Have you hit a brick wall while exploring your ancestors? Well do not worry as there are ways that you can get free genealogy help. Here I will show you 6 different ways that you can utilize which will help you to discover that elusive ancestor and for you to get on with your research.
If you have been following my site for a while you will know that I have explored each of these 6 different methods before. My main objective here is just to highlight the main points of each method here.
I will provide you with a link to the full article at the end of each method so you can explore which ever one interest you
6 Ways To Get Help:
- Ask Your Relatives
- Family History/Genealogy Societies
- Local Library
- Genealogy Search Websites
- Genealogy Blogs
- Message Boards and Forums
Since publishing this post I have added two more ways that you can get free genealogy help. Special thanks goes to Carol Hill who suggested that people join research communities.
If you have any suggestions on please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear them.
2 Bonus Ways
1. Ask Your Relatives
You have probably gained an interest in genealogy because of your relatives. That is where I became fascinated with my own family history as I heard many, many stories and tales that involved my ancestors.
It was truly captivating what my father could recite to me. I knew that I would have to record them in order to keep their memories alive.
Asking your relatives should be the second step that you will take on your genealogy journey, (exploring your own records will be the first step).
They have countless pieces of information and material that they can pass on to you. Getting help from your relatives will save you both time and money.
You will need to be considerate when it comes to interviewing them though. And also asking for any documents, materials or anything for that matter that may help you with your genealogy research.
2. Family History/Genealogy Societies
These societies are a goldmine of information. They will have local knowledge of the area in which your ancestors both lived and worked in.
However, joining a family history/genealogy society is not free. There is an annual subscription that you will need to pay in order to gain membership, and also get discounts on publications that they produce.
If you are not interested in joining these kinds of societies that is OK as you can still get the odd piece of information from them. It would though be in your best interest to join as like genealogy you just don’t know what you will find out from them.
I have gleaned useful insights into the history of my ancestors by merely emailing the relevant societies and asking for help. They have often generously replied with information that was most useful to me.
I would suggest that you do not go overboard and pester these societies. They will likely see that you are asking too much and will probably wish you to join in order to gain further information.
Don’t forget that much of the work that they carry out is because of volunteers.
3. Local Library
If you access to a library near you then I highly recommend that you check it out. Similar to the method that I discussed above a library is also a goldmine of information that you can tap in to.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a library is the books that they will have. A typical library will usually have a hobby section where you will probably find some books on genealogy.
These books will help you understand what genealogy is all about, as well as discuss various other topics such as organizing your researching, how to use the Internet for your research, how to search for records that are out there, and so on.
The second useful resource that is available to you at the library are the computers, which will have Internet access. And if your local library is like mine then they will have access to several genealogy resources that will help you with your research.
At my local library incidentally I can log in to Ancestor and FindMyPast for free. These sites contain billions of records that I have freely accessed and used to extensively help build my family tree.
I wouldn’t be where I am today with my near 2,000 strong family tree without this valuable resource.
And finally your local library may have a genealogy group which have regular weekly meetings. From these sessions you can get help on how to find your ancestors.
The instructors will be able to show you where to look and how to use resources online. These sessions usually last for an hour or two.
Sometimes there will be guest speakers invited to attend and these are a great opportunity for you to get some very valuable advice.
4. Genealogy Search Websites
Touching on the previous method that I explored genealogy search websites contain billions of genealogical records, as well as millions of names and family trees.
You may think though that you can only access this information for a price. You would be right there but there are instances where you can get information from these sites for free.
Several of the top websites have typical 14-day free trials, Ancestry and FindMyPast spring to mind. There are also free weekends that pop up as well. This is usually around the holiday period.
If you do want to take advantage of this free access I would suggest to you that you do have plenty of free time on your hands.
You do not want to begin a free trial only to find that you do not have any time for your research. It will mean that you will have wasted the trial.
Subsequently, when the trial period is over you will likely be automatically signed up to any one of the subscription packages that the site offers.
Or if you do cancel before the trial ends when you do sign up again you will probably be disqualifies from pursuing the free trial.
5. Genealogy Blogs
There are hundreds and hundreds of blogs out there that can help you with practically anything related to genealogy. Some will be written by experts while there will also be one by the amateur family detective.
Either way these blogs, (mine included), can contain a lot of help that you can freely use.
One such blog that I have recently discovered is suitably titled Free Genealogy Help. The site has been online since 2013 and covers topics such as how to use the FamilySearch website, books and sites that are of interest to the site’s creator Carol Hill, and where you can find records.
And if you need any help then you can easily contact her with your question.
There are blogs covering a plethora of different topics:
- Guides and tips,
- DNA genealogy testing,
- The law and genealogy,
- Online resources,
- Surname and family oriented blogs, and
- So on.
6. Message Boards and Forums
My final method that I would like to suggest to you are what you would either call message boards or forums. In any case these are a great resource for you if you have hit a brick wall with your research.
Similar to blogs there are plenty of these online, and the following link will show you the top 8 that I highly recommend that you check out.
I almost forgot to add this method to the list, (actually I did and that is why it is a bonus).
This method is pretty much similar to my library suggestion. Any archive that you will visit will have some kind of help and support.
The staff that runs these centers can not only give you the records that you are after but they can also sit with you and help look with you.
It really though does depend on the center that you visit and how the center is funded. If there is limited funded then this may mean that you will have to pay for a session with an archivist.
But if you are in luck then you can book an appointment with a staff member and get excellent assistance for an hour or so for absolutely nothing. That’s right you do not have to pay a dime, (or penny).
Firstly I would like to thank Carol Hill, (who herself offers genealogy help), for suggesting this method.
Research communities are also a great way for you to get help with tracing your family history and breaking down any brick walls that you may have encountered.
The FamilySearch Research Help Communities is a collection of 12 communities where each of them can be found on Facebook. You just join the group that interests you and ask for help.
- Asia Africa & Pacific Genealogy Research Community
- U.S. West, South, Northeast, and Midwest Genealogy (4 groups)
- British Isles Genealogy Research Community
- Southern Europe Genealogy Research Community
- Central Europe Genealogy Research Community
- Eastern Europe Genealogy Research Community
- Northern Europe Scandinavia Genealogy Research Community
- Mexican/Central Genealogy Research Community
- Canada Genealogy Research Community
Or alternatively if you can help someone with their research then please offer your assistance. Personally I wouldn’t be where I am with my research if it wasn’t for the kind help offered by others. So please pay it forward and help someone out.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
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If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.