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Get More from Genealogy Websites

This post isn't just another roundup of the best sites to build your family tree. Instead, we're going to look at how fixing four problems related to using websites for genealogy research can get you better results and even save you money . Genealogists run into these once they've gotten started so if you haven't started your family history, this post isn't for you. We recommend getting started by talking to your relatives and family friends to gather as much background information as possible. Don't forget to write down who gives you the information. Once you start researching online, you'll find conflicting information. If you don't know where information comes from, you can't figure out what's right and what's wrong! There's More Than Just the Best Genealogy Websites There are several problems I see genealogists having related to genealogy subscriptions specifically. You may have one of these probl

Genealogy Gifts : What Do I Need to Do?

There are two things you could be looking for if you want to give a "genealogy gift." You might need a gift for a genealogist. Check out the gift guides on our sister blog if that's what you're looking for or check out this post for suggestions of books for a U.S. genealogist. If on the other hand, you want to create a family tree or family history as a gift for a family member (or even friend), we'll cover some basics you have to start with below. Family Tree, Tree Chart, Family History? The most common gift people want to give is a "family tree." The problem is, if you don't know exactly what you're trying to create, learning more online can be difficult because different people mean different gifts when they say "family tree." The easiest gift idea is a family tree chart (also known as a pedigree chart, reverse family tree, ancestor or descendant chart, etc.). You can buy large format charts you can fill in by hand

Genealogy Gifts: What will engage my family?

Great Genealogy Gift Ideas for the Family (engaging non-genealogists) If you're the family genealogist, any genealogy gift probably seems exciting. But your non-genealogist family might not feel that way. The best gift will engage them by, first, not being dry and boring. A very detailed family tree chart might not be the best option if your family usually tunes you out when you start talking family history. If your family loves seeing your results (even if they don't want to help gather them) a detailed chart can be a good option, especially if you're dealing with academics or engineers that revel in detail. But what about the average non-genealogist? Here are some tips to engage the average non-genealogist: Consider a family tree or book that includes photos (see the suggestions below) or better yet, create a video. Highlight events or people they already know about including interactions with famous people or events. Don't overlook "famous&quo

Why Does Genealogy Cost So Much?

There are two sides to how much genealogy costs. Why Hiring a Professional Genealogist Costs So Much One side is how much it costs to hire a professional genealogist. This is a pretty short answer you should  be able to understand with little explanation. A professional genealogist costs so much because genealogy takes so much time. You are paying them for their time. Would you be willing to spend several weeks (repeatedly) working on someone else's family tree for nothing? And when I say nothing, I mean you wouldn't have any money coming in to pay for food, housing, etc. There is actually a TON of free genealogy help out there because people do love doing genealogy. But there's far more demand for help than available free help (there's usually more demand for paid help than professional genealogists that can handle the work, even!). OK, hiring someone to help you or to do the research for you is one thing. Why else is genealogy not free? Paying someone

Genealogy Hints for the Wrong Person : What Should I Do?

While researching your family history, you will come across hints on that seem to be for the wrong person or are for the wrong person. There are several reasons this happens. Read on to learn more about what to do when you encounter this situation. Why You're Getting Ancestry Hints for the Wrong Person The main reason you are getting hints for the wrong ancestor (or other person) is that computers are doing the research for you. When computers do genealogy, they are comparing "data points." Humans look at this information, also (data points can be a date, a place, a first name, a last name---these are fields in the computer database being searched, or what the computer thinks are equivalent data points when using OCR to "read" a document that doesn't have a database). The big difference is a human sees obvious mistakes a computer misses and also considers subtle clues the computer can't be programmed to take into consideration (we

What's the best genealogy software?

When you're ready, genealogy software can really help you. But which program should you get? There are a few things to consider when selecting genealogy software. Do you really need software? If you're not technically inclined, it might be a hinderance. What is the primary device you use for doing genealogy? Where do you live/where did the people you research live? How much time do you spend on genealogy? What features do you need or want? What do you like/understand/use?

How do I save money when hiring a professional genealogist?

Have a genealogy brick wall? Horrified by the cost of professional genealogy but still need help? Here are three things anyone should do before paying a genealogist to help with a research project. How do I save money when hiring a professional genealogist? Prep and organize what you already know. Determine exactly what you want help with. The bigger the project, the more it will cost. Consider both the "big" genealogy research companies and individuals. Which is better depends on what you want and need. Saving Money on Genealogy Research: Organization No matter how you actually are charged for genealogy, it is hourly work. No genealogist can be certain they can get the results you want (unless they have already finished doing what you want). The only way to know when to stop is knowing how many hours of work to do. To make it easier for the client, many genealogists charge a flat fee instead of letting the client pick an exact number of hours. Regar