Search My Family Tree – Let’s Find An Ancestor

Hello, I am glad you have returned. Now you are ready to find another ancestor. I hope you enjoyed the last couple of articles, taking a side journey with a brief history and comparison of search sites. I hope you found that information useful.

An extensive amount of work by genealogy lovers the world over are collecting records, indexing, and storing originals. This work shared by all, allowing us to find information about our loved ones. Giving us a way to know them, through these records, and have a timeline of their lives.

We are going to use the tools that are in place to aid us in our research. We will find some source documents and learn what to do with them. We will be working with handwritten or typed forms and build our filing system. If, you already have a genealogy program go ahead and print your pedigree chart and other forms to put in your filing system.

Later we will discover some genealogy programs and their features. But, right now, we need to understand the process. Once we know the process, we can then computerize and organize another filing system.

Find an Ancestor – Let’s discover

We will begin this section by you selecting an ancestor that has missing information. We will walk through the process of finding valid documentation about this ancestor.

We will perform this by showing you a search for my family tree example. We will be focusing not only on the information but the source and the reliability of the source.

So, at this point, choose someone from your pedigree that you need more information. Then we will go through the process together.

You might be finding different information than my example, but, that process will not be that different.

I will be showing the process I took to find information about my maternal grandfather

So, we begin – A bit about me

I did not grow up with my mother; my father took me away from her when I was 5yrs old and, raised by my stepmother (a long story). I was in my mid 40’s after my stepmother had passed that I tracked down my mother and started to build a relationship over the phone. I had the opportunity to meet my mother in person a few years back. As a result, I was able to find a bit about my maternal family. In that conversation, I was able to take notes about my mother’s parents, siblings, and met a lot of cousins. There were no records to see, but a lot of memories to talk about and a few pictures. It was a pleasant visit, and I took a lot of notes, enough to get me started, after all, the whole purpose of the visit was to get to know my mother and her family

Source Family Correspondence

The following are notes about my mother’s father. As you can see my mother had a bit of information to help, I get to know my grandfather.

Information is valuable

I didn’t even have a name; these are the exciting times I have mentioned.

As you can see, I have a first name, last name, date of birth, partial place of birth. We also visited the cemetery of my grandfather’s burial site. I have a picture of his headstone with birth and death dates.

I still would like to find a birth and death record to confirm that the headstone is correct.

Side Note: As you continue to go farther back in your search and find older cemetery records. It has occurred that a headstone has an incorrect date, (mistakes can happen), or it might only show a year and that year could be an estimate.

Always be cautious we want correct Sources and detailed information about each Source and its origin.

I will record birth and death information in my Pedigree Chart in pencil. Also, I will enter this information into my Research Log and record the Source as a picture of the Headstone and Correspondence Log.

I will also start a To-Do list for my grandfather and add that I need Birth and Death records to confirm headstone dates, plus marriage records using the about year for my search.

My mother also told me about her brother, who had passed away when he was 21yrs old. She also told me the names of my grandfather’s siblings.

I will enter information from my notes to a Family Group Form the name of my grandmother, my mother, and her brother. Also, I will start a Cross-Reference Log and record the other information from the Correspondence Log, i.e., great-grandmother and uncle names.

Let’s Research – Valid Sources

The information from the correspondence log gives me a starting point to conduct my next search.

We will be searching in Family for this research example. As you can see from the sample, click on search them records. Under Search Historical Records enter First and Last name, Birthplace, Birth year range.

Once you scroll down and use the search button, a list of potential records appears there are usually several people with the same name, but in this case, my grandfather’s name is on top.

Let’s move over to the right and view the document. On the next page you will notice for this record there is no image available, and this vital record index is a birth record.

Exactly what I’ve been waiting for, and what information have I gained:

  • I now know the County, State, Country
  • A confirmation of Birth
  • Name of his mother

Awesome news.

I will put this information in my Family Group Form and the Source which is the name of the Record Collection: Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes, 1911-1999, and the full document information: Citing this Record…in my Research Log.

You will also notice that I could attach this information to my family search tree under my grandfather’s name, but Instead, I will choose to open the Tools button and Add to Source Box.

Why would I not attach right now? I want to view the document myself. I would hope to see his Father’s name. I will keep checking back and wait till the record become available.

Side Note: I am sure this record has not been available for very long, someone would have indexed the information. And, the images to these records will be available soon.

