How do i check my family tree


Find Your Ancestors in the Family Tree

Are you trying to find an ancestor or deceased family member? If so, you should search our Family Tree—the largest shared family tree in the world. The Tree contains more than a billion names. It’s free and open to the public, and the ancestor you’re looking for might already be in it.

Gather what you know about your deceased relative—such as his or her name, birth or death information, and perhaps the name of a parent, spouse, or child—and follow the steps below to see if he or she is in the Family Tree. Or click the button below and go directly to our Find page. 

Searching Family Tree—A Quick Way to Start or Add to Your Genealogy

If you want to find a relative who may be in the Tree, go to FamilySearch, and under the Family Tree tab, choose Find. Be prepared to log in or create a free FamilySearch account. (You can also get to this same page by going to the Search tab, and choosing Family Tree. )

Once onto the Tree Find, enter what you know about your deceased relative. The page opens with a simplified search panel, which works for early searches. To get better results, however, it’s a good idea to open the full search experience by clicking More Options.

The Tree Find looks and functions almost exactly like FamilySearch’s Search Historical Records tool. We did this on purpose, of course. Any search strategies you learned for that page will be equally useful here. Let’s go through the filters one at a time, though, and examine some best practices. 

1. Names

Consider some best practices for filling out the name fields:

  • Enter the person's first and middle names into the First Names field.
  • Enter the person’s family name or surname into the Last Names field.
  • Use the Alternate Names tab for maiden names, nicknames, aliases, other spellings, second last names, and any name changes that may have occurred during a person’s lifetime.

2. Sex

Choosing Male or Female, if known, can help narrow your search results.

3. Life Events

Under Add Life Event, enter what you know about where the person was located during their life. Be sure to change the filter from Any to Birth, Marriage, Residence, or Death. Doing so is likely to make your search more accurate.

4. Family Members

Under Add Family Members, enter what you know about the person’s spouse, father, mother, or other relationship. You can use the same guidelines and strategies for entering names here as you did earlier.

5. Exact Search

Directly below the Family Member section is a toggle for Show Exact Search. Be careful using this option, and only use it when you are getting back more search results than you can reasonably consider. The actual data in Family Tree may be slightly different than the names, dates, and places you are entering, so being flexible with your search criteria is usually a good idea.

It's important to note that turning on the toggle for Show Exact Search doesn’t immediately engage an exact search. Instead, it opens a box next to all of the screen’s search filters, which you can then select or leave empty. It’s highly recommended that you only select the fields you’re sure you want to be exact, and that you start with a few. In other words, you could do an exact search for a particular birth date but not for your other fields.

Once you have entered the information you know, click Find to search for your ancestor’s profile in Family Tree. When the search results appear, click a name to see a summary of that person’s information. Then click on the name in the pop-up window to navigate to the person’s full person page.

Advanced Tips for Finding the Right Person

Too Many Results

Use the gray button filters at the top of the page to quickly fine-tune your search results:

In the search shown in these screenshots, I initially entered my great-grandfather’s name. As you can see, this broad search brought back lots of results—too many to search through. If I click the Birth filter, however, and select a specific area of the world, I can immediately make that number much lower.

No Results or No Matches

If your initial search came up empty, use the search panel on the right side of the screen to modify your search terms. Note: Depending on your screen size, the search panel might not be open at first. If that’s the case, click Search in the right corner to open it.

To broaden your search then, consider modifying anything that might have been too specific, such as an exact year. Increasing the date range for a particular life event can help. You also can try changing the Life Event menu to Birth or Residence instead of Any. If applicable, use the Alternate Names field to enter a maiden name, alias, or different spelling. Then click Search.

If after editing your search, you still can’t find the person you’re looking for, it may be that the person hasn’t been added to Family Tree yet. In that case, you could go ahead and add the person yourself.

In order to add a person to the Tree, you will need his or her name, and then you can enter as much additional information as you can about them, such as where they may have been born or where they lived.

