I don’t really know why I put off getting started with genealogy for such a long time. I had already quizzed my relatives about our family until they couldn’t remember any more, and I guess I just thought searching on the internet was expensive or difficult, or both. Also, I wasn’t sure I had enough information to go on.
Finally, finally, last year in the early autumn I signed up for a free fourteen-day trial of Ancestry.com. I haven’t looked back. But I know how intimidating it can feel to just get the heck started. Let me see if I can make your first foray into online genealogy a little more comfortable…
Ancestry.com is the first genealogy site I discovered and used. It does charge a monthly fee, but if you can put up with that, a membership there is well worth it. They have a ridiculous amount of information at their site, and lots of pretty images to download and hoard obsessively keep like I do. Also, Ancestry.com is very user-friendly and great on providing source documentation (which I admit I am often guilty of ignoring in my excitement). The link is in the sidebar to the right under the “GENEALOGY” heading.
A free site worth messing around with is FamilySource, a site maintained by the Church of Latter Day Saints. These people are superstars when it comes to family research. There are no nice photos here, and the interface might be a little intimidating to a beginner, but it’s worth spending a little time there plugging in names and dates and seeing what you come up with. Once you get into it all, their free Personal Ancestry File software becomes incredibly useful for keeping track of your research. The link is in the sidebar to the left, also under “GENEALOGY.”
Go ahead. Jump in. Just get started. I can almost guarantee you will be instantly hooked.