Ever wondered where you came from? Discovering the stories of your past can be hard but rewarding work. Luckily, nowadays you don’t have to pour through physical records, there are online resources that make it all much easier.
Here’s a good place for you to start…
With Ancestry you can start building your family tree straight away. Fill in the details you know and you’ll receive hints about potential relations.
The service is subscription-based and at the most basic level you can search UK and Irish census, birth, marriage and death records (for £10.99 per month), but with more comprehensive subscriptions you can also look at things like parish, military and even international records. Ancestry are also currently offering a free trial for you to test out the service.
As an added extra, Ancestry DNA offers a kit that allows you to determine your ethnic and generic makeup to potentially allow you to connect with relatives across the world! The DNA kit costs £79 + shipping.
With a similar model to Ancestry, MyHeritage allows you to research your genealogy from the comfort of your own home. The cost of the service is £7.88 per month, and they too are offering a 14-day free trial.
MyHeritage also offer a DNA kit for £79, as well as a DNA health kit (£179 + shipping) which can determine how at-risk you are from 19 common conditions, including heart disease and breast cancer, as well as a carrier report which highlights your potential to pass on genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Gaucher disease to your children.
There are many reasons why you may want to research your family history. Often, it’s looking for people you’ve lost after wars, natural disasters or migration. The Red Cross offer a free family tracing service that’s confidential and gives you that extra helping hand as you conduct your own research.
Some top tips
A little heads up – researching your family tree can be frustrating, especially if you hit a dead end! See if your family has any photos, documents or letters that might be able to help you. You never know what you might discover. Sometimes just talking to your family can tease out details they hadn’t thought to mention – and it’s a great excuse to check in on your loved ones. Good luck.