How Do I Start Doing Genealogy? A Beginner’s Guide

By Genealogy Pals

So let’s look at our six simple steps on how to start doing genealogy – along with an example so that it’s super clear.

Genealogy is such a big topic that'll make you feel overwhelmed. We remember feeling that way at first, too! So how do you start doing genealogy – without getting so overwhelmed you want to quit?


Identify a single question or a research goal.

Notes and Examples

I want to find my great-grandparents’ marriage information: date, location, and maiden names.


I know both great-grandparents’ first names, paternal surnames, and the approximate year of the marriage. Not sure of the location.

Write down what you already know.


Notes and Examples


Identify known and potential sources.

I’ll use censuses to narrow my family’s known location, then search the appropriate state archives for marriage certificates.


Notes and Examples

Thanks to a newly-released census, I found that I’d been searching the wrong states for the marriage certificate!

Find your answers and cite new sources found.



Notes and Examples

Thanks to the census, I was able to locate the right state. I also found that my great-grandparents had another son, who died as an infant, that needed to be added to that family group record.

Notes and Examples


Analyze the results.


Start again with a new goal or question.


I want to find sources detailing my great-grandmother’s family information.

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Now that you’ve done your analysis, it’s time to decide to keep going with your genealogy.

Let’s get started! Read the full article here