Genealogy Resources

 

Human beings are tribal by nature, so it’s no surprise that our roots fascinate us. If you are interested in learning more about where you come from, genealogy will shed light on your ancestry.

 

By taking a commercial DNA test, you will be able to learn more about your heritage, and track down long-lost family members. Who knows, you may even be descended from royalty, or find that you are a distant cousin of a famous celebrity!

 

If you are interested in joining the millions of hobbyist genealogists across the country, you will need the correct resources. This resource guide will provide insights into everything that you’ll need to learn more about yourself, and your past.

DNA Testing

If you want to take up genealogy, the first thing that you’ll need is a DNA test. Kits for this can be purchased over the internet.

 

When you invest in an online DNA test, you will be asked to return a saliva sample or a cheek swab in a return envelope. The results will then be mailed to you, and you can begin investigating your family lineage.

 

Popular commercially available DNA testing kits include:

 

·         AncestryDNA is arguably the most popular and famous home testing kit throughout the world. With the aid of Ancestry, you can learn all about the melting pot of your genetic heritage in an easy-to-understand summary.

·         Family Tree DNA offers a multitude of packages, meaning that you can trace your paternal lineage, that of your mother, or both. This is arguably the finest choice for anybody primarily interested in filling in any missing branches on their family tree.

·         23 and Me is a great choice for the health-conscious. In addition to the standard tracing of ancestry, 23 and Me offers a health screening service that informs you of any hereditary conditions of diseases found in the 23 pairs of chromosomes unique to your DNA.

·         CRI Genetics may not be the best-known genetic testing company in the States, but they are among the most reliable. The business is headed by an active genealogist, who is recognized by professors at Harvard at being at the top of the field. CRI also offers a full money-back guarantee of you are not satisfied with the results of your test for any reason.

·         Living DNA provides an extremely detailed ancestry report. Arguably the most meticulous findings of any company. However, they are based in the United Kingdom. This means that, unless your heritage includes Britain and Ireland, you find your results limited.

 

Do some investigation, and discover which testing service you feel will suit your needs best. Each has their owns sets of pros and cons.

Researching Records

Once you know where you come from, you will want to know who you come from. With the aid of genealogy, you can trace your heritage back countless generations from all over the world.

 

·         The US Government website is as good a place to start as any. Here you will find available data from the census bureau. Be aware, however, that this data is only made public 72 years after the census. This means that you’ll have to look elsewhere for more recent information.

·         Cyndi’s List is a hugely comprehensive resource, which will help you track down relatives based searching within countless sub-categories.

·         Find a Grave may sound a little ghoulish, but you can learn a lot from visiting the resting places of your ancestors.

·         The Liberty Ellis Foundation maintains records of the countless people that arrived in New York by ship. Could your ancestors be among them? If you want to look back even further, trying Castle Garden.

·         The Library of Congress maintains old newspaper records. These may contain vital information for any genealogist, including obituaries.

·         The National Park Service lists every solider that fought in the American Civil War. If you can date your lineage to the 18th Century, you will likely need this resource!

·         Access Genealogy is a useful resource for ethnic minorities with a long history in America, who may find that records prior to the aforementioned Civil War are tricky to source.

 

Finally, never neglect your local library or hall of records. Records of births, deaths and marriages are the building blocks of any family history.

Building a Family Tree

We all have memories of drawing up a family tree on paper in Elementary School, but there is a plethora of resources online to make this easier now. These include:

 

·         Family Echo is an extremely basic and user-friendly piece of software that creates a simple, printable family tree based on the data you enter.

·         Family Search will help you track down relatives and plot their place in your family tree.

·         My Heritage sells DNA tests, but they also have a range of free services that anybody can access. This includes a comprehensive family tree builder.

·         Gramps is a free, cross-platform piece of software that helps you keep track of all your family tree discoveries.

·         Heredis is the ideal choice for anybody that likes to plot his or her family tree on the move. This is a free app that is available for all iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Genealogy Communities

Genealogists are a friendly bunch, and you may find your searching much easier if you buddy up with some like-minded individuals.

 

·         Rootsweb is the biggest online genealogy community. You will find a great many fellow hobbyists keen to exchange tips and information here.

·         RootsChat is a free online forum filled with helpful users from all over the world.

·         GenealogyWise is essentially Facebook for genealogy enthusiasts.

·         The Federation of Genealogical Societies will point you in the direction of any local communities and resources that would benefit you.

Further Reading

We have just scratched the surface of the information available to aspiring genealogists with this guide. Some other resources that may provide invaluable include:

 

·         Genealogy.com is an essential bookmark, no matter how advanced you may be in your study of your heritage. This article by Alex Haley, whose sprawling novel Roots is often credited as kickstarting America’s love affair with genealogy, is particularly fascinating.

·         Genealogy in Time magazine, is UK-based, so not all their content will be relevant. Regardless, it does boast a very useful genealogy-centric search engine that will save you a great deal of time sifting through irrelevant Google search results.

·         The US GenWeb Project should be investigated, and supported. Volunteers, who are dedicated to maintaining free genealogy resources online, staff this resource on its entirety. You can branch out into the World GenWeb Project if necessary.

Summary of Useful Links

We have linked to a wide variety of different sources in this article. You’ll find a summary of all the external sites that we recommend below.

 

·         23 and Me – www.23andme.com

·         Access Genealogy – www.accessgenealogy.com

·         AncestryDNA – www.ancestry.com

·         Castle Garden – www.castlegarden.org

·         CRI Genetics – www.crigenetics.com

·         Cyndi’s List – www.cyndislist.com

·         Family Echo – www.familyecho.com

·         Family Tree DNA – www.familytreedna.com

·         Family Search – www.familysearch.org

·         Federation of Genealogical Societies – www.fgs.org

·         Find a Grave – www.findagrave.com

·         Genalogy.com – www.genealogy.com

·         GenealogyWisewww.genealogywise.com

·         Genealogy in Time – www.genealogyintime.com

·         Gramps – www.gramps-project.org

·         Herediswww.heredis.com

·         The Liberty Ellis Foundation – www.libertyellisfoundation.org

·         Library of Congress – www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

·         Living DNA – www.livingdna.com

·         My Heritage – www.myheritage.com

·         RootsChat – www.rootschat.com

·         Rootsweb www.rootsweb.com

·         US GenWeb Project – www.usgenweb.org

·         US Governmentwww.usa.gov

·         World GenWeb Project – www.worldgenweb.org