The guide to researching your family history.

Catherine Meades BSc DipGen QG
Visit: Cameo Family History

Most people are curious about their family’s story and TV programmes make researching family history look easy – type in a name and the answer is there, go to an archive and the archivist brings you the key documents with the page featuring your family marked. In practice, it’s not that simple. Ancestors go missing all the time, creating “brick walls” on the road back in time.

The aim of this series is to lead you through the process of discovering your family’s story in simple steps, with some tips and tricks to help you through, round or over those brick walls.

Part 1 – Getting Started

  • Write down everything you know – or think you know – about your relatives.
    a. Dates – even approximate dates can help
    b. Relationships
    c. Locations
    d. Occupations

  • Identify known facts about your family and also record hearsay which may or may not be true. Make it clear which is which!

  • Collect together any birth, marriage and death certificates and other family documents.

  • Draw a simple family tree using the information you have gathered.
    a. See the Cameo Family History Facebook page for guidance on drawing family trees.
  • Talk to your relatives and family friends about what you have gathered – they may be able to add to the information or correct some of the details.

Next month: vital records: birth, marriage and death certificates.

Tel: 07855 556 384

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Catherine Meades
My name is Catherine Anne Meades and Cameo Family History is the result of my love of telling the stories of ordinary people from the past. I have a degree in Chemistry and a career of over 35 years in the chemical information and chemical regulations sectors. I have been involved with online data searching since its earliest, pre-internet, days and I have massive experience in research across a range of subjects which I am now bringing to the field of genealogy. Following attending a five-week family history course at my local library in 2008, I discovered a passion for the subject and the process of finding out about people in the past which grows as I learn more about the subject and which led me to found Cameo Family History. I also have experience in presenting and training and, as my friends and family will testify, I love nothing more that talking about family history research and the discoveries I have made. Believing that proper training is the basis of professionalism, I have completed the Correspondence Course in Genealogy of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and have achieved the Higher Certificate in Genealogy. I am an Associate of AGRA, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. ( ) I am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG, )


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