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Start by writing down everything you know about yourself and your immediate family.  Father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles etc.

Write down everything; dates of birth, schools they went to, who they married, any children with all of their information, and so on.

If your parents are alive, make sure you have their full names. Ask them for copies of their birth and marriage certificates as this will provide you with the next step back in the chain, their parents - your grandparents. If you are fortunate to have grandparents alive when you start - and you can never start too soon, ask them for the same information. This process will save you days, even weeks or months if carried out meticulously and early enough.

Repeat the process with aunts and uncles. If your grandparents and parents are not alive, these other elderly relatives of yours may have most of the information you are looking for. Take copies of any documents, and photographs you come across, with correct identification, as these seem to disappear almost overnight.

We found an excellent site that allows you to download free family history and genealogy software (PAF) and the associated PAF Companion software.  The PAF programme allows you to collect and easily store your family history and genealogy information, including documents and photographs. The associated PAF Companion software allows you to organise and print numerous reports.

These programmes can be downloaded from the following site:

Free family history and genealogy software