In the meantime, as I continue to search, I will use the new information as I search for Census records, etc. So, I can find out where he has lived and more about his parents and siblings.

Also, notice on the first page that I squared in blue, the Social Security Death record of my grandfather.

The same applies here no image available yet. But I now have confirmation that the month and year are the same as Herbert’s headstone and I also the State he was in when he died. Awesome

How Did Your Search Go?

I hope you were able to find some information about the relative you chose in your search and have caught the research bug…it can be quite contagious.

Remember now to file all the forms you’ve filled out in the corresponding Surname hanging file folder. Make a manila file for the relative you just searched, also you could print screen page in Family Search the information you just discovered or if you found a document print it, and add to your ancestor’s folder, with their full name in the tab. If, you are filing using the binder method do the same.

I certainly hope you have found this article helpful on a quest to search my family tree and find missing loved ones.

You are the author of their story, and in finding them you are bringing them back to life, they will be living through you as they tell you their story.

Please comment and tell me about your experiences while researching. And, if I can help in any way.

Thank you for taking the time.

Kindest Regards


6 thoughts on “Search My Family Tree – Let’s Find An Ancestor”

  1. What a story, I am happy for you that you finally got to reconnect with your mother and your mother’s family side. We all wanted to know where we came from. Mistakes happened in the past all of time. For example, my father was born in a small town and when he was born he wasn’t born in the hospital. By the time we went to the city, his real date of birth was a little off. I am sure that was the same case with the headstones as well. Does the Family Search only available in the U.S.? I only have some of my family here in the U.S. but most of them are in Thailand, it would be nice if I can track some part of my family as well. My father told me that till this day there were some of our family members that we couldn’t track. My family we migrated from Fuzian, China to Thailand. The the process some of our family moved to Hong Kong and some part of China. My father and my grandfather moved to Thailand. My grandmother passed already at the time. It would be nice to see if I can track my family tree.

    • Hello Nuttanee, Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I appreciate your comments. It sounds like you have a challenge with your family history as well. To answer your question, Family Search has records from all over the world, Ancestry and My Heritage as well, to name a few. I check Family Search for files from Thailand, and there are a few records listed but, it appears they might be on microfilm.

      But, you could search by family surname and find some other records. It certainly would be worth it. Research records from some countries might take longer to get indexed to an online version because some governments will only release a few at a time and only specific years. New records are indexed every day. So, it is just a matter of time.

      Family Search is free to use, so give it a try. Use as many combinations as you wish in your search, sometimes less is more. 

      Good luck in your endeavor. If there is anything, I can do to assist just let me know. 

      Kindest Regards


  2. Interesting! Thank you for this article on finding information about loved ones. It will be invaluable for those seeking such information. I have never really wanted to find out about a relative in particular but have always been interested in finding more about my ancestry and family genealogy. Do you think this type of search could help with that? 

    • Hello Sherry, I am glad that you found this article interesting. You are welcome, we all have a family history and every now and again we all become curious about our ancestors, for some of us it is later in life, but it will happen. Not all of us will have the desire to research, and there is nothing wrong with that either. Most families have someone interested in researching their ancestors.  To answer your question, searching for an ancestor in Family Search would spark interest. 

      Give it a try. It doesn’t cost anything, only time. 

      Kindest Regards


  3. That’s an awesome post. I always loved to find my family tree. But, unfortunately my grandpa doesn’t know the name of his own grandpa. So, I lost interest over the period of time. BTW, what would you do in this case? 

    But after reading your post, my old interest became alive once again. Glad to see your family tree as well. We read Bible and it’s really about family tree, in fact new testament starts with family tree of Lord Jesus. So, definitely it is good interest to have. I’ll follow your advise and read your further posts. 

    Thanks a lot for sharing this useful post. 

    • Thank you for your kind words. I am pleased that you enjoyed my post. The fact that after reading, it has sparked an interest in you to try again, means I have accomplished my goal. 

      If I were you, I would proceed by searching the surname of your grandpa and watch for records in the general area his grandpa might have lived. It would probably be a long list, but, you would be looking for clues that could be possibilities. It’s like solving a mystery and could take some time. New records are indexed on a daily bases. Keep gathering the clues, and eventually, you will find some answers. 

      A family tree is one of the many things we all have in common. In my belief system, I feel we are all related, just one big family tree and our Lord Jesus Christ is the key. 

      I wish you well in your endeavor.

      Kindest Regards


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