How to Guess Where to Start

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Learn to guess names, places, dates, the best event in a person’s life to research first, and how to guess sources for that event. (beginning family history, beginning genealogy, beginning research, getting started, starting family history, starting genealogy, starting research, how do I start, how to start)

Five fundamental guessing skills will help you get started on genealogy research. Each involves being able to guess some additional information based on what is already shown on a family group record.

So, the best way to start is too prepare a family group record showing everything you know about the family.

Then using the partly-done family group record be able to:

  1. Guess spelling variations for every name on that family group.
  2. Guess a place for every event on that family group.
  3. Guess a date for every event on that family group.
  4. Guess the easiest (and hardest) person and event to research on that family group.
  5. Guess the best record types to use for finding information about any person’s event on that family group.

The links above explain how to guess these key pieces of information when they are unknown or uncertain.

Related Content[edit | edit source]

Guessing the Easiest to Research Person and Event

How to Begin a Search for Your Ancestor

Start Family History by Writing What Is Known

Rookie Mistakes

Related Internet Sites[edit | edit source]

How Do I Start My Family History? PDF File

Starting Genealogy and Family History Research U.S. National Archives

Starting Your Genealogy - The Basics USGenWeb

How to Begin Tracing Your Family Tree Kimberly Powell at

How to Get Started on Your Genealogy Natalie Cottrill at