The world of genealogy is rapidly changing. In the past, it was time-consuming and costly; now myriads of free genealogy resources are just a mouse-click away. You can download free genealogy charts, get family history software, connect with distant relatives, and try subscription services online at no cost.
Charts and Forms
Genealogy charts can be found all over the internet; one of the best places to download them is from Bailey's Free Genealogy Forms at http://www.cs.williams.edu/~bailey/genealogy/ , where you can download pedigree charts, family group records, and relationship calculation charts. These charts are free and functional. You can also download decorative family tree charts from About.com at http://genealogy.about.com/od/free_charts/ig/genealogy_charts/.
Family Tree Software
There are dozens of family history software programs available for purchase. Fortunately, there is also a free genealogy program you can download at www.FamilySearch.org. Personal Ancestral File, or PAF, comes in many different languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Take advantage of free genealogy trial memberships. Many subscription websites offer these trial periods, lasting anywhere from three to fourteen days. That way, you can try their website or service to see if you like it before you decide to make a purchase. A trial membership is also the way to go if you only want to use a site once or twice to get information from it. Some free genealogy trials include:
- Ancestry's 14-day trial allows you to search original records like World War I draft cards and the U.S. federal census
- OneGreatFamily offers a 7-day trial and access to their family tree compilation service
- Footnote offers a 7-day trial; you can use it to search old newspapers and obituaries for your ancestors
There are also free research outlines you can download from www.FamilySearch.org to learn how to do your own professional-quality research. These research outlines teach you everything you need to know: the sites to search, the kinds of records that are available, and the addresses to write. These research outlines can be downloaded for free in PDF format, and they cover all kinds of topics, from Native American research to Asian family history and from military records to Catholic parish records.