how do i find out about people in my family like great great grandparents if nobody knows anything about them?

and the family that does know about them wont tell you? i am doing a family tree and am stuck but i want to go further. please give me some ideas on how to find things like this out. also i found out that my dad and mom were both married to different people before i was born and had children with these people but they will no give me information about them. i need this information badly so how do i get it?

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  • I am going to paste my standard answer about how to go about this. You may have a few steps already done. Understand that genealogy is very methodical, for every person you want to try to obtain at the very least their birth date, birth place, marriage date, place of marriage (all of them if applicable) their death date, death place and their children. You may have to order records from the vital statistics office, especially with recent generations. With generations further back you may have to get more creative. The important thing is that you are organized right from the get go. Also, if you are stuck, don’t underestimate the importance of researching the brothers and sisters of your ancestors. Alot of times when I can’t find information on my direct ancestor, I research the siblings. For example, my gr gr grandmother didn’t have any parents listed on her death certificate, but when I researched her sister Hesters death certificate, the parents were listed plain as day. It is a big puzzle and many times you have to get creative. Here is my pasted answer. I hope there is some information you can use. Write to me through my profile if you have any questions or would like for me to try to look someone up. I’d be happy to help.

    The best place to begin researching your family tree is with your very own family. Get a note book and write down everything that you know about yourself and your siblings. Include dates and places of birth, marriage and if applicable death dates and places of interment. As soon as you have all that, move back a generation to your parents. Once you have all of that, move back to your grandparents and keep going until you run stuck. Once you have written down everything you know, talk to your family members. Sometimes even your siblings know more than you do, but usually if you talk to your parents or grandparents they can go a generation or two further than you can simply because they are a generation or two older than you.

    One thing I should mention to you since you are a new genealogist is to document EVERYTHING! This will save you so much work later. If you get a date from Grandma’s bible, simply document that information. If you can get in the practice of doing this from the beginning, you will avoid making the big mistake that most of us genealogists made while we were starting out. Think about it… if you have people in your family tree, you might be able to keep this information “in your head”, but what happens when this number rises to or ,? After a while genealogy gets in your blood and , people is not and unfeasible number.

    What happens next is up to you. What are you interested in? Would you like to know who all of your great great grandparents are? Are you interested in a particular surname? Are you trying to prove that you are related to someone famous? Only you know the answer to these questions? Once you’ve decided which avenue you want to explore you can continue. There are many records out there that genealogists use. Many of them are free, but there are others that are by subscription.

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    One thing I need to mention is that to trace your genealogy right, it is going to cost you, whether it be for a subscription to a genealogy site, paying for vital records, making copies of documentation, buying gas to visit libraries or cemeteries, but these are such worthwhile expenditures. The nice thing is that it is not money you spend all at one time. Many of my roots came from Michigan so everytime I go up there for a visit, I carve out time to got to the library or to the cemetery etc.

    There are many people on this forum who are avid genealogists who have never paid for a membership to ancestry; however, I have found it invaluable. You might want to visit ancestry because they do have some free areas on their site. I live next to a branch of the National Archives and they have every census record in existence. If you start out looking up people in the census using the microfilms, there is a process you must follow that requires you to look at two microfilms before you find the census page of the family that you need. This is very time consuming and if you are looking up a family member with a name that is usually spelled wrong, there is no guarantee that you will find it. The beauty of having a membership to ancestry is that they have the censuses fully indexed meaning you can type in a name and pull it right up without looking on two microfilm rolls. Further, you can manipulate spellings of the name and the places you are searching in a single search. This alone has made Ancestry worth the money I have spent for a subscription. Many times Ancestry runs specials and I pay under $. per year so if you divide that by , the expense is less than a subscription to Netflix or just about anything else. Ancestry also offers Military records, obituaries, marriage records, birth and death indexes and much much more.

    With that said, there are also a lot of free resources. I have over links to free genealogy records that I myself have found online. Here are some that can help just about everyone.… This is the webpage to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    This is a list of popular searchable databases on Rootsweb. There is a link to the Social Security Death index, as well as death records for California, Kentucky, Maine, and Texas. There are some international databases included too.

    If you are from the United States and know that you have ancestors that immigrated from other countries, there is a chance that Ellis Islands website could help you. You can actually look at the ships manifests on this site. It is so cool! You could even get information like how much money was in your great grandfathers pocket when he came over.

    Then there are the message boards at both Ancestry and Rootsweb. They have boards for surnames, counties, States, and countries. This would be a great place to post information you already know about family members and attempt to build on it. It is always wise not to post information on living family members.….

    You can also look at many of the existing trees out there to see if anybody has created one including members or your families. Sometimes you get lucky, but if you find one out there, I would recommend researching the information yourself before including it in your tree.……….

