Step 1: Gathering your information

This is the most important step you can take right now. Unfortunately for me and many others, I made the mistake of waiting until I was interested in my past and as Julia Roberts once said in the movie Pretty Woman, “Big Mistake! Huge!”

Instead, and for many out there, by the time I developed a serious interest, my grandparents and parents had already passed away. Leaving very little information except for the tiny memory cells I could drag forward.  It’s not the end of the earth if you’ve waited past an interview opportunity.  It’s what happened to me.  It’ll just take a little longer to get rolling, that’s all.  I have been researching my family tree(s) for over a year now and believe I have become pretty good at it! The most important items to always have handy are; Pen & Paper Or, some kind of recording device to record your interviews.

In the case of your grandparents, you’ll be surprised once they begin to tap into this part of their memory at what they’ll actually remember and how fast it will flow.  You may even receive a few phone calls wanting to share more memories.  If they have passed away before you can interview them, move onto your own parents making sure you always have handy a notebook and pen for the interview.

If your own parents have passed away, try your aunts and uncles. Ask them all the same questions which are on the Ancestry Interview sheet. Your goal is to gather as much information about your immediate family so that you have what is needed to get off to a great start when developing your tree.

I can’t say this enough, about that notebook and pen? I don’t care what you think I promise you, you will not remember some of the details shared with you once you sit down to enter the information.  I don’t care if it is the same day a few hours later. You will forget some important detail.  A detail when if you return to ask again they may not remember.  So trust me on this, write it down! I found out the hard way.

Let’s get started! To make it easy for you, feel free to download the Ancestry Interview PDF here and use it again and again.

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