Your Legacy: Making Your Family Tree For Free

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Have you ever wondered and asked yourself “How can I make my family tree for free?”.  This is a very common question among beginner family historians. Genealogy can become a very expensive hobby so here are some ideas to get you started and create your family tree for FREE!

Download a free family tree software package

You can create a family tree on paper but with today’s technology of computers, it makes more sense to do it on your computer. And you can do it for FREE! Below is a list for you to check out:

  • Family Tree Builder: from My Heritage which is a very good free genealogy software
  • Family Tree – Ancestry Photo Manager: a FREE photo organizer to consolidate photos, videos, thumb drives, etc into a single unified library.
  • RootsMagic: Essentials is a FREE genealogy and family tree software – very popular with genealogists
  • Legacy Family Tree 9.0: FREE – setting a New Standard while supporting a wide range of reporting features.
  • Family Historian: FREE – rated as the BEST Family Tree Software in 2020, it is great for beginners.
  • Gramps – Genealogy Software: FREE – developed for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems, but it is also available for Windows and Mac OSX. Gramps is an open source software using free tools and services from GitHub.

There are lots of them available on the Internet so you will have to do some initial research. Next you will have to select one that you would be most comfortable with using. Download one software genealogy program to get yourself started and remember this tool will give you the ability to create an awesome family tree.

You may want to start your family tree with an online family tree research program. Below is a list of 5 that I would recommend you researching and deciding on one. It’s hard to make a selection with so many out in cyberspace so this my shortlist for you to make a selection from.

Creating your online family tree

  • Ancestry.com: Create a FREE Online Family Tree to discover your family’s past. Has over 12 billion historical records in their database. Build your online family tree. Once you have your tree started you can always upgrade to one of their paid subscription services and get more detailed information on your ancestors.
  • My Heritage: Family Tree – With My Heritage you can also make a FREE Online Family Tree. If you downloaded the Family Tree Builder mentioned above you can merge the data from your standalone computer software version to the online one. The site provides you with free online family tree search capabilities, tutorials on how to make your tree and billions of international, searchable genealogy records to discover your ancestors. MyHeritage also has an awesome photo enhancer that can colourize old photos, something to check out. An excellent choice if you want to build your online family tree.
  • Findmypast: Family Tree – UK based with a new look. Findmypast online family tree builder, you can easily build a family tree and access it anywhere. In addition to the benefit of digitally preserving your family history research, Findmypast offers you accurate ancestor search results thanks to their genealogical society partners. Their search filters are quite nice, too, as they narrow your ancestor search results to save you valuable time. Build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree Now: Offers you a FREE online family tree building experience. With one of the largest collections of genealogy records (census records, birth records, death records, marriage & divorce records, living people records and military records), you’re sure to find some long lost ancestors by using their search features. The best part about the Family Tree Now family tree builder is that you will never be charged fees to search,  view details or fill in your tree. It has the ability to search billions of genealogy records 100% FREE to find your ancestors. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 
  • Family Tree by FamilySearch – Free Online Tree: largest collection of free genealogy records in the world owned by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only has an Online version with full syncing capabilities with the FamilySearch app and partial individual person syncing with Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic. Has a huge variety of printable charts, forms, keepsakes, maps and more… You can easily share and collaborate with family and other community members. Family Tree – Family Search has an extensive online support, learning center, research wiki. A GREAT choice to build your online family tree. 

You have to start somewhere and to begin your tree it is always best by starting with yourself and work back. 

I would highly recommend for you to download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’. It is the ‘22 Steps’ that is required for you to use as a guide when you start your tree.

Interviewing your parents, grandparents and other relatives

This is an important step in making your family tree–interviewing relatives. Remember it’s free and it is best to get these facts before it’s too late! Better to get this information as soon as you start. 

Sit down with your parents, grandparents and other relatives and find out as much information as they know-names, dates, places-about their parents and their grandparents. These interviews should definitely help you with your family tree back to your great-grandparents or even your great-great-grandparents! If possible, and with permission gather photos, documents, videos, etc. The information you gather during this phase in your research will be the building blocks to your tree. 

Searching for ancestors on free family tree websites

Many family tree websites require you to have a subscription and many have a FREE one available to start. There are a handful of excellent websites that can help you get started:

1) FamilySearch.org – One of the best places to start searching for your family tree. Search for each of your ancestors from your family tree who have passed away by name and with any other identifying information (birth date, death date, etc.)

2) Cyndislist.com – With more than 250,000 links to genealogy websites, this is a must-stop for any person trying to make their family tree. Browse through the links related to your family surnames-you may find websites with information that can help you expand certain of your family lines.

3) GenForum and Ancestry Boards – There are thousands of message boards for surnames where you can post as much information as you have on each surname from your family tree and see if there are others also researching the same line who may be able to help!

4) Family Tree Magazine list of 25 beginner-friendly websites which will get you started.

Visiting a local Family History Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is very involved with genealogy and has over 30,000 congregations in more than 160 countries and territories. In Family History Centers volunteers can give you free advice on how to make and research your family tree. These volunteers can also help you search for microfilms that you can look at to find your ancestors in records from all over the world.

