Are you curious about your family history? Understanding your background can help you make sense of who are today and researching your ancestors is a fascinating journey back through time. So how do you get started?
1. Write down everything you know
Note down everything you can remember about your family, particulary dates and places of marriages, births and deaths. You can then sketch out a small section of your family tree using the facts you already know.
2. Speak to your family
Living family members can be a wealth of knowledge. Start with your parents, aunts and uncles, then work back a generation if you can. Ask them to share their memories and family stories. Use the information they provide to add facts to your tree.
3. Find family documents
Obvious documents such as certificates, wills and military service papers can provide the "building blocks" of your family tree. Photographs, family letters, newspaper cuttings and family bibles also often hold key information.
4. Organise your family tree
Write down everything you find out, with a note of where the information came from. Take an A3 sheet of paper and start with your name near the bottom, adding any children below you. Note dates of birth as b. DD/MM/YYYY. If you are married, spouses sit alongside link with an m.
Put your parents above you, and your grandparents above them, along with their birth, marriage and death dates. Where you have gaps in information, this provides places to start your research. Keep your tree up to date as you continue.
5. Develop your research
It is always a good idea to check names and dates against official records and obtaining birth, marriage and deaths certificates gives specific dates for these events and can supply additional information such as parents' names, occupations, addresses, etc. Census records can also be a way of checking data or discovering previously unknown relatives. Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online or in some local libraries.
6. Applying for certificates
When applying for certificates from us you will need to provide some information to enable us to locate the correct entry. You can search for birth, marriage and death entries in the General Register Office index (available in Pembrokeshire County Library, Haverfordwest and on pay for use websites such as Find My Past and Ancestry.com). Seaching for a name will give you the quarter and district in which the event took place. If you order from us, you can state you only want the certificate if proven facts, e.g. father's name, are correct.
Pembrokeshire District Register Office
1 Cherry Grove
Tel 01437 775176
Fax 01437 779357
Opening hours - Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm
Limited free 2 hour parking is available behind the Register Office