Pursuing Genealogy on a Shoestring Budget – Part 3

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 4 Jun 2016.

This is the last in a series of posts about keeping the costs down on our very expensive practice.  Our running total for the frugal (accumulated in Parts 1 & 2) is less than $100.00 per year. Granted, that sum is based on using your local library for much of your research which could be problematic if your facility limits your time, has shortened hours due to budget cuts, and is difficult to reach, transportationwise.  That amount also does not include costs for renting microfilms from Familysearch or obtaining vital records.  Those two prices are set and non negotiable.  The best way around that is to find others who are researching your lines and are willing to share what they have found.  You may even get lucky and find that some kindhearted researcher has scanned and posted the vital you needed, thus saving you time and money.

The sites below are FREE and are good ways for you to connect with others who share your interest areas:

Ancestor Cloud – although it costs to hire their researchers, it does not cost anything to obtain their weekly emails or to view and post requests on their website.  They saved me the cost of traveling overseas  and I would use them again if the situation arises.  If you do need to pay for assistance, you negotiate the price so it will fit nicely in with your budget as opposed to other companies out there that have standard fees.

Blogs – geneabloggers is one of many that give helpful advice and resources without any cost to you. Just check out the main page and you’ll see that founder Thomas MacEntree has loads of discounted genealogy related services listed.  Subscribe to their newsletter and you’ll get the deals emailed to you as they become available.

Crestleaf will email a newsletter weekly with the updates to their records. Scroll down to check out their surname index, or browse by decade or location.  Lots of good free info for you to explore!

Cyndi’s List – for the most comprehensive genealogy sources on the web.  This site will point you in the right direction, thus saving you time and money.

Genealogy in Time is another email “magazine” with helpful information.  Their website has a search engine that is powerful and there are lots of  articles to help you find those elusive ancestors.  Sign up for their Sunday email, “The Genealogy News” which includes links to genealogy news that occurred in the past week.  I love starting my week off by reading the “News” with my morning coffee.

Geneanet – is more than just a place to search; the community forum is a place to post your queries and if you have French ancestry, you must check out their searchable collection.  You can specify a surname you’re interested in and receive an email when more information becomes available on their site.

Legacy – download the Standard edition family tree and view their training videos.  Although some do have a cost attached, their weekly webinars are free if you are able to watch them shortly after they’ve posted.

I’ve only scratched the surface of genealogical savings.  Deals are out there and the wise genealogist uses resources that give the most bang for the buck.  Happy Hunting!

Twelve+ Genealogy Gems for a Whole Year of Fun!

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 16 Dec 2015.

I’ve been asked lately by colleagues and students what are some of my favorite genealogy sites so in keeping with the holidays (and having the 12 Days of Christmas stuck in my head!) here are my favorite free go to sites for quick genealogy answers.  They are listed in alphabetical order because they are all valuable in their own way.  I’ve also included the sites’ own description, when available:

  1. AncestorCloud – “is a community that connects family researchers with willing helpers and professional genealogists. Connect with helpers to pick up records, take local photographs, translate documents, help with research questions or conduct custom research. It’s free to join and post a request. Connect with researchers in over 52 countries”.  I have never been contacted to provide research assistance so I can’t vouch for how that works but I did post a request for help that was picked up by a genealogist in Croatia. AncestorCloud acts as an intermediary so I never communicated directly with the researcher.  She did provide valuable assistance in how to locate my maternal great grandmother’s gravesite,  The process isn’t anywhere online so the information was extremely valuable to me.  I had tried Find-A-Grave and Billion Graves but no one ever responded.  I volunteered to pay the researcher $25.00 US dollars for her help – that was my choice.  If you are going to hire someone the price is negotiated before hand.  Additionally, AncestorCloud emails helpful genealogical articles.
  2. Crestleaf – “is for people who want to preserve their family’s legacy in a chronological timeline and digital archive for both current and future generations to enjoy.”  I don’t use Crestleaf as an archive.  Instead, I scroll to the bottom of the page and check the All Surname search.  You can also browse by state or decade. The absolute best part of Crestleaf, though, is the weekly emailed Genealogy Tips and News.  One of my favorite reads!
  3. Cyndi’s List -“A comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.”  Cyndi has been a wonderful resource for me for a long time!  Amazing that her links always work and are current.
  4. Family Search – “Search for a deceased ancestor in historical records to uncover vital information from their life.”  Besides searching records, check out the genealogies (that may be inaccurate so look for citations), catalog, books and the wiki.  I love the wiki and find it’s extremely useful if I need information about a region that I’m don’t typically research.  The only cost is if you want to view microfilm that hasn’t been placed online. You can order and have it sent to a local Family History Center to view.
  5. Find-A-Grave – “Find the graves of ancestors, create virtual memorials, add ‘virtual flowers’ and a note to a loved one’s grave”  It’s owned by Ancestry.com but remains free.
  6. Billion Graves – “Collect photos of the headstones in your local cemetery with our iPhone/Android camera app. Then upload the mapped-out photos here. Transcribe information from uploaded headstone photos – then descendants everywhere can easily search for their ancestors. Search for your ancestors’ graves using our easy search. You can access their headstone records, photos of headstones, and accurate locations of all the graves.”  (Both Find-a-Grave and Billion Graves have helped me find children that may have been born and died in between census years)
  7. Geneabloggers – “The ultimate site for your genealogy blog – an online community created by Thomas MacEntee”.  There’s alot of blogs here but the features I like the most are Tom’s genealogy special offers and his webinars (which have a nominal charge).  Subscribe for free to Geneabloggers and you’ll receive emails with give aways (such as genealogy e-books), discounts and helpful hints.
  8. Genealogy in Time (online) Magazine -“We have the tools and resources to help you discover your ancestors for free. Let us help you find your story”.  There’s also a search engine, rare book search and the magazine includes new records placed online each week.
  9. Geneanet News – “More than 1.5 billion indexed individuals  The Genealogy Library gives access to hundreds of thousands documents indexed for genealogy research.”  They will email you periodically any surname updates you’ve identified to follow.
  10. Genealogy News – Every Sunday, I receive this awesome newsletter filled with links of recent genealogy news from Genealogy Today LLC.  Love to read it with my morning coffee as it often gives me ideas that I use to plan my research for the upcoming week.
  11. Legacy Family Tree – “Genealogy News, Legacy tricks and technology tips”.  Some webinars are not free but many are. The Standard Edition of Legacy is free to download if you want to save your tree to your hard drive, desktop or cloud.  If you do use their tree, you can also subscribe free to their techie list and you’ll get emails with updates and hints.  They’re also on Facebook.
  12. Rootsweb – A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… no, not Star Wars, I’m referring to circa 2000 before Ancestry.com owned everything – Rootsweb was the most awesome site in the genealogy universe.  I still use it although it’s not current and it’s now owned by Ancestry.  It remains free, however, and if I’m stuck I use the site to see if someone has created a tree in the past that may be helpful.

Next time I’ll write about my favorite NON FREE sites.  Happy Hunting!