Getting Started on Your Family History
When you’re searching for ancestors and family lines, your search will only be as good as the genealogical resources you use – and those resources are likely more numerous and varied than you know.
Many websites offer free and paid services that assist novice genealogists in starting their family work. In fact, you’ve likely come across a few of these sites using a simple Google search. Of those that appear in your search list, you’ll probably recognize Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and several other popular family history resources. These sites can be very helpful to a newbie looking to uncover family lines, view public family trees and sift through census records.
While some websites charge fees for use, many offer free services as well, so don’t be afraid to join sites that offer complimentary resources. That said, some sites offer only a free “trial membership,” after which it will charge a credit card with use fees. Before you sign up or enter payment details, be sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for. When you join a new site, jot down your user information so you can come back to it later – there are a lot of family history sites out there, and it’s easy to get them confused. If you’re planning to simply use the trial membership, take advantage of the time to search like crazy while you’ve got the free resource.
Even if you’re using primarily digital or online resources to start your search, keeping a paper trail can be a good way to stay organized as your genealogy work continues. Generational charts are also a great way to keep your family generations organized, as well as enable you to easily share your family history work with relatives and loved ones.
Remember, family history work really is work, and it takes time and patience. These wonderful resources can help you begin seeing the rewards of your efforts sooner.