10 Tips for Mapping Your Family History

The pattern in these DNA bands is unique to each person, but some bands are shared by related people. The bands in these DNA fingerprints are marked M for mother, C for child, F for father. David Parker/Getty Images

Some people have little to no background to work with regarding family history. It can be difficult, but not impossible to create a family map when working from scratch. DNA testing can provide starting points for those information seekers, and expand upon existing background for others. Simple tests can help to pinpoint specific nationalities, making it somewhat easier to know where to focus research efforts.

For example, if your DNA profile corroborate your family's origins, making a break in your case that much easier. If you get to the point where you're truly stumped you can always consult an expert genealogist or use a pay service that specializes in genetic research, like African Ancestry or World Vital Records.

Author's Note: 10 Tips for Mapping Your Family History

My mom is one of eight children and my dad is the second-oldest of seven. Needless to say, the prospect of tackling our family history map is daunting. Now that I've researched the topic and talked to some seriously knowledgeable experts, however, I feel armed, ready and excited to take on the task! Cory's and Cooks of the world – get ready to be mapped for posterity's sake!

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  • 248 Ancestors. "Immigration and Naturalization." 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.248ancestors.com/ImmigrationNaturalizations1.html
  • 248 Ancestors. "Interview and Gather." 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.248ancestors.com/InterviewTechniques1.html
  • 248 Ancestors. "Search Online." 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.248ancestors.com/SearchOnline1.html
  • 248 Ancestors. "US Census." 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.248ancestors.com/USCensus1.html
  • Burnley, Staci-Jill. Interview via e-mail. Sept. 25, 2014.
  • Fryxell, David A. "Best Social Media Websites for Genealogy." Aug. 1, 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://familytreemagazine.com/article/best-social-media-websites-2014
  • Genealogy Insider. "Six Tips for Mapping Your Family History." June 5, 2013 (Sept. 28, 2014) http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2013/06/05/SixTipsForMappingYourFamilyHistory.aspx
  • Hasson, Judi. "Begin Building Your Family Tree." AARP. May 5, 2011 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.aarp.org/relationships/genealogy/info-05-2011/beginner-genealogy-guide.2.html
  • Merrill, Nancy Lockwood. Interview via-email. Oct. 1, 2014.
  • National Archives. "Immigration Records." 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014) http://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/
  • PBS. "Genealogy Glossary." 2014 (Oct. 1, 2014) http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/technique/genealogy-glossary/
  • Progeny Genealogy. "Family Maps." 2014 (Sept. 29, 2014) https://progenygenealogy.com/products/family-maps/research-features.aspx
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  • Warr, Kathleen Cogbill. Old Dead People.com. Interview via e-mail. Sept. 12, 2014.


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