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Welcome to our family history world.

Whatever has sparked your interest in tracing your family history, be prepared for a fantastic journey of discovery. There will be highs and lows, heartbreak and hope, frustrations and 'eureka' moments, but we are here to help you each step of the way.

Where to start?

The golden rule of genealogy is to start with what you know and then work backwards. You may have discovered a suitcase full of family photographs and certificates – or you might just be starting with yourself. Whichever it is, make sure that all of your research is documented and that the sources are noted.

Start with yourself, and then move onto your parents and grandparents. There may be stories about your ancestors that have been passed down through the generations, but do not believe any of it until it is verified. Things might be remembered incorrectly!

Be organised. The temptation is to record as much as you can in as little time as possible! However, in a couple of months you may find a newspaper clipping or will for someone whose name you recognise but cannot think where they appear in your tree. Use a chart to plot who is who and how they relate to each other. This might be on paper or on your computer.

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates are an absolute 'must have'. As well as confirming that you are on the right track, they can hide little gems such as addresses and occupations. No-one ever said that this hobby would be cheap and, at £9.25 each, the cost of the certificates can mount up. But invest in this information early on and you will same time, money and heartache later.

It is easy to get confused or not know where to look next, which is where Genealogy Specialists (TOP DOG) is able to help. Register for FREE at http://www.genealogy-specialists.com/ and join our community of like-minded people. Our aim is to offer mutual FREE help to each other in tracing our ancestors, following our family trees, and putting flesh on the skeletons that we discover. If we do not know an answer we will certainly be able to point you in the right direction to find one.

I think that this is enough to start with, but listed below are some products that will certainly help you along your way and all of them are available from www.parishchest.com. Just pop the reference number in the website search box to see the details.

  • Starting Your Family Tree (Book) Ref: NWA-OHM23

  • Starting Your Family History Ref: CSB-56

  • How to Trace your Family Tree using the Internet Ref: OSG-H2T

  • First Steps in Family History (5th Edition) Ref: CSB-65

  • Genealogical Jargon for Family Historians Ref: FHP-065

  • Hw 2 *t ur Fmly Hstry (How to Start Your Family History) Ref: FHP-116

  • Introducing Family History Ref: FHP-001

  • Researching Your Family History Ref: PMR-01

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