Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Top 2 Free Resources for Genealogists
These are hands down the TOP 2 FREE Resources for genealogists. They might not be what you were expecting.
1) Your Public Library
You can't beat this. It's the best possible information source for genealogists. In terms of internet resources, many public libraries in the United States provide FREE access to paid subscription databases like Ancestry.com. (Please let me know if this is the case too in Canada, Europe and Down Under.) They also typically offer other online historical and genealogical databases. And most libraries have historical newspaper databases, at least for local newspapers. Some of the databases can even be accessed from the comfort of your home.
Most people forget about all the other free resources available in the library such as books, magazines, DVDs, audio CDs, a helpful staff and interlibrary loan. You can read about all the resources in your local library in a post I wrote called "Have You Visited Your Local Library Lately?"
Most libraries are within a reasonable distance of your home. And people with disabilities can often get free transportation from a town-provided service. After you've exhausted all the online databases make your way to the building and make use of all the other great resources available located there.
2) Your Local FamilySearch Center
While it's true that your local FamilySearch Center may not be located as close as your local library, it is still worth seeking it out. A quick check online will give you the location of the nearest center to your home.
FamilySearch Centers provide premium databases that you may not find in your local library. In addition to Ancestry.com they also have Fold3, historic map databases, the Godfrey Memorial Library and many others. If you don't have the money to buy these databases or don't use them enough to warrant the cost, then the FamilySearch Center is the perfect solution.
Not only will the FamilySearch Center give you access to free online databases but the world of microfilm will be within your reach. You can rent microfilm from the Family History Library and view it at your local center. These two resources put the world of genealogy at your fingertips.
In addition, FamilySearch Centers also have books, research guides and other supportive materials to help you in your search. And let's not forget the volunteer staff. An important resource new genealogists need is guidance from more experienced genealogists. Lean on the volunteer staff to help guide you through the bumps in your research and the tangle of websites that can be so confusing.
Give it a Try!
Your local library and local FamilySearch Center combine to provide you with the most powerful resources to propel your genealogy research forward. Schedule an afternoon to explore these two important yet under-utilized resources.
Photo Credit: photo by CCAC North Library and used under the creative commons license. Photo shows the Reference Area on the first floor of the CCAC North Campus Library (Pittsburgh, PA).
Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis at 8:59 AM