Hint: If you’re missing information about your ancestor, try finding him or her in a historical record, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, draft card, or death certificate.

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How to Use the FamilySearch Family Tree to Find Your Family

Using Preferences to Customize Your Search Results

Experienced researchers will likely appreciate the functionality that comes with the Preference button that appears at the top of your search results page. With Preferences, you can make important choices regarding the formatting and exporting of your search results.

For example, the first option under Preferences is the choice to present your search results in either Data Sheet or Fixed Table:

If I was looking for a search result that matched one specific piece of information—a particular birth date, for example—I’d use Data Sheet. The format makes it easy to scroll and find results that match.

I’d use Fixed Table, by contrast, when I wanted to take a closer look at a handful of search results that all seemed promising, and see how well they matched everything I knew about the person.

Further down the Preferences pane is a section titled Language Options. Here you can choose to view information how it was originally entered into FamilySearch, or to view it with slight edits—what we call “translations”—that make it easier to read. A simple example would be an entry for “Jan 1855,” which, when clarified or translated, would appear as “January 1855.

Last but not least, in the Preferences pane is an option for downloading your search results to your own computer. Perhaps you have your own method for charting and filtering information. If so, you can download the information into any of the following file formats: XLS, XLSX, CSV, ODS, TSV, and ODS.

Find Your Ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree!

 
Ready to learn something about one of your ancestors? Our shared Family Tree has a place in it for everyone in the world—and we want everyone’s help building it!

Pick a deceased relative, and see whether he or she is among the 1.2 billion names in the FamilySearch Family Tree! Find the person’s profile, and enjoy the stories, photos, time lines, and other items that have been attached to it. Then consider what you know about them and could add to their profile. Other relatives may thank you in the future!

How to Find Your Ancestors for Free

How to Find Your Ancestors for Free

By Family Tree Editors

Table of Contents

Free Genealogy Websites

Ancestry.

com Free Features

FamilySearch Features

FindMyPast Free Records

Free Genealogy Records

Free Genealogy Software


Totally Free Genealogy Websites

Finding your ancestors for free seems like an impossible task. Everywhere you turn, subscription-based access seems to be the only way to gain the family tree information you’re desperately seeking. But before you take out that second mortgage, take some time to do research on these totally free genealogy websites. We’ve included websites where you can build your family tree, search records, find genealogy books to borrow and reach out to volunteers who may help you with some of your genealogy research—all for free.

AccessGenealogy

This grab-bag of free genealogy records keeps growing.

Allen County Public Library

Though based in Indiana, this library’s online reach extends much further—reflecting its status as the nation’s second-richest genealogy library.

Ancestral Findings

This site offers free lookups of marriage, birth, death, immigration, land, military and census records in dozens of different resources.

Ancestry Library Edition

Your local library may offer you access to Ancestry.com’s immigration, census, vital and other records through Ancestry Library Edition. The library has to pay, of course, but it’s free to you as a patron.

Books We Own

The next best thing to owning essential genealogy resources is finding someone who has what you need and will do a free lookup for you.

Facebook

The world’s biggest social networking site is a useful tool for finding cousins and getting help with research from volunteers. There are countless pages dedicated to helping beginner genealogists, specific states and heritages, surnames, projects and much more.

FamilySearch

More than 2,000 online collections make this the internet’s largest home to free genealogy data.

Genealogy Bargains

This site points frugal genealogists to deals across the web—from free records access promotions and webinars to discounts on subscriptions and resources.

Genealogy Gophers

Smart, intuitive searching is the hallmark of the partnership with Family­Search here, which quickly combs 80,000 digitized books.

Google Books

Has someone already written a local or family history book relevant to your genealogy? Use Google Books to find out.

HathiTrust

To get the most out of this digital library, you must log in with credentials from a participating institution (such as a university). But there’s plenty here accessible to the general public, too.

HeritageQuest Online

Free to your home computer courtesy of your library card via participating institutions, HeritageQuest is now “powered by” (but not owned by) Ancestry.com.

