Whether you love New Year’s Eve or would rather stay curled up on the couch with Netflix and a bottle of merlot, there is something nice about what the ‘New Year’ symbolises.

While we don’t buy into the idea of morphing into entirely different people (as Bridget Jones would say, we like you just the way you are), we do believe the New Year presents itself as an opportunity; a catalyst to try new things, do away with our bad habits, or finally pursue your ambitions.

Whether you’re new to family history or need to rekindle the passion you once had for your research, here are seven achievable resolutions for ensuring the new year is your year for getting to know your family, and yourself.

1. Stop talking about it and get started

“I’ve always wanted to do my family history.”
“I started my tree but need to get back into it.”
“I did my family history for a few years, but haven’t looked at it in awhile.”

If you’ve uttered any of the above statements (or variations there of), it’s time to stop talking and start researching! Just want to test the water? Ancestry offer a two week free trial which allows you to start researching and building your tree. After all, there’s no better time than the present to start researching the past.

2. Write a family member’s memoirs

Time is precious, and time with your loved ones is the most precious of all. Use this year to spend more time with your parents or grandparents and write down some of their stories for your own family archives.

3. Identify and preserve your family photos

Photographs are a wonderful addition to family history records but damaged, undated, un-captioned photographs could cause confusion for the family historians in your future. This is the year for sorting out, scanning and captioning your snapshots and maybe framing a couple of the extra special ones.

4. Do an AncestryDNA test

Haven’t taken the AncestryDNA test? This is your year! From discovering where in the world your DNA comes from to matching with long-lost cousins and furthering your family tree, your DNA could be the breakthrough you (or somebody else!) has been looking for.

5. Connect with a cousin

So, you’ve taken the AncestryDNA test and you’ve been matched with a cousin who you’d like to connect with. It can be nerve-racking reaching out to someone you don’t know, but the good news is – you’re family! Take a deep breath, draft your email, and press send. Connecting with your cousin could reveal the missing piece of your family puzzle.

6. Visit a family member or a place from your heritage

Family history becomes a whole new experience when your research becomes more than just names and dates. Visiting the places your ancestors lived or worked can bring all new colour to your research. Thisƒ is your year to book that ticket (be it bus, train or plane) and visit the home of your ancestors.

7. Start exploring your ethnicity

Feel like your DNA has opened you up to a whole new world? You don’t necessarily have to travel to explore your ethnicity. Use the coming year to tap into the culture in your local area – try out different foods, visit museums and memorials, read books or attend cultural festivals from the regions in your ethnicity estimate to get a new perspective on where you really come from.

Kristen Hyde

Kristen is Ancestry's Social Media Manager for the United Kingdom.


  1. Millie

    What I would really like to do it be able to eventually turn my Ancestry online data into a book, a bit like you can do with social books & Facebook, is this something you will be offering in the future?

    • Lloyd

      Hey Millie, we are working on a project called The Human Codex which will allow you to do just that. We have started talks with Ancestry and waiting to hear back about affiliation so that we can work together to give everyone the best experience when it comes to familly history!

  2. Courtny

    New Year, always gives you thought of starting fresh leaving behind our thoughts from the previous year. Exploration will give us a new experience, which can be used to shape your thoughts and create a resolution for the future year’s.

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