Start Family History by Writing What is Known

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This article suggests using a form to organize and write what they know before starting a search for their family.

We suggest that you start your family history by organizing what you know. A printed form can help you get organized by allowing you to write down what you know about each person. A family group record form has lines where you can write the name of the husband and wife and their children. You can add the dates and places of birth, marriage or death.

One place to find a copy of a family group record form is on the FamilySearch Internet Web site. You can print as many copies as you want. Follow these steps to find the form.

  1. Go to
  2. Click Forms under the heading Get Started With Family History. You will see this heading on the right side of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and click the title Family Group Record Form.
  4. Click Download the Printable (PDF) Version on the top right corner of the screen. You need to have Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on your computer in order to download the form. If you don’t have it, a link is provided so you can add the free program to your computer.
  5. Click the printer icon at the top of the screen and print the number of copies you want.

Many family history sites have free, downloadable forms. A few are:

As you write, you will see where there are missingdates, places and names. Before proceeding, we recommend that you ask your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins to find out what they know about the missing information. Once you have written all that you and your family knows, you are ready to go to Web sites and records to search for your family.