Internet Archive

The long list of collections here ranges from 2.4 million library items to specialized collections for California and Portugal. Plus the Wayback Machine can find vanished genealogy sites from the early internet.

Library of Congress

Though not specifically focused on genealogy, the nation’s library has plenty to offer online. The Library’s genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s library.

Midwest Genealogy Center

This site from the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Mo., taps one of the nation’s largest genealogy collections.

National Archives and Records Administration

Read all about the genealogical treasures stored at the National Archives, order military and other records, and browse historical maps and photos.

Olive Tree Genealogy

Since its launch in 1996, this modest website has grown into a useful collection of how-to help and databases.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK)

For research tasks in a distant library or archive, turn to this directory of volunteers and locations where they can do research tasks. (Please note you may be asked to reimburse small expenses such as photocopying or postage.)

RootsWeb

This venerable free site still serves up how-to articles, databases of surnames and US locations, mailing lists, pedigree files and much more—making it an oldie but a goodie.

USGenWeb

This volunteer site, with its state and county pages and special projects, remain as vibrant as ever.

WeRelate

Contributors here collaborate to build a single, unified family tree, with pages for more than 2.8 million people and 400,000 places. Register to add your tree; upload your family tree as a GEDCOM; and share documents, photos and stories.

WikiTree

More than half a million genealogists have contributed to this unified family tree, which now boasts nearly 18 million ancestral profiles (including living people, though they’re private except for invited people). Uniquely, more than 4 million profiles include information about DNA tests at various sites, which may help you confirm or reject your relation to that profile.

WorldCat/ArchiveGrid

Find your family history in 2 billion items at 10,000 of the world’s libraries, then click to see holdings nearest you using WorldCat. (You may also be able to borrow the books you discover using interlibrary loan. )

Its offshoot ArchiveGrid searches more than 4 million descriptions of archival records from 1,000 different institutions. Learn about historical documents, personal papers, family histories and other materials that may mention your ancestors. A clickable map makes it easy to find archives near you.

David Fryxell and Sunny Jane Morton

More Resources

NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

NGS Recommends…
18 Important Free Websites for Genealogy Research

GENEALOGY EXPLAINED

26 Free Genealogy Websites

AMY JOHNSON CROW

7 Free Genealogy Websites That You Might Be Overlooking

Return to Top


Ways to Use Ancestry.

com for Free

Even outside of a free trial, the savvy researcher can take advantage of Ancestry.com without having a paid subscription. Check out these seven free features of Ancestry.com (and its sister sites):

  1. Search the free index collections, which include both US and international records
  2. Use the free Ancestry.com card catalog
  3. View record previews
  4. Take a peek at public member trees
  5. Learn from Ancestry Academy’s how-to videos
  6. Watch Ancestry on YouTube
  7. Test with AncestryDNA (You’ll need to pay for a test, but you won’t need a paid Ancestry.com subscription to view your results or contact matches.)
  8. Search free records on Ancestry.com’s sister sites

Nancy Hendrickson

More Resources

FAMILY HISTORY DAILY

How to View Thousands of Free Records on Ancestry Without a Subscription

ANCESTOR SEARCH

Free Databases at Ancestry.com

ARE YOU MY COUSIN?

How To Do Free Genealogy Research on Ancestry. com

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Four Features of FamilySearch

FamilySearch.org is the world’s biggest, all-free, all-genealogy website, with the most global record content. Here are four features you should know about if you want to research your ancestors for free.

Historical Records

At last count, FamilySearch is home to more than 4 billion historical, high-quality genealogical document record images, painstakingly gathered over the course of several decades from repositories around the world.

FamilySearch Wiki

The FamilySearch Wiki hosts nearly 100,000 articles to get you started (or help you break through a brick wall) with your current research question.

Family History Library Catalog

The catalog of the entire Family History Library is searchable on FamilySearch.org. Search the catalog by place to explore what resources are available for your locale of interest.

FamilySearch Digital Library

In addition to the shelves of the Family History Library, the Digital Library offers search results on about half a million titles made available through libraries, genealogy societies and university libraries.

