There are some families that know their entire family tree, but many more have no idea where they came from. Some have an idea of where their ancestors may have lived, but they may not even be sure about that. This leads many to pick up genealogy so they can trace their family line back and figure out from where they really came. It can be a very fun hobby and is always full of surprises, but it can also be a little frustrating too. Your family search can take you in many directions and you can hit many walls, so build up your patience before you even begin.
Your family search should start with the information that you know. You have your last name, and you probably know your mother’s maiden name. That is enough to get you going. If your grandparents are alive, you should have a chat with them about their parents and their grandparents. You can get a lot of information for your family search just by talking with members of your family. They may have tales to tell you that you had never heard before, and they can tell you more than you think.
Once you have all of the information you can get from your family members, you can take your family search to the Internet. This is where you can find a lot of great information that you may take years to find when you try to track things down on your own. There are many sites out there dedicated to genealogy, and you can find much more there than you suspect. You are going to find some dead ends, however, so be ready for that. You can also post on message boards dedicated to this hobby and someone else may be able to help you out.
There are plenty of free resources out there when you are doing your family search, but you may find more value in paying for the memberships some of the larger sites have. They charge because they have gathered mountains of information and they have put it online for anyone doing a family search. This is stuff you are not going to find anywhere else and may be the only way you find some clues. When you hit many brick walls and can go no further, don’t give up. Just set it aside for a few months and look again. New information is added all of the time.