You never know what knowledge your parents or grandparents might have up their sleeves, and unless you ask, you might miss the crucial tidbit which gets you on the path to finding your story...

Get started with our easy-to-use guide

It's so easy to get going with Findmypast. You can easily search our archive of 4 billion historical records from around the world – including the fascinating historical newspaper collection and PERSI records – to follow your ancestors’ journeys and build your own family tree.

By asking your relatives a few simple questions, you can get an idea of where the best place to start searching might be.


20 questions to get you started

1. Where were you born?

2. What is your earliest childhood memory?

3. In which areas did you grow up?

4. Which schools did you attend, and when did you leave?

7. When and where did your parents marry? (If they married at all).

5. Where were your parents born?

6. What was your mother’s maiden name?

8. What’s the earliest generation of your family of whom you have knowledge? Do you know your great grandparents’ names, for example?

9. What did your parents and grandparents do for work? (This can help you confirm that you have the correct person in a census record).

10. Can you recall any stories about ancestors who emigrated, or who moved to this country? Do you know the name of the ship they travelled on?

11. Can you recall any funny or interesting anecdotes passed down about family members?

12. Are there any family legends? Family members who were famous inventors, or war heroes?

13. Do you have any birth, marriage or death certificates, or perhaps any letters or correspondence that belonged to family members?

14. Did any of your ancestors serve in the military? If so, do you know when, and whether they were decorated?

15. Were any ancestors ever on the wrong side of the law?

16. Did any ancestors get a divorce that you know of?

17. Did any of your family members have nicknames?

18. Do you know of any other family member who has researched our family history?

19. Were any of our ancestors religious?

20. How did your grandparents celebrate Labor Day?