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How to Research your Family History without Breaking the Bank

Researching your family history can be an awesome family project when you have a defined family tree you can learn a ton about your roots! Sometimes these projects and websites can be pricey but there are ways to really check out your beginnings without having to break the bank.


Google is a great place to commence your research. By entering the name of the family member you are looking for, you can pull up an obituary file. Obituary files contain a ton of information on family members. They give the name of spouses, next of kin, place of birth and death, their history in terms of work, and a wealth of other knowledge. From this initial piece of information, you can look into other family members and work your way backward from there. Obituaries can also lead you to databases of obituaries to help you ascertain that the record you have found is actually for the person you were looking for.

Grave-Record Databases

Once you have an obituary record, you can look into grave-record databases to find out who owned the plot. This will give you clues on any other family relationships you may not have known. Using grave-record databases, you can get the surnames of family members, especially for women who used to change their names upon getting married. A surname could link you to your maternal side of the family if she stopped using that name once she got married. The great news is that many websites provide records, especially pictures, of gravestones that can help you validate that the data you have is correct.

Census Collections

Census collections are great for finding out your ancestry records. They offer insights into the names, ages, birthplaces, death dates, and economic activities your ancestors may have engaged in. From here, you can narrow your search to the locations given to find out more about any other family connections (nuclear or extended) you may not have known of. With census records, you may not have access to the original records, but you can order for microfilms on the same at an affordable price.

Libraries and Archives

In the days of old, the only way to record data for storage and dissemination was to write it down literally. This data can be found in libraries and local newspapers. Therefore, also visiting the archives will help you out with your search. From these sources, you can get a hold of obituaries and articles that can help with your family history search. These facilities offer this information for free therefore the only cost you may need to incur is transportation cost to your local archive or library.

Genealogy Websites

There are many family record sites available for free on the web. Even for membership sites like GenealogyBank, you will get a trial or a number of free searches to get you started. These free searches are enough to get you started on finding out your family’s roots. These sites also offer billions of free family records which you can comb through and match to your family. Additionally, some even offer you the option of initiating and carrying out conversation with related family members you may run into during your search. These family members can give you more insight into your family’s ancestry. The sites may also allow you to share your records with others who may be willing to help you find solutions to your search if you were facing difficulties.

Using Land Records

Land records from as early as 1820 can give you a glimpse into any property your family had or sold. These can give you a glimpse into the economic standing of your family in the past. Millions of land title records are available today. You can request for certified copies for the same to serve as evidence. The National Archives may also have data on land records that could prove helpful in your search.

Debt of Honor Register

If you have family members from the UK or former colonies, you can find records for those who died in World War I and II (from more than 150 countries) on the internet for free courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. These records consist of personal and service details of close to two million members who served in the Commonwealth forces.

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