|"Genealogy, Free or Fee" presentation at Connecticut Ancestry Society|
When I can locate free vital records and obits, I try that first--and then I decide, case by case, when it makes sense to pay for a document or a search.
Some of the best sites for free genealogy are Family Search, Linkpendium, The Ancestor Hunt, Heritage Quest*, Cyndi's List, plus Find A Grave.
I also search state and local historical/genealogical societies. And of course, I search and post on Facebook genealogy pages. (See Katherine Willson's comprehensive list of such pages here.)
My posts about "Genealogy--Free or Fee?" are:
- Introduction to Free or Fee Genealogy
- Free or fee naturalization papers
- Free or fee Social Security applications
- Free or fee, learn to record-strip and use document checklists
- Free or fee, ask a historian for help
- Free or fee, search surname and locality message boards
- Free or fee, redo your searches (again) to locate new info posted since your last search
- Free or Fee, why I paid for 3 pages of NYC marriage documents (first-hand information, handwritten by my father)
- Free or fee, ask for help with mysteries or missing documents and be polite and patient.
- Free or fee, try free newspaper sites to see whether you can turn up any news about your ancestors.
- Free or fee, search for clues in the hands of other family members.
- Free or fee, it's worthwhile to send for NYC marriage records in detail!
- Free or fee, ask the archivist for help--these professionals know what they're looking for. It helped my research into Canadian military ancestors!
- Free or fee, use library cards to access databases from home, including Heritage Quest.
- Free or fee, who needs an official vital record? Not always!
- Free or fee, my sample checklist will help you track down sources of information already in your possession or in the hands of family members.
- Free or fee, ask an archivist for help!
- Free or fee, click on Cyndi's List for genealogy links.
- Free: City directories on HeritageQuest*, via a local library card or a state library card - check with your local library!
- Fee: I opened my wallet and paid the equivalent of $9 to get a UK death record . . . and it solved a big family tree mystery!
* Remember: Heritage Quest is powered by Ancestry, so its scans, indexes, and transcriptions are like those of Ancestry. If your ancestor's records aren't transcribed properly, and they're elusive on HQ, try searching on FamilySearch or MyHeritage or another genealogy website!
To learn more about my genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past, please see the Amazon listing here.