Yes, it is possible to build your family tree from scratch. All you need is a little patience, attention to detail and maybe some luck. It also wouldn’t hurt if you used online resources that are available through sites that specialize in genealogy.
With the resurgence of interest in family history, genealogy sites have been experiencing an increase in the number of members who have built their family trees with the help of online resources. Currently, genealogy sites contain billions of names with millions of members and online family trees.
How to join
Most sites require memberships before they will allow you to build your tree or conduct genealogy searches. While some charge annual fees, there are many you can join for free or allow you free access to a limited list of resources. All you have to do is sign up and provide an email address.
If the site requires email confirmation, you can start building your family tree once you’ve gotten past that. You can then log in as a member and start your search and communicate with other members. Some sites worth checking:
Start building your family tree by going to the My Ancestry page. Ancestry.com allows you to search their databases in case you need more information other than family names.
One of this site’s outstanding features is that they allow members to include photos and historical records for safekeeping or display. Playfully named ‘Shoebox’, this page lets members save records that still need confirmation or corroboration. The Shoebox page will keep the record safely until such time when the member decides what to do with it.
Rootsweb.com has an online guide to help you trace your family roots. It also has a site search engine, databases and a surname list where you could look up possible relatives. A useful page is their Social Security Death Index, that allows you to check for ancestors who have disappeared from public records.
The main goal of Rootsweb.com is to give people from all over the world the chance to communicate and compare family ties and probably possible common ancestors. They encourage members to share their records.
Members can also use their link to the WorldConnect Project to look at other family trees. If you want to communicate with other members, you can join their message board and exchange information. Best of all, you can request for free webspace with which to build your genealogy website.
This is a paying site, although it allows you a free trial membership for a limited period. It boasts of 1.8 billion names so far and offers resources for genealogy searches. Learn more about genealogy through their Learning Library, check out other family trees and browse through historical records online.
You can search for surnames at no cost, although you’ll need an online subscription to take a look at other family trees. Memberships cost from $70 to about $200. If you’re not sure about their services yet, sign up for their free trial which will allow you to use their Family Tree Maker and Genealogy Library. You will also have access to international and passenger records so you can also learn about your ancestors from other countries.
Everton Publishers Bureau of Missing Ancestors
This site allows free searches for surnames and also some details about requested information, but you’ll need a paid membership in order to gain full access to everything. This site holds more than 10 million names and genealogy records are indexed for easy searches.