Simple Start to Family History

January 18, 2017  - by 

Family History Simple Start: Start Your Family Tree

You want to do family history. You really do. But perhaps you aren’t sure how to start or don’t know if you have time to figure it all out.

What if you could easily weave some simple family history tasks into your busy life? We’ve chosen a few here to highlight, including instructions and links. So get rid of the guilt, and try one—or several—of these quick, fun tasks and have a meaningful family history experience right away!

Family History Simple Start: Start Your Family Tree
Family History Simple Start: Explore Your Heritage
Family History Simple Start: Discover New Apps
Family History Simple Start: Hints: See What FamilySearch Found
Family History Simple Start: Add a Photo or Audio Story
Family History Simple Start: Search the Site
Family History Simple Start: Use FamilySearch Apps

For additional resources on these and many other topics, please visit the online Help Center.


Leslie Albrecht Huber

Leslie Albrecht Huber has written for dozens of magazines and journals on genealogy and other topics. She currently does communications consulting and contract work for nonprofit organizations. Leslie received a bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a professional genealogist, helpingothers trace their families, and has spoken on genealogy and history topics to groups across the United States.

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  1. I have been sent scan RC baptism of my ancestor, Clara Gladys Herbert. It is terrific. It is a wonderful document to behold. And the archivist has explained the Latin text to me. Clara took ill six days after she was born, 11th August, 1888. She was not expected to live. So her father, Wilfriid, baptised her. 15th, August, 1888 at home. Witness was the doctor. Clara recovered and was baptised by the RC priest on the 28th August, 1888. At the Catholic church, Kensington. The detail on the RC baptism register is truly wonderful. Giving all the details of the earlier baptism by Clara’s father, Wilfrid. And the mother’s maiden name. I am so emotional at the moment reading the baptism register scan that I find it difficult to eat. And have just had a cup of tea. I am indebted to the brilliant archivist at Westminster Diocesan RC Archives. He is a very good and polite man. Thank you for reading my post. John Dedman

  2. I am getting nowhere with my search. I am looking for ancestors from mainly Dublin names of James Burke born around 1880 fathers Name William Burke James married Jane witty 1900 Dublin can anyone help please thanks

  3. My ancestor Wilfrid V Herbert is on 1891 census on here as Hilfred F Herbert. But not aged 49 as he was in 1891. His age is given as 27.
    Birthplace Gloucester Road Kensington: correct.

    Will admit that the enumerator or his assistant must have been literaturely sp challenged. It does look as though they have written Hilfred F Herbert. And the age has been smudged quite badly on the original page

  4. My g-grandparents, James Higgins and Bridget Finneran (sp) Higgins came fo America circa 1860.
    I do not know where in Ireland they were born and have been researching this for sevreral no avail.
    I have information on them living in Boston, MA, where I was raised. Any help at all would be appreciated.

    Sincerely, Judy Higgins Parker

    1. Hi Judy. Have you tried looking for them in passenger list? That might be a good place to try.

  5. Problems finding Johann Heinrich Friedrich Bohnenkamp, and his wife
    Anna Wilhelmine maiden name: Peter, in Bramsche,
    I have located some info on:
    Child born 1880, Bohnenkamp, Anna Margarethe Dorette.
    Also a Son, Herman and anpther daughter Elizabeth
    Arriving in the USA around 1889 on the “SS Fulda ”
    Any help would be greatly appriciated

  6. This Website makes me angry, people who are living are listed as deceased with information about them posted, My photos of family members I have posted on other webpages show up her as belonging to others. Years of hard work posted here as the work of others. I`m done here.

  7. I am new to family search. I have several birth and death dates that I could add to my family members-if I knew how! Anyone want to enlighten me?

  8. i have came to a full stop re my great grandfather, i have his death certificate and his date of birth but i am unable to locate his marriage certificate can ANY member give me some guidance

  9. I would like to know my family history but I would like to know my birth father/family information not my adopted father/family.

  10. Still trying to find out what became of my great great great aunt, Mary Dedman, baptised in St Barnabas parish church, Great Tey, Essex, England. 1796, father, William Dedman, Mother, Mary Fuller.

    No burial register. Not been able to find a marriage. Or any census.

    Perhaps she died and was left out of the Great Tey burial register.

    1. Name: Mary Dedman
      Event Type: Christening
      Event Date: 18 Dec 1796
      Event Place: Essex, England
      Gender: Female
      Father’s Name: Wm Dedman
      Mother’s Name: Mary Dedman

      Digital Folder Number: 004298776
      Image Number: 01486
      Record Number: 14

      Citing this Record
      “England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1997,” database, FamilySearch ( : 14 January 2020), Mary Dedman, 18 Dec 1796; citing Christening, Essex, England, Essex Record Office, England; FHL microfilm .

  11. Where is my Ancestral File? Seems it has all been transfered to

    It took weeks for your Sister Spencer to type it out on her computer at your headquarters in London in 1994/5.

    And I had to travel to London with all my bmds and parish registers for Sister Spencer to put it on one of the many computers. She was fantastic! Very quick and very polite and friendly.

    A waste of time???

    1. Hi John! Thank you for your question. Ancestral File helped to seed in 2012 what is now the FamilySearch Family Tree. If you want to search the old Ancestral File records directly, they are a part of Genealogies.