Sunny Jane Morton

More Resources

AMAZON

Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org: How to Find Your Family History on the World’s Largest Free Genealogy Website

FAMILY HISTORY HELP BY CAROL HILL

How to get HELP on FamilySearch.org

PORTSMOUTH PUBLIC LIBRARY

Guide to FamilySearch Resources

Return to Top


Free Records on FindMyPast

Most of the giant genealogy websites, including Findmypast, allow users to create free guest logins and at least search their record collections for free. But viewing the actual record transcriptions and images you’ll find in search results generally requires the proper subscription. Findmypast’s free portal gives full access to the following to those who create their free registrations:

  1. 1940 United States Census and all Canadian censuses
  2. Parish registers, cemetery records and marriage indexes
  3. Passenger lists and travel records
  4. Irish Catholic parish records
  5. 1881 Census of England, Wales and Scotland

More Resources

THE GENEALOGY GUIDE

4 Ways You Can Get Records at FindMyPast For Free!

ARE YOU MY COUSIN?

Get the Most from A FindMyPast Free Trial

DUMMIES

How to Set Up a Findmypast. com Free Trial

Return to Top


Free Genealogy Records

Here are some websites for tracking down more free genealogy records. Also keep in mind many public libraries, state archives, historical societies and universities host free digitized records on their own websites—so if you want to find your ancestors for free, you may have to do some extra digging.

It’s also possible to find free genealogy records at subscription genealogy sites, if you know where to look. Plus, be on the lookout for temporary, free full access to record collections on subscription sites, usually available around a specific holiday or anniversary of a historic event. You can easily find these at GenealogyBargains.com.

VITAL

The Ancestor Hunt

Archives.gov

FamilySearch Wiki

ResearchGuides.net

USGenWeb

VitalRec.com

CENSUS

Census Finder

Census Online

Internet Archive

My Free Census Records

ResearchGuides. net

CHURCH

The Ancestor Hunt

FamilySearch Wiki

FreeReg

Random Acts of Geneological Kindness
(links on left)

NEWSPAPERS

Chronicling America

Elephind

GenDisasters.com

Google News Archive

Online Historical Newspapers

Old Fulton New York Post Cards

ResearchGuides.net

DIRECTORIES

MyHeritage

Internet Archive

Google Books

Online Historical Directories

WorldCat

MILITARY

FamilySearch Wiki

ResearchGuides.net

USA.gov

More Resources

ARE YOU MY COUSIN?

Free Genealogy Records – A Guide To Frugal Genealogy Research

USA.GOV

Genealogy and Family History

ANCESTRY

Free Genealogy Records: Where to Find Them and How to Contribute

Return to Top


Free Genealogy Software

If your research has ranged much beyond one family, you’re probably scouting for a way to organize your family tree. Genealogy database software could be just the ticket—and you don’t have to spend and arm and a leg to get enough power to accomplish the task. Several great options are just a free download away.

Ancestral Quest

Basics

This software has all the essential features for working with your family tree.

Gramps

Gramps is a free software and community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists. Features include family groups, charts, events, repositories list, and much more.

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder

Use this software to create your family tree offline or on a secure site at MyHeritage.com. You can print decorative family tree charts from your online tree (order larger copies for a fee). The program supports 36 languages and its SmartMatching technology searches for matches to your ancestors in other users’ trees.

Legacy Family Tree Standard Edition

This free version of the popular software includes family and pedigree views, a to-do list, research log, event reminders and more.

RootsMagic Essentials

You’ll get many of the core features of the award-winning RootsMagic software in this free version: the Source Wizard, loads of reports and charts, unlimited data capacity and more.

Lisa Louise Cooke

More Resources

CYNDI’S LIST

Free Genealogy Software

THE GENEALOGY GUIDE

6 Best Free Genealogy Software Downloads!

ARCHIVES.COM

Genealogy Software & Family Tree Research

Return to Top

FamilyTreeMagazine.com is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. It provides a means for this site to earn advertising fees, by advertising and linking to Amazon and affiliated websites.

