How To

How to Make a Family Tree for Free

A very common question among beginners is “How can I make my family tree for free?” Though genealogy can evolve into an expensive hobby, here are some ideas to start to make your family tree for free.

Download free family tree software

One of the best software programs to help you make your family tree, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), is also free! Download PAF (link) to start organizing your information and making your family tree charts for free. Start your family tree by entering your information (name, birth date, birth place, etc.) and continue to add as much information as you know about your family. Once you have entered in everything you personally know, it’s time to get help from family members to expand your family tree.

Interview your parents, grandparents and other relatives

The next step in making your family tree–interviewing relatives–is also free! Sit down with your parents, grandparents and other relatives and find out as much information as they know-names, dates, places-about their parents and their grandparents. These interviews should help you make your family tree back to your great-grandparents or even your great-great-grandparents!

Search at free family tree websites

Though many family tree websites require a subscription free, there are a handful of excellent websites that can help you get started:

1) http://www.familysearch.org/ – One of the best places to start searching for your family tree. Search for each of your ancestors from your family tree who have passed away by name and with any other identifying information (birth date, death date, etc.)

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2) http://www.cyndislist.com/ – With more than 250,000 links to genealogy websites, this is a must-stop for any person trying to make their family tree. Browse through the links related to your family surnames-you may find websites with information that can help you expand certain of your family lines.

3) http://genforum.genealogy.com/ and http://boards.ancestry.com/ – There are thousands of message boards for surnames where you can post as much information as you have on each surname from your family tree and see if there are others also researching the same line who may be able to help!

Visit a local Family History Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is very involved with genealogy and has over 1800 Family History Centers in the United States where volunteers can give you free advice on how to make and research your family tree. These volunteers can also help you search for microfilms that you can look at to find your ancestors in records from all over the world.
Share your family tree

After you have followed the steps above to make your family tree for free, share what you have found with other family members. Consider making a family tree website so that others who are researching similar lines may find parts of their family tree for free!