Let’s face it. There’s a lot of online information and databases with #genealogy information out there. As an amateur genealogist or family historian, it may be overwhelming – not to mention expensive. So, here’s a few tidbits and tips that I picked up along my journey.
Research more than one genealogy site!
Did you know that many genealogy sites transcribe and index documents for their own proprietary databases? This means that the document you’ve been searching for might be indexed or transcribed on one site, but not another. Or, it may have been transcribed differently. On one site your ancestor’s name might be spelled “Smith” and in the other “Smlth”… because names, dates and other information are input by different individuals. So, make sure to check out several sites for the info you’re looking for. You might be surprised that you find it on a site other than the one you’re always searching on.
There are free research options to paid sites.
I use Ancestry.com most of the time because that’s the platform I started with many years ago. And while it’s loaded with information to sift through, it's fairly pricey! This is especially the case when you want access to all the international documents it has to offer.
Did you know that you can create a family tree for free at FamilySearch.org? It’s the largest genealogy organization in the world. It’s also my favorite go-to-site for additional research. I especially like the ease of filtering results. The family tree tool has some nice features as well; it allows for different views than Ancestry like fan and decendancy charts.
You can also check your local library for Ancestry Library Edition, which is a free way to do your research. Some libraries provide access to this free version on their websites – so you might even be able to take advantage of the services from home!
SAVE YOUR WORK!
Whatever site you might have your tree on, make sure to download it periodically! This will give you the option of transferring the information to other platforms or software, or simply sharing it with family members. Files can usually be downloaded as a GEDCOM file – a type of open data file that is used between different genealogy software. Additionally, make sure to download important source files to your computer as well...they don’t necessarily transfer between platforms.
Stay tuned for more tips and information on all things genealogy in future blogs.