A Starting Point
The earlier you start the better!
Write it down
Get all the facts you know down on paper, start with yourself and your spouse/partner, then your parents and grandparents.
Speak to the living
Speak to family members and get details of grandparents and others. Remember we all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents ... not forgeting brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, great uncles and great aunts, cousins and first cousins, the list grows and grows! There are often family stories which can help you in your research but beware they are not always based on fact and can confuse your research
Organise your notes
Right from the beginning it is important that you record your sources, you may need to refer back later and if you don't remember where you got the information you won't be able to.
Hatch, Match and Despatch
Birth, Death and Marriage (BMD) certificates are a valuable research tool and many will probably exist within your family. The long versions show details that are invaluable to the genealogist.
FreeUKGEN The amount of records available to the family historian are enormous. A lot of the groundwork can be done on your home computer using the internet.
FreeBMD is one of the best free sources for finding Births, Marriage and Deaths: It is an ongoing project supported by volunteers and many BMDs are recorded up to the mid-20th Century.
FreeCEN is a similar project and is listing the censuses from 1841 to 1891, again it's not complete but it is worth visiting the site to search for ancestors.
The third site in this useful trio is FreeREG. This is transcriptions of Parish Registers again it is an ongoing project but can be enormously useful.