made a major commitment to working on genealogy this year

+6 votes
I have signed up for a year of, which I am struggling to use.

I signed up for a year with GenealogyBank which I am not getting anthing out of.  Even after just printing off the free articles from FamilyTreeMagazine on how to use GenealogyBank.

I also am a new member of the Ells Island Foundation.

Then I have a premium Plus site on My Heritage.

I have a site on FamilySearch, but have to contact them about my password.

I use the other sites to collect my data for Wikitree.

I am thinking that I need to read a book on each of the major sites to get the max out of them.  I am really struggling with as I have never used it before.  I like to keep a hard copy of all documents in a folder and I don't like that Ancestry won't always let you copy the docs.  I can copy the cite for the source, but I know the source will only work as long as I am a member of ancestry.

Can anyone advice me on how to better spend my time as I have some people that are holding me up from putting a number of other people up on Wikitree.

Thank you in advance.

in The Tree House by Taylor Worthington Gilchrist G2G6 Mach 8 (84.5k points)
My own approach is that I don't pay for any genealogy information and I would not ask for any remuneration for information that I provide. I use , , wikipedia and google searches. It keeps me busy and I enjoy the experience.

Everyone is different on how they approach genealogy.

Anyone looking for Tennessee folk, these are free for years back and they're great reading.

Three bits of advice:

1: Take a free genealogy research course. Strathclyde University has one coming up in May, easy to find via Google.

2: Do not use pay sites. I am a certified genealogist with 40 years experience. Very rarely have I not been able to find what I am looking for on free sites.

3: Communicate with fellow genealogist when you need help.
What is the name of the course?

It is a Future Learning course given by Strathclyde University called   {Genealogy Researching your Family Tree }. It appears to have started on Jan 16th. so it would be difficult to play catch up at this point. It is a six week course taking up about 4 hours per week. Can be handled by beginners, but a bit difficult for them. It is an excellent course and I see they have plans to book another after this one. I highly recommend it.


This is actually the first year I have paid for anything.  Which Is why I really want to make a dent in my family work.


George, Thank you for the information.  I have in the past found a great deal on Myheritage and FamilySearch.  However, it seemed that everyone I heard from thought Ancestry .com was the place to go.

Myheritage was free for me until my tree got so big that it is no longer free!

George, Forgot to tell you thanks for giving me the information on the free courses at Stathclyde University.  I went ahead and registered which I am assuming they will use for the next class.

Appreciate the information.

Thank you so much

Dorothy, I am using the other sites to collect information for my Wikitree profiles.


Thank you

MyHeritage, Roots web, are good for clues but you still need to find proper sources. That's the hard part! Genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle when you don't have the box lid picture!
You are welcome. I would double check on the registration flow through to the next course; just in case.
Your best " primary sourcing " is always found at state or provincial vital statistics records, grave yards, funeral home records etc.. Usually the information is free. The best starting point I have found to locate free sources is " World Gen Web "

Thank you I will check on the registration date for the class.


2 Answers

+4 votes
Welcome to the genealogy world. When I first got started I found myself wondering, try and establish a goal or plan that you want to accomplish for each week or month. I started by making sure I had all of the information for the current generations and then proceeded to move generation by generation on each side of the family. Because if not you will be all over the place and might miss a key fact, item or information that could help you later. Also, like Frank said in his answer there are plenty of free sites out there you can use to gather information. Happy hunting and good luck. If you run across a stumbling block don't' be afraid too ask for help. Submit a question out here and see if someone might be able to assist or they may all ready have the information you are looking for.
by Dean Anderson G2G6 Pilot (477k points)

Thank you very much for your wise advice.


+7 votes

I have used with success for finding my immediate family including cousins and distant relatives from census reports marriage licenses etc. to get me started on building their profiles here on WikiTree. 

If you know the person's date of birth, death and place, put that in after you create the profile on Then start to add other information such as where they went to school or who they married in the "Facts" section there which they will pick up and send you "hints" to census reports etc. NOT ALL HINTS WILL FIT, you have to narrow it down to what does. You can accept them or reject their hints. But you move the good hints to your "Facts" page on Ancestry. 

Lets say they sent you a "hint" on a 1880 census report and it seems to fit. Then cut and paste the info into the fact section making it a paragraph like this: 

  • 1930 United States Federal Census Census & Voter Lists Name Vincent Campodamo Father Vincent Capodanno Mother Rachel Capodanno Sibling Marie Capodanno Birth 1929 - New York Residence 1930 - Richmond, Richmond, New York - Age: 1. Source Information [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
If they give you a Find A Grave hint, click on the page itself and it should send you directly to the FAG page. Again copy the hint info making a paragraph out of it and post it in the facts section. 
Today I found this one: 

* U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current Birth, Marriage & Death Name Erastus A. Eddy Spouse Henrietta W. Eddy Birth 12 Jun 1832 Vermont, USA Death 28 May 1911 Wright County, Minnesota, USA. (I made it a paragraph to post here.)

 I clicked on the link and went directly to the FAG page URL So I added the URL and the 
Find A Grave Memorial# 62001172 . Now when you make your WikiTree profile you have (like in this example) two paragraphs that you can use as sources under the source section. 

Anyway that's how I got started and used Ancestry to help me source some of my profiles here and built them up from them. 

I've also used Marriage certificates and US City Directories made into paragraphs, that Ancestry sent as hints, to fill in the gaps like:

  • U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 Directories & Member Lists Name June G Barger Spouse Lewis L Barger Residence 1951 - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
  • Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 Birth, Marriage & Death Name June Green Spouse Lewis L Barger Marriage 6 Mar 1937 - Rhea, TN.


by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)

Thank you very much for your interesting ideas on creatively usage of all the information I find.  I had never thought of utilizing the information to create small paragraphs that way.


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