how do i trace my family history for free?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    First, gather as much information (names, dates, places) as you can from talking to your parents, grandparents and other relatives. Then, you could try a few of these resources: - Probably the best free online resource. is one of the best but has a hefty subscription fee (for most of its databases).

    Also, you can check the surname message boards for his surname at:

    For links to helpful sites, you will want to take a look at:

    And finally for a lot of different resources:

    Good luck,



  • 1 decade ago

    I "did" my Family Trees 25 years ago, and I couldn't do it for free even without paying subs to Ancestry sites.

    As one contributor says, start by asking all your older relatives (and write it all down) while they are still around.

    Beg, borrow or steal copies of any existing Registration Certificates owned by relatives.

    Go into the web sites (for the County in which your relatives live/lived) of the Family History Societies; many will have a section entitled "Members' Interests" - find someone else from there who has done your family tree already! Yes! It does happen.

    See if your family name comes up on a web site - a lot of researchers have published details of their family names on the web. For example, I have the name Boddy (from Crediton) in my Tree and a guy called Mike has full details of that family on a web site called "Boddy Parts" - right back to the early 1700's. There is another guy called Cole who has written books about the Cole family of North Devon - probably with cousins who don't know he exists.

    Try the County Record Offices to see if anyone has deposited a Tree with your surname. Ditto the Society of Genealogists in London.

    And my charge for all this info - is nothing!

    P.S. Take everything the relatives say with the proverbial pinch of salt - the ancestor whom they claim was a Lord of the Manor was probably an under-gardener at the Manor!

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know if you can do it all for free. L

    There are websites. However, information in family trees on any website must be taken as clues as to where to look, not as fact as most is not documented. Even if you see the same information over and over a lot of copying is being done and that is poor family history.

    Ancestry.Com has a lot of records and is getting more all the time. Check with your public library to see if they have a genealogical section. If so, browse it and find out what they have. They also might have a subscription to Ancestry.Com that you can use.

    A LDS Data Center at a Mormon Church has lots of records on people all over the world. They are nice and helpful. I have never had them to come ringing my doorbell because I availed myself of their services.

  • 1 decade ago

    Start by putting the relatives you know on a tree at then check for any other family. Genes reunited finds matches in other peoples trees for members in yours and I have found it a great site. It's free up to a point, and the only cost is if you want to contact other people to see if you're connected. It's only £7.50 a year anyway, hardly going to break the bank! Family Search is free.

    Source(s): I've got back to the early 1700's on my tree but now I'm stuck as census records don't go back that far.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It is possible to go to the public records office and do the leg work yourself. You still have to pay for certificates, etc. but all records over 100 years old are possible to view. Gather as much info as you can before you go, dates, names places, etc. Check out the website below it will also give you advice.

    Church and parish records are also available for public viewing at request.

    Start by asking relatives etc. if they have any certificates and glean as much info that way.

    You may also find that another relative has done searches at some stage.

    Don't take info on heresay, verify it, people will have false recollections or may even have been fed misleading info for some reason. Expect to find the unexpected!

    Good Hunting

  • 4 years ago

    Lost of sites can be used for free, but you still need to pay for certificates to 'prove' which are the correct parents/spouses etc. Start by speaking to family, taking copies of any certs, and taking notes of anything that they recall.

  • Weed
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I have been on most sites, but they all want money to look at the census, or check birth / marriage certificates, etc,go to Register office where you used to live, or Family Record Centre in London

  • 1 decade ago

    Nothing is for free and when you do get answers, watch out for the catches. I found this site that was not too bad.

  • 1 decade ago

    The most reliable, free source is your family. Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

  • 1 decade ago

    Try this site it is FREE and has helped a lot of people including me.

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