First record all the information you know about yourself, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles regarding dates and places of Birth, Marriage and Death. Speak with any living family members such as parents, grandparents etc to get additional information. I would suggest recording the conversation, as this will give you a record of all the information that was discussed so you do not leave anything out. Ask questions about their family as well as any special things they can remember. If they immigrated, try to find out the year as well as the reason for leaving their homeland. I would also suggest getting a genealogy program for your computer so you can record your ancestors and begin your family tree.
Today there are many online sites to help you compile your family history. I have used many myself such as Ancestry.com ( .ca ), The Family History Library ( FHL ) which is affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints ( LDS). Sites such as Ancestry have information concerning Census Lists, Military Records, Immigration information. Most of the information while limited to North America and the United Kingdom is a good place to start. The FHL has microfilmed church records in Slovakia and other countries which are now accessible. If you are going to search in Slovakia, one has to remember that borders have changed and prior to the end of World War One, the area which makes up the Slovak Republic was part of the Hungarian Empire. You will first need to determine the Religious affiliation of your ancestors, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Lutheran etc. Then you will need to determine the village they would have gone to in order to attend church. Once you locate the church you would have to review and translate the church records since they will be written in either, Hungarian, Latin or in some cases Ruthenian. Below I have included some examples of actual church records to give you a feel for what to expect.
This is a long, tedious procedure and unless you have the patience and the resources to locate villages and churches and the skills to translate documents this sort of research is best left to a Professional.
Civil Registration came into effect in Slovakia ( Hungary ) in 1895. As of this time the local municipal government offices were responsible for the registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths. Prior to 1895 it was the local churches that collected and recorded the information. From 1604 to 1711 the area which is now Slovakia was invaded and controlled by the Ottoman Empire. During this time many Churches were burned and destroyed and with this destruction, records were also destroyed. Many Churches will have records going back to the 1700's while most will have records going to the early 1800's. I have successfully researched my Ancestral line back to the 1760's
Translations, depending on the amount to be translated can generally take about 7 - 10 days.
Genealogical Research can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, once again depending on the complexity and another 7 - 10 days to compile my report. In the event that micro films need to be ordered, this could add another 3 to 4 weeks as I wait for the films to arrive. Any documents which I include with your report such as Birth, Marriage or Death Records will be translated into English for you.