It is so rewarding to research your own family history and learn a bit about the people who came before you. There are many resources available these days that make it easier to do this type of research. Though some of those resources can be quite pricey, there are many ways to research your family’s history for free. I know that some of my family came from Lithuania while the rest came from Russia. Where they scattered to, aside from the US and South America is beyond me. I recently learned, before my mother died, her mothers side of the family had their own village in Lithuania and were Cantors and Rabbi’s.
Anyway, check out these 7 free ways to do your family history research.
1. Family Search
Family Search is a free website that is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can go to their website to set up a free account and have a host of resources available at your fingertips to research your ancestors. They even have free instructional videos for beginners to learn more about how to do this research.
2. Printable Genealogy Forms
If you prefer a pen and paper approach to family history, you can download and print free genealogy forms. There are many forms available to print such as Pedigree Charts, Family Group Sheets, Research Logs and more. And these are all free to access and can even be filled out from the computer and printed with typed entries for a cleaner looking research book.
3. Find a Grave
One of the best and most extensive resources for locating burial information for ancestors is totally free! Find a Grave has over a million archives of cemetery information from all over the United States. And many of the entries have an extensive amount of information about that person and their families. Also, there are hundreds of volunteers that can help to locate a grave site in an area that may be a long distance from where you are located.
There are incredible genealogical groups on Facebook that are excellent sources for family history research. Just search for a group in the state that your ancestor was from. You will often find hundreds of people who are local to that area and willing to help answer questions and point you in the right direction of your research.
5. Family History Centers
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has hundreds of Family History Centers across the country. Their large and main center is in downtown Salt Lake City, but you may find it surprising how many smaller centers are scattered around the world. You can search here to see if there is one near you. At these centers you can have free access to commonly expensive resources such as Ancestry.com.
6. Local Libraries
If you happen to live near or plan to visit the town where you have a family history, make sure to check out the local library. Often you will find historical archives that are specific to that town and most likely not available in any other location. You may not find specific information about your ancestor, but just to learn about the local history during the time your ancestor lived there will tell you much about his or her life.
The most valuable yet free resource of family history research is your actual family. Plan a visit to see that distant cousin who has old family photos or sit and talk with your grandmother about her childhood. Not only will you be able to gain a wealth of information about your family’s history, but you will build lasting relationships with your family in the process.