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Genealogy on a Budget

You don't have to cut back on the quality of your genealogical research to make ends meet.


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Type: Article
Resource: Tracing Lines
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Word Count: 1019 (approx.)
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We all feel the money pinch and especially now with gas prices soaring higher and higher. You don't have to cut back on the quality of your genealogical research to make ends meet. There are plenty of options. How about these?

1. Go to your local or area library or libraries. Many have online library catalogs so you can go prepared. Determine if they have genealogy collections, microfilm, microfiche, vertical files or manuscripts. Don't forget the college or university libraries in your area. Do these libraries offer online genealogy or history databases? Many offer HeritageQuestOnline for their patrons. These can be checked (free) on your home computer, simply by having a library card. For a thorough listing of libraries that participate, check out Dick Eastman's information at

2. Check out the resources available at a Family History Center in your town or area. To locate one go to FamilySearch International. The hours vary, so check them out ahead of time. For a fee, you will be able to rent microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Also ask to see their indefinite microfilm and their microfiche. There may be something there that will help you in your research. Check out the databases that are on their computers. These will save you spending money on subscriptions. These may include, WorldVitalRecords, KindredKonnections and Godfrey Library.

3. Post queries to message boards, mailing lists and forums. These just take time, not money. While you are posting, be sure to systematically check these areas for new posts that may apply to your research. Some of these areas include: Message Board


RootsWeb: Genealogy Mailing Lists

4. Subscriptions to may not be in your budget, you there are databases that they offer free. Also take advantage of their limited free access times which are announced on their web page, To find out what is free go to

5. You don't have to spend a fortune to expand your personal genealogy library. It is helpful to have what I call a locator guide. They can be pricey, but that outweighs the good you will get out of them. You can also check your library for these selections:

Eichholtz, Alice, ed. Ancestry's Redbook. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publish ing Company, 2004.

Family Tree Magazine, ed. The Family Tree Guide Book. Cincinnati: Bet terway Books, 2003.

The Handy Book for Genealogists, 9th edition. Logan, UT: Everton Publish ers, Inc., 2002.

To learn absolutely everything about genealogy and efficient research, this book is tops:

Szucs, Lorretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, ed., The Source: A

Sourcebook of American Genealogy, revised edition. Salt Lake City:

Ancestry Publishing Company, 2006.

No money right now? Consider making a list of the books you need and give it to your loved ones ... Christmas List, Birthday List, Mother's Day List, Father's Day List.

If you have a book in mind, don't know if it is what you really want or need, check out LibraryThing at People catalog their books there. Some people rate their library books and allow others to view the listings. You can also e-mail the owner and ask about the book .... is it helpful, would they recommend it.

6. There are books you can download online. Check out GoogleBooks at In the search area enter a title or some keywords, such as "Marion County Iowa." If the book is out of copyright, you will be able to download it in PDF format. Many family histories have been digitized into PDF format on BYU Family History Archive, Family History Archive. They can be downloaded free to your home computer.

7. Need genealogy software? I always suggest that people should ask others what they use and test the waters before they make a purchase. Most leading software will have a web page which will allow you to view the features, look at Frequently Asked Questions, and perhaps download a demo. The Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software is available for PC users at the FamilySearch web page, FamilySearch International. One of the best web pages to provide information on all genealogy software is Louis Kessler's Genealogy Software Links at Louis Kessler's Genealogical Program Links. Be sure to use this before you buy!

8. Are you tired of creating your own charts? Particularly if you do not use genealogy software, there is no need for this. Free charts and forms can be downloaded from the following:

Family Tree Magazine Family Tree Magazine Free Forms

Free Genealogy Forms and Charts - free charts and forms Free Genealogy Charts & Forms

9. There are many free web sites available to the researchers. Your scheduled research on Internet should include many checks to the USGenWeb sites. Start at The USGenWeb Project, or simply add the abbreviation for the state you are researching on the end, for example: While each state and county will be uniquely different, you will find that most will allow you to post queries and also ask for lookups. Somebody who has a book or collection of data may be willing to do free lookups for genealogists. Take advantage of these if they are things you need. Be sure to follow the rules. Free genealogical assistance is also available at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.

10. Don't wander around the genealogy world isolating yourself from what is going on. There are entertaining and enlightening areas on Internet that are also FREE. These include podcasts, e-mail newsletters and blogs. There are many in each of these areas, but for starts try out these:

The Genealogy Guys Podcast The Genealogy Guys Podcast

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Blogging is simply fun! I could list pages and pages of genealogy blogs, by a variety of topics. You will find them by family genealogy, areas, topics, tips, general information and also humor. I will put a plug in for my blog and my daughter's genealogy blog along with some others.

Genealogy Lines (mine)

Growing up Genealogy (my daughter's)

Genealogy Blog (Everton Publishers) The Genealogy Blog

DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog

Genealogy Blog Finder (locator)

11. Free or pricey, genealogy items, many web pages and resources exist for the genealogist. Don't comprise in any of these areas, but shop and research wisely.

Source Information: Tracing Lines, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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