Tracing your ancestors all the way back to the Middle Ages (c.500 – 1500 CE) is a tricky business. Many people lived and died without leaving a trace of themselves in official documents, and there’s not always consistency in medieval burial markers or monuments. To make things worse, far-reaching religious and political changes like the English Civil War and the French Revolution meant the destruction of many church documents, while two world wars damaged and destroyed other artifacts and records. So, is it hopeless to try and trace your roots back that far? Not necessarily, but it will require some ingenuity and patience. Here are five tips for tracing your medieval ancestors, using English examples.