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18 September 2014
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Getting Started on Your Family Tree

By Dr Nick Barratt
Organisations and events

Find an event in your region 
There are many established professional organisations for genealogists of all levels of experience. One of the most important is the Society of Genealogists, which maintains a vast library of research material and publications from around the world. It also runs lectures and provides research advice for beginners. Although its main site is in central London, it can be contacted in a number of ways - click on its link in the External Links column for further information.

Family-history societies can also provide a ready-made support network of other genealogists working in your area, and the Federation of Family History Societies can provide useful contact details. Most family-history societies hold regular meetings and welcome new members. They hold activities and events, such as talks by members on their own research, visiting speakers and professional genealogists, and even excursions to record offices or other institutions.

Family History Centres, maintained by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, store printed or microfilm copies of genealogical sources - click on its link in the External Links column for further information. Specific material can be requested and ordered in, if your research takes you away from the local area.

'Consider attending an event in your area before you begin your research.'

Family history fairs are a popular way of finding out more about genealogy and are designed to allow researchers to meet representatives from major organisations. Many of the larger fairs are accompanied by lecture programmes and are great fun for beginners looking for inspiration.

Consider attending an event in your area before you begin your research, if only to pick up tips from other researchers. They might pass on information about local research services, or even help to arrange for research to be undertaken on your behalf, if you are not able to travel to a more distant archive.

Most local archives or family history societies carry publicity about local events. As do many family history magazines, available from many booksellers and newsagents. These usually feature nationwide fairs, lectures or other events, as well as useful articles on all aspects of genealogy.

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