Discovering My Roots: First Steps in Mapping My Family Tree

Kate Smoliakova
3 min readFeb 1, 2024

It all started with a spark of curiosity, a realization that, despite growing older, there was a significant gap in my understanding of who I am — a gap that could only be filled by connecting with my heritage.

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Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

This epiphany was not sudden but rather a slow dawning, culminating in a year that I fondly refer to as “discovering family tree and connections.”

Armed with a handful of documents and old photographs from my grandmother, I embarked on this journey.

The first step was to construct a family tree, a task that seemed daunting but was fueled by my curiosity.

I was able to trace my lineage up to the 6th generation on my mother’s side.

Hungry for more, I reached out to the archives with a request for more information based on the names, dates, and places of birth I had gathered. This waiting game just began.

So that why while waiting the documents from archive, I gave a try for some fun and ordered DNA tests — to find out more about my ethnicity and probably discovering relatives who could help to fulfill the gaps.

It took 2 months from the order to results.



Kate Smoliakova

Product Manager | Write about my experience as manager and writer, ADHD and my interests as running, travelling, art and food