(Family Features) If you have ever thought about exploring your family history, now can be the perfect opportunity to take the next step. To get started, these four simple tips can help you unlock new understanding and make meaningful connections. You can also consider sharing these tips with loved ones so they can join in on the fun, too.
Call Your Family
In almost every family there is someone who knows all about the familial tree and history. You might be unsure of the exact date your grandparents were married, but someone else may know. Building knowledge of your family history can be an excuse to call your mom, your grandma or even your great aunt. They likely have stories and photos you don't have and would likely be willing to share them.
Start a Family Tree
Starting a family tree can be the next step to learning about your family history. Building out your tree online can be simple with a service like Ancestry, which has been turning history into your story by transforming names into family and distant places into home for more than three decades. With more than 20 billion records and 3 million family history subscribers, the service provides all the information and tools you need in one place to make discovery fun and easy. Enter what you know about yourself, your parents, your brothers and sisters then add your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. If you aren't sure about dates and places, make an educated guess then upload photos and stories.
As you continue to explore your family tree, you may find other relatives have already researched pieces and parts of your family tree. Maybe a fourth cousin has your common great-grandparents in their tree with photos and stories about their lives. Find out what other information they might know or share what you know about your branch of the family tree.
Take a DNA Test
DNA testing has revolutionized the way people discover family history. With a service like AncestryDNA, you become part of a genetic network that includes more than 10 million people. In addition to providing ethnicity estimates, the service also compares your DNA to the people in the network and matches you to anyone sharing enough DNA with you to point to a recent common ancestor within the last 8-10 generations. To make those connections even easier to find, attach that family tree you built to your DNA results, and find more information at Ancestry.com.
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