A "family history" is not absolutely necessary. Anyone can learn fortune telling -- which is almost always done by some means of divination. Sometimes, however, superstition may be involved. For instance, a lot of folk beliefs in the American South involved things which really may have had nothing to do with anything -- such as praying for a sign of whom one will marry, and making the assumption based upon what type of bird is first seen the next day. That is superstition -- not divination.
However, there are methods of dowsing, whether with rods, pendulum, or other means, which have been passed down through many generations. Fire gazing and smoke reading are things practiced across many cultures. Tarot is a method of divination which has been used for a very long time. Some people do seek signs in nature. There are also such things as casting bones, stones, runes, or sticks. Some people will divine possibilities via astral projection, hedge crossing, pathwalking, and other trance-based methods. The list could go easily on.
The accuracy of divination can vary based not only on method, but on what is asked, how it is asked, by whom, the skill of the practitioner, and honestly by how specific of an answer is given.
The literal future is rarely divined. However, a possibility may be laid out, though it is not set in stone. It could be a goal to work towards, or a warning to avoid. Or it could just be one of a myriad of possibilities.
A lot of this, of course, is based on belief. A lot of it cannot be based solely on fact, and a lot of answers to questions are given in vague or general terms. That's not to say that there is not some accuracy, and some practitioners can be uncannily correct.