How to use people searches to start your family tree from scratch

In some regards, they are quite old-fashioned. However, just because family trees might be compiled a little differently to what they were in the past, that doesn’t mean to say that they are dying a death.

On the contrary, we are now seeing a new era of historians. Technology has meant that there are a whole host of different ways to research a family’s history – and this is the purpose of today’s post.

As such, if you are in the midst of frantic people searches, and aiming to piece together any element of your family tree, read on to find out just how you can achieve this in the modern world.

Method #1 – People search engines

Before there is any confusion, let’s clarify something here. A people search engine isn’t Facebook or another social network; we will have more on this later.

Instead, it’s a system which allows you to search through historical records such as arrest and criminal records, and ultimately find the data that you are looking for.

There is a distinct advantage on these specialist systems than social networks. The first is of course that they cover both those that are alive, and those that have passed away. Secondly, there’s no opt-out system here – most people are mentioned on at least some official documents and this means that it’s very hard to not be picked up by a people search service.

Method #2 – Social networks

Of course, for something far less advanced there is the social network hunt. The beauty about this is of course the interface; we have grown completely used to Facebook over the past decade and we don’t need any information on how to use it.

As we have already pointed out, there are some pitfalls to this though. Firstly, not everyone has a social media account. Secondly, if the person you are looking for happened to die before the formation of Facebook, it should go without saying that the chances of you finding them on there are absolutely zero.

Method #3 – The official archives

In some ways, the people search method covers this one. After all, those systems are built based on official information.

However, not everyone who is building a family tree likes turning to the internet. It’s in these cases that the likes of churches, and national archive offices, have a wealth of records that you can tap into. Is it hard work? You bet it is. After all, this is a paper trail, and while the documents are sorted in some manner this is by no means as efficient as simply typing in a person’s name through a search box on a computer.

Depending on where in the world you live, you can also tap into war medal and naval records, both which will contain information on your person of interest if they fall under such a category. In other words, if you know at least what line of work they had, your job can be made all the more easier.

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