General Genealogy

Author

Family Tree Editors

Find your ancestors in Family Tree

Are you trying to find an ancestor or deceased family member? If so, we encourage you to search our Family Tree, the largest single family tree in the world. It contains over a billion names. The tree is free and public, and the ancestor you're looking for may already be in it.

Gather everything you know about your deceased relative - their full name, birth or death information, if possible the names of parents, spouses or children - and follow these steps to find out if they are listed on Family Tree. Or click on the button below and go directly to our "Search" page.

Family Tree Search is a quick way to start building or adding more information to your family tree

If you want to find a relative who might be in the Family Tree, go to the FamilySearch website and then in the Family Tree tab select Find . Get ready to sign in or create a free FamilySearch account. (You can also access this page via the tab Search and select Family tree .)

On the Find page, enter what you know about your deceased relative. The system will open a page with a simplified search bar that works for the initial search. However, for best results, we recommend that you open the advanced search function by clicking More Options .

Tree Search looks and functions much like the FamilySearch Historical Record Search tool. We did it on purpose, of course. Any search strategies you have learned for this page will be equally useful here. Let's go through each filter individually and see how they work.

1. Names

Let's consider some recommendations for filling in the fields for full name.

  • Enter the person's last name in the Last Name field.
  • Use the Name Variation tab to list maiden names, nicknames, aliases, other spellings of the first name, middle surnames, and any name changes that may have occurred during the person's lifetime.
  • 2nd floor

    Entering the gender of a person Male or Female if known, will narrow your search results.

    3. Events from life

    In the line "Add event from life" enter the information you know about where this person was during his life. Be sure to change the filter from Any to Birth , Marriage , Residence or Death . This will probably make your search more accurate.

    4. Family members

    In section Add family members , enter what you know about the person's spouse, father, mother, or other relationship. You can use the same guidelines and strategies for entering names here as before.

    5. Exact Search

    Directly below the Family Members section is the radio button Show exact search . Be careful using this option. Use it only when the system produces search results in such a volume that you cannot analyze. The actual data in Family Tree may differ slightly from the names, dates, and places you enter, so it's best to be flexible with your search criteria.

    It is important to note that by enabling the checkbox Show exact search , it is not necessary to immediately search for exact criteria. The system opens fields opposite all search filters on the screen, which you can select or leave blank. It is strongly recommended that you fill in only those fields for which you absolutely need to search by exact criteria. Start your search using a small number of these fields. In other words, you can search for exact criteria for a specific date of birth without using other fields.

    After entering the information you know, press Search to search for your ancestor's profile in Family Tree. When the system returns the search results, click on the name to see a summary of that person's information. Then click on the name in the dropdown box to go to the person's page.

    Helpful Hints for Finding the Right Person

    Too Many Results

    Use the gray button filters at the top of the page to quickly narrow your search results:

    In the search, as shown in these screenshots, I first enter my great-grandfather's name. As you can see, this broad search brought up a lot of results - too many to explore. If I click on the filter Birth and select a specific region of the world, I can immediately decrease that number.

    No results or matches

    If your initial search was unsuccessful, use the search bar on the right side of the screen to change your criteria. Note: Depending on your screen size, the search bar may be initially hidden. If so, press Search in the right corner to open it.

    To broaden your search, you can change things that might be too specific, such as the exact year. Increasing the date range for a particular event can be an effective way. You can also try selecting Birth or Place of residence instead of Any in the Life Event section. If applicable, use the "Name Option" line to enter your maiden name, alias, or other spelling of the first name. Then press Search .

    If you still can't find the person you want after editing your search, that person may not have been added to Family Tree. In this case, you can add this person yourself.

    To add a person to the Tree, you will need their name, and then you can enter as much additional information about them as possible, such as where the person was born or where they lived.

    Hint: If you are missing information about your ancestor, try to find it in the historical record, for example, in a birth certificate, marriage certificate, military card or death certificate.

