This is the third presentation given by Leland Meitzler from Everton Publishing when he spoke at our Spring Seminar. His session on "Genealogy on the Cheap" was the one that most interested me. Although I have spent more money than I want to admit on books with my ancestors included, genealogy does not have to be very expensive.
Leland's first suggestion was that you use the public library and local history rooms, check out genealogical society's libraries. Public libraries are free and hold a wealth of knowledge. Our genealogical society acquires books based on suggestions from members and other societies do so also. If you are researching in a far off state the library may have books or CDs that will help you. Inter-library loans are great also. Leland suggests that if it is a microfilm order where they do not have microfilm readers, they may let you take the film home to look at. Last is to use your Family History centers, they are free to use, but film rent is now $5.50 a roll.
He next gave us information on online data. First, he gave the free sources:
Next were paid sources:
- Remote access to Heritage Quest On-Line, is through public libraries who subscribe to Heritage Quest. For other research sources such as NEHGS who have Heritage Quest, one must go to the resource center itself. At the end of June 2006, ProQuest did away with all remote access to Heritage Quest at Genealogical and Historical society libraries. Once again, remote access is still available at public libraries who subscribe to Heritage Quest.
- Ancestry.com is a subscription site but you can access it from your local Family History Center or possibly at your local library.
There are other resources as well, but I have never been interested in the pay-for-view sites. I cranked a lot of microfilm at my Family History Center before any of these sites came online. So far they have not put much of anything online that looks interesting enough to entice me to sign up.
Computer programs: Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is still free from the Family Search website. Legacy 6.0 Family Tree is another good one but it isn't free. Their site does give an over view of their products and others. Leland's suggestion on this section is to keep an old computer with Win98 on it. (This is good advice if you are happy with what you have and don't want to update.) There is a ton of GOOD software and CDs available on eBay for as little as 99 cents, and most will not run on Windows XP. Keep this in mind before Microsoft Vista comes out.
He taked next about maps and some sites where you may find them.
Leland then talked about some other free online documents. They are:
There are also How-to Classes at the Family Search website, family group sheets from Ancestry, and many other places. You can do a lot of genealogy research for a little money.