Your first stop when starting to research will be the members of your family who are alive. Although you may think they have little to tell, they could hold some major keys regarding the history of your family. That goes for distant cousins and uncles as well. You should be aware that they too play a role in the blood line of your family, so talking to them could be interesting.
Work on the names of your ancestors. Some of your family may know some maiden names of women in your family’s history. Others the names of someone’s siblings. They don’t need to play an important role in your family’s history, but they do belong in the tree. You do want to put up a tree that is as complete as possible.
Don’t stop when you’ve gotten the names. You want family’s stories as well and each living member of your family might have a few. Stories full of history and maybe some useful details that make your names come to life. Perhaps they know where your family grew up or in which region your or their ancestors lived. They know maybe about someone being in the war, or in jail. This is information for you to help you on your trip backward. Each family member can just offer you a tiny bit more information than you knew yourself. And thus help you with researching your past.
After you have spoken to your family members you could surf the Internet to find more information on certain names that came up. Someone has been in the military? Dig up the military records and who knows what you’ll find! Another one has been an artist? Surf the net for art records. He may not have been as good as Van Gogh, on the other hand… who knows?