Cheap and easy ways to start investigating your family name and history
Genealogy and tracing your family history is a huge topic. Depending on the circumstances under which you are tracing your family history it is probably a labour of love can be very rewarding, enlightening, scary, sad, profound or surprising but will always be fascinating.
There are loads of services and websites dedicated to tracing your family tree and history in varying degrees of depth but one thing is for sure: it has never been easier to research and get access to history, information and historical records than ever before and all from the comfort of your own desk, bed, armchair…or mobile phone at the top of a mountain in Tibet.
Genealogy or Family History
Whilst at Lang Syne we are not genealogy experts we are a great stepping stone in the process of finding more information about your family history. Arguably a first step in any research style process is always a quick, easy overview of the subject matter for general orientation purposes.
Thats where our family name history books come in handy. They are short, easy to read, quick to consume, fun and light hearted. They provide the ideal orientation exercise and allow a s great starting point for your deeper/longer journey into your family history.
Tracing your Family History
If you are starting your journey into tracing your family tree the following steps are a nice easy entry point to start the process.
1. Gather Documentation (Physical or digital)
Gather as much historically accurate information from your family members as possible.
Gather documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, qualifications, letters, photos, certifications
Other sources of information can include, bank statements, bills, invoices, receipts etc, Think of the kind of administration you have to conduct in your own lifetime and just imagine that your forefathers and your forefathers forefathers had to do likewise. Sure not every one was literate, conscientious, accurate or even kept things but you never know what you may encounter when you start looking.
The more written documents you can research the more accurate and easier your research will be. Once you get started it can be like unravelling a woolly jumper and you keep pulling getting more as you go. But that is the very process of historical research and it will be fascinating journey.
2. Question members of your family
Chat to family members. `Sometimes older people are better: purely on the basis that thy have bee around longer and usually cover a different time span from you. And you will be everybody friend as mist people love pt talk about themselves and share their experiences.
3. Check your local registrar
Most towns, cities, regions or countries will have some kind of records on births and deaths and the movement of people. The may be called different things depending on whew you live e.g. in the UK they are called Registrar. Some useful links are
National Records of Scotland
General Register Office for England and Wales
General Register Office for Northern Ireland
Health Service Executive (for Ireland)
4. Buy a family surname book
Full disclosure. We do sell the biggest published collection of surname books for UK origin names.
But, honest , the are goo days to start, They are cheap, well researched, fun insightful and easy thread and provide a good starting point.