Family History

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Getting Started - Trace your family tree

When you trace your family tree, it's to tell your own unique story, full of colourful, real-life characters from the past. And no matter how run-of-the-mill your family might appear, each has its intrigues and well-kept secrets!

This guide aims to give an introduction to uncovering your family history. It also helps to demystify the internet as a tool for tracing your family tree. It's a useful overview for anyone who has ever wondered who they are and where they come from.

The recording and retelling of our family histories is one of mankind's oldest traditions - first through word of mouth, later through written records and most recently through websites - the stories of our ancestors' trials and triumphs has shaped our culture and our perspective on the world. In the 20th century migration of people away from their extended families and the dominance of television, games console and computers in the family home threatened the passing on of our family memories across generations. In the last few years, however, one of our most powerful technological inventions the internet is serving as a tool for us to protect and reconnect with our personal histories.

Why is family history so popular these days? For there is no ignoring a hobby which is beaten only by those less family-oriented pursuits of pornography and gambling as the most searched-for services on the internet. According to recent research three in four UK adults are interested in discovering their family history.