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* A trip down memory lane

You may not know it, but you have already begun collecting information for your family tree. Your personal memories and the stories you've heard from others have created a collection of genealogical information. The information that you already have probably includes the names, birth dates and birthplaces of your close relatives, along with other facts that you may know. To start growing your family tree, all you need to do is record the facts that you already know. It doesn't matter how few or how many facts you know, because even the smallest seeds can grow into enormous family trees! For help with recording what you already know, see the topic Starting out: collecting family memories.

In addition to your family memories, you may have or know about photo albums, scrapbooks, family Bibles and other family keepsakes and memorabilia. These are excellent places to look for genealogical information about your family. The topic Finding information at home will give you a good list of places to look.

Once you have recorded all of the basic genealogical information that you and your family can recall, you may want to dig deeper into the family memory and collect stories that will give all of those names and dates a little bit of character. The topic Recording oral histories: tips and topics offers help with recording those stories.

You'll also want to check for previous research about your family. Previous research is information about your family that has already been compiled; including family and local histories, genealogies, pedigrees, articles in periodicals, and collections of family papers. You can find these types of items with the help of libraries. For help with finding previous research, see the topic A quick treasure hunt.

Keys to successful genealogical research:

Key Staying organized

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