We are coming near the festive season and a time when we get an opportunity to catch up with family and friends over the Christmas and New Year.   This might be the perfect opportunity for you to ask those important questions about your ancestors that have so far eluded you!

Start with your grandparents or great grandparents, aunts or uncles and find out where the family originated from, their occupation, where they lived, where they were born, religion and if any of the family were in the military or emigrated.  Write everything down and don’t forget the ‘family myths’!  Although these family stories can become embellished down the years, sometimes there is truth in them and they are worth investigating further.

Ask if anyone in the family has any documents relating to births, marriages or deaths.   Most families have Memoriam Cards, which they have acquired over the years relating to family, relatives or friends.  These are always very helpful and sometimes contain a photograph of the deceased.

Of course, if you can obtain photographs of your ancestors that would be the ‘icing on the cake’, this allows you to put a face to a name from maybe a century ago.  This, for me, is the most fascinating part of genealogy – photographs – as it brings the family tree to life.

If you are struggling to think of a Christmas gift for someone this year, why not give them a Genealogy Gift Certificate from Into The Past Genealogy Services?  This could take them on a journey of a lifetime and provide them with a family history and tree that can be cherished for generations to come.

Enjoy the festive season and unlocking the door to your past!  Anne-Marie Smith MAGI, at or email

Seasons Greetings for 2015!