Lee Family Tree

Lee family of Virginia and Maryland pictorial family tree. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Online Catalogue.

You are the beginning "twig" on your family tree. Start with the known - yourself - and work toward the unknown. Find the vital information about your parents and write it down. Next, look for information about your grandparents, then earlier generations.

You may often find the most valuable resources in tracing your family history right at home. Here are some activities your family can do together.

1. Look around your house for family records and heirlooms. These might include:

Ask your other family members - such as your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins - to do the same thing. They might even want you to help, or may have gathered family data themselves. Make a list of everything you find and where it is located. Then go through the material and find out what you can learn about your family. Be concerned with extracting four items: names, dates, places, and relationships. These key details will help you locate records from other sources.


2. Every family has drawers or boxes filled with photographs. Sit down with family members, together identify the photographs, and write the information on the back. Include:

3. Visit the old houses and places where your ancestors lived. Take pictures of the places as they appear now. If any of your ancestors' homes are designated as historic buildings, find out any available information from the historical society.

4. Visit the cemeteries where your ancestors are buried and take pictures of the tombstones. Try to locate the cemetery records, which might provide additional family information.

5. Record your own life, and ask relatives-especially older relatives-to do the same. Keep and organize:

If you have relatives who are unable or unwilling to write down information, tape (video or audio) an interview with them, or ask them to sit down and just talk about their life while recording it on tape.

6. Learn how to do more genealogy from good basic instruction books, and by joining your local chapter of your state or regional genealogical society.

7. Visit and learn how to use your local genealogical libraries.

Once you have gathered as much information as possible from your own resources, you may want to seek out records from local and federal government repositories, libraries, and genealogical society archives.

Genealogical records in the National Archives include:

These records are located at the National Archives facilities in Washington, DC and in the eleven National Archives Regional Archives.

Other useful resources include:

A great deal of help with family history is available on the World Wide Web. A good place to start is The National Archives Genealogy Page.