The 15 Genealogy Research Questions You Must Answer to Get Started with Your Amazing Family Tree (2019) [New]

No Comments

Today I’m going to show you exactly how to get started with your family tree.

In fact, these are the same genealogy questions I have used to build a family tree with 5,734 people in it.

And I should point something out.

This beginning family group is something any beginner can do, that needs no special knowledge and does not require professional help.

So if you have been too intimidated by starting your family tree, you’ll love the simple steps in this guide.

Let’s get started.

Two basic principles

You will be guided by these two basic principles:

Genealogy Questions - Start with What You Know

The second principle is

Start with what you know about yourself and work backwards in time – parents, grandparents, etc.

When you reach a point where you are stumped, stop.

Don’t skip this generation.

You will have more work to do, but that is not for now.

Remember we are just getting started.

Genealogy Questions About Your Parents

Take a moment to think about and write down what you know about your parents.


They are the closest generation to you and most likely you will remember some details without having to look them up.

What are your parents’ names? Write down their first, middle and last name. For your mother, use her maiden name. (You will thank me later).

Identify which is the husband and which is the wife. Future generations may not be able to tell by just looking at a name.


What did they do for a living? This information is important because it is another unique identifier for a person.

How much do you know about their occupation? What was their daily life like? Did it help their economic standing in your community?

Sometime in your future research this bit of knowledge may help you in finding other records.


Did they practice a religion? If so, write it down. If not, that may be useful to know as well.

Church records are a valuable resource when tracing your family tree.

This may have influenced your family traditions, or it may be tied to the country they were from.

The Big Three

Birth Date

When and where were they born?

Identify the birth by date, month and year.

Identify the birthplace by city, county, state or country.

Baptism or Christening

When and where were they baptized or christened?

Use the same formats for for when and where as you did for birthdate.

What was the name of the church where they were christened?


If they were married, when and where did the marriage take place?

What was the name of the church if applicable?

Did either of your parents have other husbands or wives?

If so, at this stage all you need to write down are their names if you know them. Don’t worry about marriage dates for those folks just yet.


Are they still living? If not, when and where did they die?

What was the cause of death?

When and where were they buried? You might indicate the cemetery and place if you know it along with the city, county, state or country.

What was the date their will was written/proved?

Take a Deep Breath

How are you doing so far?

Not so bad is it?

Look over your information that you’ve written down so far. Miss anything? Surprised at how much you already know?

Take a Peek Into the Next Generation

Who were your parents’ parents?

Name the mother and father for each.

This is all you need to know at this juncture.

Look at Your Own Generation

Do you have brothers/sisters?

If so, make a list of them by their names in birth order.

List their sex next to each name.

Answer the same questions about each brother/sister.

When and where were they born?

Are they married?

What is the name of their spouse?

What is the date and place of their first marriage?

Are they living? If not, when did the die and what was the cause?

Where did they die?

The Last Step

By this point you have captured information about yourself, your parents, your grandparents and your brother and sisters.

In genealogy terms this is known as the family group.

You are fine if you just have this written on paper, or typed up in a Word document.

If you would like to take it one step further you can download a family group sheet from for free and fill it out with this information.

And, finally, you now have the information ready to fill in details in any genealogy software of your choosing. That is a subject for another day.

That’s it for getting started with your family tree.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you have any questions about this process?

Or maybe you have a cool tip that I didn’t share here.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)

About us and this blog

We are a professional genealogy company with a focus on helping our clients tackle difficult family history problems and trace their family trees.

Request a free quote

We offer professional genealogy services that help clients reach their goals and break through brick walls.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

More from our blog

See all posts

Leave a Comment