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Local and family history A-Z > Family history

Before you start

  • Abstract tree shadowsBegin by reading all you can about the subject. Search the online catalogue for books on the subject
  • Join a local family history society. Go to  Local Information Database.
  • Find a class on how to trace your family history at a local college. See the  Local Information Database and search for classes in your area
  • Talk to your family and try to obtain as much information as possible such as first-hand accounts, memories and stories, especially from older generations. They can often provide you with names, dates and key family events - although you should never take anything at face value, as it will be your job to investigate family myths. It is also important to look through old family correspondence, photos, heirlooms and other material that can find its way into trunks, drawers, attics or cellars. You will be amazed how much information you can extract from these objects to obtain vital clues. Also try to establish where your family is from, as this will play an important role in where to look for relevant records

Your research begins

  • The accepted method of research is to start with the known (yourself) and then to work backwards, one step at a time. Decide which branch of your family to research first, your father's or mother's. It is usually easier to trace male family members, as the surname usually stays the same
  • The Local and family history A-Z describes sources that are held in Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire libraries, on the Internet and elsewhere that may help you learn more about your ancestors once settled in England and Wales

Good luck with your search!

Page last updated: 16th July 2020