Exploring family heritage is a trend that is ever-expanding. We’re all interested where we came from and with shows like Who Do You Think You Are? continuing to reveal fascinating stories, we want to get in on the action.
Of course, our own histories are not always as exciting as others but knowing where you came from and more about previous generations can be truly life-changing.
Exploring your family history and heritage is easier than ever before, and below you’ll find our top five tips to do so…
Take a DNA Test
One accurate way of uncovering your ancestry is a DNA test. You can find out all sorts by using a DNA test, from the parts of the world you are from to aspects of your genes which could carry deformities or leave you prone to certain types of injury.
In terms of finding your ancestry, they’re brilliant with the best DNA test for ancestry packages allowing you to pinpoint exactly where on the continent your heritage lies. This will give you a geographical location to explore further and potentially even connect with and discover long lost relatives.
This is done via Mitochondrial testing, which searches the maternal line of your ancestry and can go back as far as 25 generations – which equates to around 10,000 years!
Of course, one of the first places to begin before anything is by simply asking your own family. Previous generations to you will be able to relay their own experiences and movement across the world, as well as potentially having details about their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
The family often have stories that are passed down, whether it be about careers, family members or even information about ancestry that has been uncovered before. It all goes to adding further clarity on your story.
View Local Government Records
Local government records will hold a range of information about you and your family and it can help paint a clearer picture of ancestry.
You can browse birth certificates and deaths within national archives, as well as marriages and more.
Of course, you generally need to have an idea of the regions in which to look for information, which you could possibly get via family members.
Use Social Media
Social media is an incredibly useful tool to track down family members and build your family tree further.
Facebook, in particular, is ideal for this. Family members will often mention long lost cousins and social media gives you the opportunity to find them.
You can usually find people with a name and location and they will likely have further information on their side of the family, extending your tree and potentially allowing you to explore further avenues.
Additionally, it’s also a good opportunity to reconnect with family members and bring you closer than ever before.
Hunt Through Family Albums
When researching your ancestry, you’ll find plenty of clues within family albums. While today photos are generally digital, old family albums can often lead you down many interesting paths and give you significant dates.
For example, you may be able to discover the year of marriages, births and more, as well as sparking memories of friends and family which could provide information to take your quest further.
What’s more, photographs can also help you identify long lost family members via social media.
You also need to manage your expectations to gain an accurate ancestry. By searching hard for revolutionary stories that offer tons of intrigue and interest, you may miss some key facts that could take your family history back further.
Not everyone has incredible stories behind them, so stay focussed and manage the expectations on what you’ll find.
Additionally, you won’t always discover your family is heroes. There could be a dark side and it’s perhaps important to understand that you may come across something you don’t necessarily want to know.
This has happened on a few occasions on Who Do You Think You Are?, as well as many surprises of course, and the best thing to do is always keep your mind open to the fact you may uncover good and bad in family, and if you really want to build a detailed family tree you need to work through those moments and take not if every clue available.