Genealogical Research – Inexpensive Methods

The least expensive way, especially if you are just starting your family history research, is to begin with yourself. You know your basic information, so write out your own information (birth, marriage, residence, and schooling) and then work on each parent. If possible write then each parent’s mother and father. You might not know much yet but do write out what information, name, dates, location you do know, even if it has a question mark after it. You will be surprised at how much you may already know.

With that listing, go to living relatives; older siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, even godparents along with old family friends and neighbors. You can speak in person, on the phone, email, Skype, or a regular US Postal Service mailed letter. The amount of knowledge will greatly increase after meeting or writing to some of these individuals. However, being accurate is important. Your aunt might not know the marriage date of a grandparent, but does believe it was before 1930. Put that information down with a question mark, it could be helpful later. Of great help can be those godparents and family friends. They might remember events and names of family members that your relatives had forgotten.

Now the real research begins. Select just a couple of the ancestors and use the FamilySearch web site. It is free using a computer and the Internet. It is also available at many local public libraries on their computers. There is a variety of ancestral databases to select from and use as many as you can. Using this site alone will open all new possibilities of previously unknown ancestors as well as information on marriages, death dates, hometowns of the ancestors on your list.

Check If your have a branch where you live of the Family History Center of the Latter-Day Saints Church, if so, by all means, use its facility. Besides the use of computers with the Family Search web site, the local Family History Center will have cabinets filled with microfilm / microfiche and the readers to view the films. The microfilm and microfiche have Federal and State censuses for everywhere in the United States, manifests of immigrants arriving in the country, various church records, land deeds, city directories plus records from most countries in the world. If the local Center doesn’t have the material or microfilm you need and it is available at the headquarters in Salt Lake City, it can be ordered and sent to your local branch for a small fee. There are various books, maps, magazines and additional genealogical computer disks all free to use.

Numerous towns and cities across the country have local genealogical societies. The society’s purpose is to generate interest and promote genealogical research. Most have their own web site on the Internet and produce newsletters. At their local headquarters, they maintain collections of databases, books, family charts, cemetery records, etc., not just of the local community but for other regions in the United States and overseas. These services are free also.

Another big bonus for seeing about a local genealogical society is many will offer with a year’s membership your use of various databases that normally charge a fee. BUT as a member of the genealogical society, it is part of your member benefits and free as long as you are a member. for example, to have a year’s subscription to ‘’ is one hundred dollars a year. But it is free with my local genealogical society’s membership of $20 a year. That’s a deal!!

Doing your family history does not have to be a highly costly activity. It does take your time and commitment, however, the rewards can benefit you in knowing better where you came from and to preserve this knowledge for future generations. ‘Your Ancestors are Waiting for You to Find Them’.

Photos: Ancestors Waiting.

Related Blogs:

Basic Ideas in Doing Family History Research

Finding Success

FamilySearch – Digitized

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