    After you get so far, you may want to try to input your information into a family tree program. There are several commercially available; however, there are a few that you can download for free off of the internet. PAF (Personal Ancestry File) is a very respectable program that you can download at

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    There are several different language versions available. Most programs have places for you to document your sources and have a file format called GEDCOM making it easy to share your tree with people using a different genealogy program or easy for you to change programs without reentering all of your information.

    So, as you can see from my answer… there is a whole lot to learn about genealogy and finding resources. I learned just by jumping in and doing it. Once you get out in the genealogy community you will see that there are a lot of people eager to help you in any way they can. Have I made mistakes along the way? You bet… who hasn’t? You will find though that the rewards are numerous and that it can get quite addicting.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my profile. Good luck!

  • Get a No Cost Background Check Scan at

    Its a sensible way to start. The site allows you to do a no cost scan simply to find out if any sort of data is in existence. A smaller analysis is done without cost. To get a detailed report its a modest payment.

    You may not realize how many good reasons there are to try and find out more about the people around you. After all, whether you’re talking about new friends, employees, doctors, caretakers for elderly family members, or even significant others, you, as a citizen, have a right to know whether the people you surround yourself with are who they say they are. This goes double in any situation that involves your children, which not only includes teachers and babysitters, but also scout masters, little league coaches and others. Bottom line, if you want to find out more about someone, you should perform a background check.

  • Most people start out with the idea that recent stuff is easier to find than old old records… and are surprised that the opposite is actually more true. What you are bumping into (as far as your parents) is fresh, and has emotion attached to it. That can be tough… genealogists love the details, and yet it is important to respect that parents may have a valid reason that they don’t care to discuss this. That is hard.. but amazingly common. Keep in mind also, that overall, living persons are protected by privacy restrictions. to prevent such things as i.d. theft. (yeah, it isn’t working too good).

    By the time you get to the gr grandparents, etc. and are dealing with people passed on.. the records open up. They may also have had their secrets.. but they don’t feel threatened by it. More things are open for the public.

    My policy on research is that it ALWAYS is intended for good purposes, to heal, or promote kindness and bonding. Not only do I TELL people this… I try to live up to it. If someone tells me something private or scandalous.. it stays with me. By doing so, I have earned trust to more information.

    My advice is to not push.. but respectfully say that you understand it might be hard (for whatever reason), but if and when they are willing to share, you would like to know. They may choose to tell you, after thinking about it.. and they may not. You can’t judge what the reasons are. Continue working on your ancestry, and showing them that you are using the info as a good thing.

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    Best wishes to you..

  • Have you checked Census records? You might have to look at all the records for a county, one page at a time. Also Birth, Death, & Marriage records for your state and/or county? My local library has access to I can access just about anything from there. It’s really great! I look things up and send the information to myself via email. Also, if you have an idea when people were born or married, you can browse through local newspapers in the society sections and find announcements in the newspapers. It takes time but it often works. Also, many librarians are very helpful in searching out records for you. I emailed a librarian in Indiana (I live in Illinois) and she found information for me on my great great grandmother. It only cost me the amount it would normally cost for xeroxing and postage to get the information. I paid less than $ for very important info.


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  • If you know their names, you can start looking for them in census records. Right now, you can go forward as far as . It helps to know where they were located, but on most genealogy sites (which unfortunately are expensive for the most part) you can do a search that covers all the US and beyond.

    If that isn’t possible, because you don’t even know their names, you will have to try to obtain birth or death certificates, obituaries, anything that will give you the name of your grandparents” parents. The nice thing about going online is that sites like have online trees that can connect you to others in your family that may be looking too. Best of Luck.

  • The only way is persistence. Find an older relative, and just keep asking questions, about where he grew up, where his parents grew up, stories they told. Keep your ears open for clues. I know it’s hard, but after doing the same thing, older relatives started throwing out all kinds of clues, and they thought they knew nothing. I don’t know how old you are, but maybe there’s a good reason for reluctance to talk about them. Why is it so urgent?

  • Try finding an aunt or someone who likes to talk . I know I am having some trouble and I have an aunt who lives up the road. When I find something out I tell her then she says ” oh yea, that happened” ( steam coming from my ears ) If your grandparents are still alive ask them , they may be of help also. Eventually you will need info from them also.

  • I bought Family Tree Maker and it came with a one year subscription to I was able to trace back to the ‘s on both sides of the family. With the information I found I was then able to ask older family questions to stir their memory. Once you start asking questions then you discover family secrets and fights that they are not comfortable to discusss. So beware once you start digging. All of your business seems to be online and you will be surprised.


  • It depends on where you are to some extent. I’d try somewhere like Friends Reunited, especially if you are in the UK or Australia. There are lots of bulletin boards for people in your situation. Here’s some sites which you might start with, or which might lead you on to other helpful sites. All the best with it, must be very frustrating for you.

  • make’s it tuffer, stick with it you’ll start finding things

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