You may be wondering how you start your family history and what you should do first. Below you will find our suggestions on how to start.

Step 1: Ask your family and relatives what they know about your family history. Key things to try and find out are:

  • Names of ancestors and relatives 
  • Relationships (names of children, parents etc) 
  • Dates of birth, marriage and death 
  • Where they lived 
  • What jobs they did 

Step 2: Write down the information you discover from your family and if possible, draw up a family tree. Don’t worry if you are unable to do this.

TOP TIP: work backwards from what you know i.e. start with you, and work backwards one generation at a time.

Step 3: Start exploring genealogical sources online and/or at your local archives/record office. There are various sources that you can use. These include:

  • Ancestry and Find My Past [free to access at Suffolk Archives]
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Census returns
  • Parish registers (baptisms, marriage and burials)
  • Non-conformist records
  • Wills
  • Poor law
  • Cemetery registers
  • Directories

TOP TIP: always make a note of your source and include what it is, where you found it, its title, its date, and its reference number.