1. Online database
With a quick visit to Ancestry.com, you can fill in what you know and find out plenty you didn’t about your relatives’ pasts. (Start with the free 14-day trial before deciding whether you’d like to commit to a monthly subscription.)
2. Paper trail
Rely on resources such as U.S. Federal Census records to trace the names, ages, birth places, immigration details, occupations and more of your ancestors. Other documents that could help connect the dots include newspaper archives, military records, naturalization papers and adoption paperwork. Start with a visit to your local state archives; find yours at archives.gov.
3. Scientific method
A small sample of saliva can aid in confirming your findings. Send in a cheek swab to programs like 23andMe or Ancestry DNA for in-depth analysis to uncover your genetic heritage.