  8. If your ancestors were members of a church, look for church records. Many church records go farther back than government ones.
  9. Comb Federal Census, opens a new window records.
  10. For more ideas, read some Genealogy Magazines. Family Tree Magazine, Internet Genealogy, and Your Genealogy Today are all available at Herrick.

Family Tree Magazine

Internet Genealogy

The list goes on—there are many more places to search. Download the Building Your Family Tree handout for more ideas of places to look.  There are also many how-to books at Herrick which you can check out. Some are books for beginners, some cover different countries and other subjects, such as the census, wills, military records and more. You can also ask for help from the staff at Herrick District Library and we will help you get started!