Home » Life & Style » Genealogy

Genealogy - where do I start?

 ancestry dna kits

If you've ever wondered where you come from and about your family history, looking into your past or using a DNA kit through a genealogy service is a good way to discover your origins. You never know what you might find - as one gransnetter said: "I used Ancestry®. Start with yourself and work backwards! Have fun." It can be hard to know where to begin though, so here's our guide, including what a DNA test tells you and what to expect.


Get our top threads delivered straight to your inbox...

This page is sponsored by: 

ancestry logo

What does a DNA test tell you?

The information you get from the results of a DNA kit might just surprise you. Here are three examples of what people have discovered from a kit...

ancestry sponsorship

1. Discover you're from somewhere different than you thought you were

Find out where your ancestors are from - you could learn that they were born in any of the 500+ regions around the world. 

2. Your siblings’ DNA could be much less similar to you than you expected

Unless you’re an identical twin, your DNA results may differ to your brothers' and sisters'. This is because DNA we inherit is completely random from each parent. 

3. You could discover new family members

Through using an AncestryDNA kit, some people have discovered long-lost siblings or even found a parent. Someone who took the test also discovered a cousin - that worked in their office!

A history lesson for the whole family

family tree research

We searched our forums for gransnetters' experiences of genealogy and how they found it. Here's what they found...

"This morning I decided to get myself in gear and write a family history from my grandmothers' 1910 history for my granddaughters. It’s to show them not only our family history but how much has changed for women during that period. Wish me luck!"

"It's a fantastic hobby to have but can become quite absorbing and time consuming."

"One of the things I like about Ancestry is that one can contact other people researching the same families which can be very helpful."

"False leads are a trap that are easy to fall into, particularly if you have a possible famous ancestor you want to link with. Make sure you establish each step before you move on (that should be move backwards!) If you leave something possible in your notes without marking it clearly as a maybe then when you look back at it months or even years from now you are likely to believe that it has been proved."

"Beware this becomes addictive tracing your family and some of the stories are really sad, like when you see all their babies who have died and the people who ended up in the workhouse."

"My son bought me a subscription to Ancestry a few years ago as a gift. I found out lots of information...I particularly love finding out occupations."

You will get emotionally attached

There are so many meaningful discoveries you can make through Ancestry - and the emotional journey you embark on may surprise you. 

  • You could find family history records that help you honor a fallen World War I soldier in your family and say, “we have not forgotten you".
  • Family history research could reveal you’re a "right royal geezer".
  • You could find long lost family - two brothers were united after 85 years through using Ancestry.

The perfect gift

ancestry gift

Ancestry has two products to help you understand the story of you no matter where you are in your journey. Ancestry® helps you understand your genealogy. A family tree takes you back generations—the world’s largest collection of online records makes it possible. AncestryDNA® gives you much more than just the places you're from. With precise geographic detail and clear-cut historical insights, AncestryDNA connects you to the places in the world where your story started—from unique regions to living relatives.

Find out more about Ancestry here

sign up to gransnet










Images: Shutterstock