Members Only   |   Contact Us   |   Sitemap  

How to Research Your Family History

Work from the known to the unknown

Genealogical work usually moves back in time, going from something we know to something we do not know. You probably know yourself best so, for your ancestors, start with yourself. You probably know when and where you were born, who your siblings are, when and where your parents were born and were married, their siblings (your aunts and uncles) and your grandparents.

Talk to all of the older members of your family. Ask if anyone has done a family tree. Ask when the family came to Canada, where from, where they settled in Ontario and where your ancestors worshipped.

When you have all this data from family members, write it up! Draw the trees, create the family records, note who told it to you and when. Be very orderly in keeping your records.

For more detail see a beginners book, such as the following pair of books by Dr. Fraser Dunford: The Beginner's Guide to Genealogy and The Beginner's Guide to Ontario Genealogy. Later you will want a more detailed book such as Brenda Merriman's Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records.

When you have learned all you can from your family (and not before!), it's time to start searching Ontario records - to confirm what you've been told and to start filling in the gaps.

The following pages will help you organize your search and your work.

First Steps
  • Keeping records
  • Proving and Citing
  • Maps
  • Provincial Maps
  • Ontario Records

  • Reference Books
  • Archives, Libraries, and Repositories
  • Recording/Preserving What you Learn
  • Computer Programs
  • Other Areas of Family History
  • Heraldry and Coats of Arms