    Using the "Settings" option to customize your search results

    Experienced researchers will certainly appreciate the functionality of the "Settings" section that appears at the top of the search results page. In Preferences, you can make important decisions about formatting and exporting search results.

    For example, the first option in the "Settings" section is the choice of displaying search results as a data page or as a fixed table: data page. The format makes it easy to scroll through and find matching results.

    In contrast, with a fixed table, we can analyze a small subset of the search results that we think are promising and see how they match what we knew about the person.

    Next in the Preferences panel is the Language Options section. Here you can choose to view the information as it was originally entered into FamilySearch, or view it with minor edits, which we call "translations," to make it easier to read. A simple example would be "January 1855" which, if refined or translated, would be "January 1855".

    Last but not least in the Preferences panel is the option to download search results to your computer. Perhaps you have your own methods of accounting and filtering information. If yes, then you can download the information in any of the following file formats: XLS, XLSX, CSV, ODS, TSV and ODS.

    Find your ancestors in FamilySearch Family Tree!


    Ready to learn something new about your ancestors? There is room for everyone in our Family Tree. We want everyone to help in its creation!

    Select a deceased ancestor and see if their name is among the 1.2 billion names in the FamilySearch Family Tree! Find a person's profile and enjoy stories, photos, timelines and more about them. Then think about what you know about this person and what you can add to their profile. Perhaps one of the relatives will thank you in the future!

    How to grow your family tree?

    • 03/23/2018
    • Author: German Klimenko
    • 13591

    Do you want to know the history of your family, find distant relatives or just discover the blood of some noble family in your veins? Congratulations - with this manual, your search will not last for many decades.

    Why study your family history?

    Someone studies their own history in order to shed light on the dark spots of their biography, someone hopes to find missing relatives, and someone is engaged in genealogy in order to discover noble roots in themselves - there are very, very reasons to study their own roots a lot of.

    In the process, facts are revealed that are connected not only with the history of the family of a single person, but also with the history of the whole country - after immersing in the topic, the seeker looks at the historical events that have taken place differently.

    What should be done to restore family history? Where to go / call / write?

    To begin with, interview blood relatives and draw up a birth certificate for each of them.

    Interviewing each member of your family, try to fill in the maximum number of sections of the questionnaire. You need to start with your parents, then move on to grandparents, and then take on the rest of the blood relatives.

    Remember that oral histories are extremely important information. Interrogate your relatives, get as much sensible information as possible: ask about the dates of birth and death of your ancestors, their names and surnames, places of work and residence.

    Don't be afraid to ask naive questions - your great-grandmother's favorite outfit or great-grandfather's love stories will reveal bits and pieces of your general biography. And yes, don't forget to record your oral histories on a tape recorder!

    Study the family archive. Collect old photographs (signed copies will be especially valuable), house books, letters, certificates of marriages and divorces, births and deaths. Keep an eye out for old envelopes, postcards, tickets, and stamps—an unsightly piece of paper can be an important part of your story. It is better to scan all found documents and collect them in one folder - caution is never excessive.

    Also, don't forget to structure the received information - make tables in Excel and Google Sheet, take notes on your phone, write down data in your favorite notebook - organize everything in such a way that the data you find does not go to oblivion.

    Remember that the necessary documents may not be in your closet, but in the attic of your dacha, in your cousin's desk or in the nearest registry office - you need to check everything.

    With the collected information, you can raise more serious documents, photographs and metrics - for this you need to go to the archive.

    Wait, can't I just google the necessary information?

    If your ancestors do not include someone from the Jagiellonian or Poniatowski family, then a search query in the spirit of name / surname / patronymic will not give special results. However, you can use various international services created to restore the family tree.

