1. Start with what you know
This may seem like a simple step, but you’d be surprised at how many people overlook this important advice.
Starting with what you know is easy and fun. The next time you talk to a family member (parent, grandparent, uncle Bob, etc.) ask if they know of any famous family connections. You may find out there’s an old family legend that your family is related to Lady Godiva, Abraham Lincoln, Dracula, or other famous and interesting figures from history. You may also learn that you are related to a current-day celebrity.
All sorts of interesting stories and links may come up as you talk with some of your older relatives. Talking to your relatives is a great place to start because they can give you leads to work with and a direction to follow. Doing so will also help you solve some family myths and mysteries.
Jot down what you find from your discussions with your relatives. Also ask where your family came from as this helps direct your searching. If a part of your family heritage comes from Russia, England, South America, etc., searching for connections in those places may turn up some fun facts and famous ancestor links you may not have thought of at first.
2. Research your family tree
The number one mistake that people make in searching for famous relatives is that they don’t put enough effort into researching their own family tree. By researching your own family tree, you will be able, in a later step, to connect with the large databases out there that hold genealogy records for famous people.
Jot down everything you know and information that your family shares with you about your own family tree. Write birth dates, names, marriage dates and so on. You’ll need them in the next step.
3. Make use of the major genealogy databases
Once you’ve written what you know about your own tree, it’s time to greatly expand that knowledge by connecting with the largest genealogy databases on the web.
FamilySearch.org is a great place to start and is a free resource for searching family tree information. Start entering information for your deceased ancestors into the site’s search box to see if you have any family tree connections to further your research.
With a little bit of work and luck, you may find a lot of information about your ancestors you weren’t aware of at first. Make sure to download and save the information you find.
4. Find common ancestor matches through famous people family tree records
There are a host of databases out there that you can search to find famous relatives. Some are hard to find, but the rewards can be great especially for the sites that will do auto-searching and linking for you.
One site to try is geneastar.org which lists genealogies and family trees for many famous celebrities and historical figures. Search the site for common ancestors (your oldest relatives in your tree). Unfortunately, the site doesn’t do auto-linking, so you’ll be searching by hand at this resource.
5. Put it all together
If you find a match, download or print out the information to share with your family. The key is researching your own family tree back far enough so that your chances of sharing a common ancestor with someone famous increase exponentially.
The 5 steps are enough to get you started, but be aware that there are many more fantastic resources out there you can use to shave a lot of time off your searching and automate the process.