Lately, genealogy has gotten a reputation for being an expensive hobby. Newbies don’t know where to start, how to start, or even if they want to, and advanced researchers are tired of paying the hundreds of dollars a year it costs for subscription sites. So, in honor of all of us broke people who love to dig up our roots, here is a list of my favorite FREE amazing resources!
FAMILYSEARCH: If you have never been to this site- go. It’s a huge database of free research stuff, and it’s international! The tree building features do not compare to Ancestry.com, but they are there if you want to use them. Oh, and a secret, they have a lot of stuff that hasn’t been indexed yet. You can browse it and find things that almost no else knows about. More on that in another blog post.
Mooseroots.com: A search engine for genealogy, Mooseroots will help you by compiling information and pointing out where things might be. A word of caution; Just ’cause something comes up when you search for it, doesn’t make it true. Back up all your research and hunches with documents.
National Archives: The Granddaddy of them all, the National Archives, has a free online site. It isn’t the easiest to navigate, but the information is there. They have free research guides, printable forms, and explain how to obtain records that haven’t been digitized. Use this site for census, immigration, and military records.
Cyndi’s List: You won’t find secret requests for naughty things here! Cyndi’s List is a genealogy powerhouse of information organized in a familiar classified like fashion. If you have a research question, or are looking for information on anything specific, for instance Mayflower Descendants, this might be a good place to start. In addition to being well organized, there are things here that will spark your interest. For example, in the Pennsylvania section, there is a whole section on Fraktur and Pennsylvania Dutch.
FACEBOOK: I know, it’s crazy right? But where else can you network with groups of people from around the world and talk about family history, whenever you want? There are many, many, groups and pages on Facebook. Start with the general genealogy ones like Genealogy Just Ask! and then get into specifics by searching for historical and genealogy groups in areas you are interested in. Don’t forget to search by country or even ethnicity. Some family groups have their own pages like this one for Clan MacNeil of Barra.
So there you have it, Five Totally Free online resources to help you stay in your budget and still dig up some family history. What are your favorites? Leave me some comments!