Making Your Family Tree: Where To Start?

Genealogy is a hobby that fascinates many French people. 7 out of 10 French people are interested in this discipline which allows them to discover their ancestors and trace back the thread of their personal history. To embark on this quest for origins and create one's family tree, one must know where to start. Here are some practical tips to begin the research.

What to do if you don't have any family papers?

Many people who would like to delve into genealogy are afraid they won't be able to trace their ancestors because they haven't kept family papers.

Contrary to what is often imagined, it is possible to create your family tree even when you don't have these written records of the past.

Even if you don't have any papers in your possession because your family has moved around a lot or previous generations died prematurely, you can start your genealogical research at the town hall.

Where to start the research?

Your own birth certificate which bears the name of your parents with their date and place of birth is the key that will allow you to embark on the exciting field of genealogy.

Start by going to the relevant town halls to request the birth certificates of your parents and then your grandparents, proving that you are a direct descendant.

Town halls are the primary sources of information for anyone who wants to create their family tree.

How to go back in time?

To continue the search for your ancestors, know that beyond 75 years old, you can freely consult the civil registry at the town hall.

Beyond 100 years old, you will need to look for the trace of your ancestors in the departmental archives. Thanks to the digitization of archives, searches are now mostly done on their website.

Making your family tree then takes on the appearance of an online treasure hunt where you go back through the centuries by bouncing from one birth certificate to another.

How to explore your family's past?

Generally, it is believed that genealogy is just a search for old papers but that's not true! Making your family tree can also be an opportunity to make beautiful encounters...

If you regret not having any photos or old documents concerning your family, know that distant cousins may have kept them.

Contacting distant family members is another way to pursue this quest for origins. Requests about the common family past, whether near or far, are generally well received.

So don't hesitate to make a phone call and organize a meeting to share old documents and/or anecdotes! Genealogical research often allows us to reconnect with distant family members, regardless of age or profession.

Why embark on this quest?

Genealogy is a hobby that requires patience and time. While it is true that research in town halls or online can be time-consuming, the time and effort devoted to it are largely rewarded by the satisfaction derived from it.

The main motivations for creating one's family tree are the desire to know one's roots and origins, but also the desire to discover the origin of one's surname and the faces of one's ancestors.

Both complex and fascinating, genealogical research is sometimes motivated by the desire to pass on family history to future generations. And you, would you be willing to embark on this quest?

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Public Domain Pictures
Tags: family, family tree, genealogy, town, TRACE, birth certificate, genealogical, French people, hobby, delve, family history, surname, treasure hunt, digitization, Town Hall, Civil registry, primary sources, birth certificates, Thread, future generations,
In French: Faire son arbre généalogique : par où commencer ?
En español: ¿Cómo empezar a hacer tu árbol genealógico?
In italiano: Fare il proprio albero genealogico: da dove cominciare?
Auf Deutsch: Den Stammbaum erstellen: Wo soll man anfangen?
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