If you are just getting started on your family history, you might want to check out Microsoft’s template gallery for some help. There are many programs both expensive and free that you can download to start tracing your family history but even with those programs, Microsoft has a few templates that can be helpful.
Microsoft has a template for Access that is a genealogy database. Having your own computer-based database rather than one that is only online, will save you lots of agonizing work should your online program or computer based program become unusable for any reason.
Another useful template especially when explaining your family history to your children, nieces, cousins, aunts or even parents, are the multiple family tree templates from which you can choose. Showing the relationship between your family and great Aunt Nell may help stem that look of confusion as you explain that she is your grandmothers sister and her children are your first cousins twice (or is it three times?) removed.
Another very helpful set of templates are the letters you can use to ask various different sources for information. For example, you may want to access church records in order to trace one branch of your family. Microsoft has a template that you can use to request the records.
In order to join various different organizations such as the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR), the Mayflower Society, or Daughters of the Union or Daughters of the Confederacy, you have to have “proof” that proof will frequently be birth or death certificates. A letter to request birth or death certificates can be found in the template section as well.
Serious genealogists will use various online sites such as Ancestry.com or Rootsweb. There are many other online sources that you can use to search for family connections. When you get there, you just may want to use one of Microsoft’s templates to help you save and connect all your different forbearers.