5 Tips to Make Finding Your Ancestors A Little Easier

posted: 03/30/16
by: TLCme
picture of vintage baby photos

Whether you're looking for baby-name ideas, are curious about the origins of your family or have been inspired by TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?", finding your ancestors can be an overwhelming undertaking. Here are a few tips for making it a little less daunting.

1. Pick one branch of the family tree to focus on at a time. It can be daunting to take it all on at once, so make a decision on which one you'd like to start to fill out first.

2. Know the tricks to making your search broader. Family Tree magazine has some excellent tips for how to search your family names, such as: On Ancestry.com you can use a question mark (?) to replace an unknown letter. Not sure if it's Anderson or Andersen? Anders?n will turn up results for both spellings.

3. Ask your living family for assistance. Sometimes an old-fashioned conversation with loved ones will reveal more than you realize.

4. Find sites that help your search. Of course there's Ancestry.com, but you can also look at the Ellis Island database.

5. Consider a DNA test. This seems fancy and/or scary, but it can yield powerful and compelling results. The Maine Gaeltacht Project has 142,000 people listed who have ties between Maine and Ireland, for instance.

And of course you can pick up tips and tricks when you watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" on TLC Sunday nights starting April 3.