    There are many portals that allow you to find relatives using digitized parish registers, church records, population censuses and burial lists:

    - use the sites MyHeritage.com and Familyspace.ru - there you can create your own family tree, build family branches and find matches with trees of other users; – if at the beginning of the 20th century your relatives went to work in the USA, try to find information about their activities on Ancestry.com;

    - on the expanses of FamilySearch.org you can find data from registers of births that caring Mormons fished out of Belarusian churches and churches;

    - in Google Books you can also find scans of documents that may include your potential relatives;

    – You can find information about the victims of the Holocaust on the website of the Yad Vashem Center;

    - the sites obd-memorial. ru, pamyat-naroda.ru and podvignaroda.ru will be useful if one of your relatives participated in World War II or the Soviet-Finnish War;

    - if your ancestors were Russian, then you can find valuable information on the website of the All-Russian Genealogical Tree;

    - if they were Jews - the portal "Jewish gen" will come to the rescue;

    – ancestors from Poland can be found in the archives of the Szukaj w Archiwach service or on the Archiwum Zabużańskie website;

    – you can find out about the victims of repressions in the database “Victims of political terror in the USSR”, on the website “Personal File of Everyone” and in the database of the project “Last Address”;

    - the necessary information may be hidden in the virtual jungle of the National Historical Archive of Belarus.

    Remember that due to constant transliteration, the names of your ancestors could change - try to enter different options in Latin, Cyrillic and Belarusian Latin.

    Be careful with dates of birth - dates of baptism may be written instead.

    You should also be prepared for the fact that the searches carried out on the above sites will not give results - in such cases you should contact the archive.

    Which archive should I choose?

    In Belarus, you can find information about your ancestors in two archival institutions: in the National Historical Archives of the city of Grodno and in the capital's National Historical Archives of Belarus.

    The first archive contains documents on the territory of the Grodno province, the second contains materials on the territory of the Vitebsk, Mogilev and Minsk provinces, as well as on the Vileika and Disna districts.

    All the necessary documents are collected - how to get into the archive?

    First you need to write an application to the director of the archives - a sample can be found on the website of the National Historical Archives.

    This application is considered within a few days, after which it is transferred to the reading room, where you need to come with a passport and a photo to issue a library card.

    Present your library card at the entrance to the hall and work in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Do you have to pay for archiving?

    No, you can work in the reading room for free, but you will have to pay a symbolic amount for copying materials and commissioned consultations.

    There are mountains of rare documents in the archive - where should I start my search?

    Familiarize yourself with the scientific and reference apparatus of the archive - with it you will not get lost in the historical labyrinth and will find those funds in which the documents you need may be hidden.

    When you find the fund you need, place an order on the form that will be given to you in the reading room, indicating the fund number, inventory and file - the documents you need will be delivered the next day.

    Can you find similar documents somewhere other than the National Archives?

    If your ancestors had a criminal past, you can explore the KGB archives - there you can get interrogation protocols and look at case files.

    As in the case of the National Archives, here you will have to write a statement - while this can only be done by a direct relative of the person about whom information is requested, or his representative by proxy.

    Attention: one request to the State Security Committee will cost 26 BYN.

    I have money but no time - who can do all the searching for me?

    In the same National Historical Archive and its branch in Grodno, with an advance payment of 288 BYN, archivists will restore one branch of your family tree for up to 1,440 BYN.

    According to the norms, genealogical research lasts no more than 30 days - as a result, you will receive an archival certificate of the established form, which will include excerpts from documents that contain information about the requested persons and their male ancestors.

    You can also contact the VEHA project, which will interview all members of your family, record the metric data of all relatives and turn the photographs you find into a printed book with stories of your family. You will have to pay at least 1500 BYN for such work.

    I have collected an ocean of information - how do I create a family tree?

    There are many different services where you can visualize your pedigree - "Tree of Life", "Family Tree Builder", "Geni", "GenoPro".

    With a schematic tree, you can contact the designers - they will create a complete picture worthy of the most luxurious hall.

    For help in compiling the material, we thank Lesya Pchelka, the organizer of the VEHA project, which, by the way, recently won second place in the nomination "Exhibition / Project of the Year" within the Bureau Award "Month of Photography in Minsk" .

    Illustration by Sheeborshee

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