Sharing your family tree

After you have followed the steps above to make your family tree for free, share what you have found with other family members. Consider making a family tree website so that others who are researching similar lines may find parts of their family tree for free!

So, what are you waiting for – go ahead and get started – be the detective and solve your family history!

Don’t forget, download my FREE PDF ‘22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree’.

Free Genealogy Search – A Step in Your Family Ancestry

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If you’re interested in rediscovering your family’s history, then you should conduct your own research or hire a genealogist to do the search for you. However, you have to consider that hiring a genealogist right away can be very expensive as well as researching for your family’s ancestry alone. It will also take quite a long time to get to your goal on finding the root of your family’s history.

If you think about it, there is a much cheaper way to start searching for your family’s history. Although it will only offer limited results, it is a great way to start your search for your family’s history. It will also save you a lot of time and money because it’s free and it’s available on the internet. The internet contains thousands of different genealogy related websites. You will find a few websites that will offer free genealogy search. Although these free genealogy websites will only offer limited information, it will serve as a great start to find out about your family’s genealogy.

Also, free genealogy search websites will serve as a stepping stone on your search for your ancestors. With this kind of website, you will never again have to leave your home and search public libraries for old newspapers and old public records that may contain information about your family’s history. Here, you can search for your relatives and obtain copies of available documents for free – right in the comforts of your own home.

Since free genealogy search websites don’t contain all the information you need, you can consider gathering what information you can and once you meet a dead end in your search, you can say that it’s time for you to hire a genealogist to do the work for you. You can provide them with all the information you gathered and the genealogist will pick up where you left off. This will lessen the fee for their services as you did some work for yourself. However, the cost will also depend on how far back you want your family tree to be. Always remember that the farther back in the past your family tree is and the harder it is to find documents, the more expensive the fee for the genealogist will be.

Free genealogy search websites are only there to give you a bit of push on your search for your ancestors. You have to remember that free genealogy search websites only contains limited information. And, if you want a more comprehensive search and a proper family tree, you should consider hiring a genealogist to do the work for you.

Professional genealogists know what documents to find and where to find them. They will also furnish you a copy of the original documents and will make a family tree for you if you want them to.

Searching for your genealogy is a fun activity. So, start uncovering your family’s mystery by searching for the preliminary information first in free genealogy search websites and continue with a more comprehensive search with a genealogist.

A great website and article for further reading and to help you in your research is on “Family Tree” article ‘Best Free Genealogy and Family History Websites’ By David A. Fryxell.

This is an awesome resource for anyone who wants to get started in their research.

Good Luck!

The Success of DNA Testing and Continuing Your Genealogy Research

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Today having your DNA tested is one of the best ways to continue a different angle in researching your family tree. It’s great if you have a family tree already started and want to get more information on your ancestors. Doing so enables you to check out potential distant cousins and discovering more about where you actually came from.

I have had my DNA tested twice with both AncestryDNA and MyHeritageDNA. The results from both are very similar and I have connected with 2nd and 3rd cousins putting faces to names in my tree and also discovering more facts about my extended family.

It’s amazing in the discoveries and where it will lead you. Taking your genealogy research to another level is something that I personally feel that you should endeavour to expand your resources. You just never know where it will take you.

Some information about DNA Testing that you should be aware of before you get it done is described below.

There are about 60,000 billion cells found in the human body. It includes muscle cells, cheek cells, and white blood cells. Each cell contains the whole genetic information which is the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The nucleus inside the cell holds the DNA or chromosomal DNA that consists of Y chromosomal DNA, X chromosomal DNA, and autosomal DNA. The external part of the nucleus holds mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The autosomal DNA comes from both the mother and the father, Y chromosomes is inherited by a son from his father, and mtDNA comes from the mother only.

There are advancements made in testing DNA to meet various areas of interests. For example, the most common uses of DNA are related to finding criminals and proving paternity. But today, genealogy research also uses DNA testing.

For so many years, genealogy has become an important element of the society and a favorite hobby of some enthusiasts. Although this is more rewarding, somehow it brings frustrations even to expert genealogists. It can be very time consuming when doing paper research. More often, it can lead to illegible and damaged documents. But, DNA testing provides quick results without questioning its authenticity or quality. Moreover, the genetic genealogy results can endure the tests of time.

1. Mitochondrial testing is utilized for tracing the maternal heritage of a person. The mtDNA testing is very important since genealogists are mostly females. When they marry, maternal lines are often lost because of changing their surnames. In this manner, they can learn and trace their maternal ancestry. There are advances made in understanding genetics and using laboratory techniques in helping a person to identify maternal lineage through mtDNA tracing services. The distinct mtDNA of person is analyzed and compared to the databases of other samples of mtDNA worldwide, revealing information about the lost ancestry.

The mtDNA remains nearly unchanged even for so many years. You can share the same type of mtDNA with your mother, maternal grandmother, and maternal great grandmother. The same exact mtDNA code can track your direct maternal lineage way back from the time where mtDNA code’s natural mutation occurred. Women who are living today can trace their origins 150 thousands years ago through natural mutations or mitochondrial eve. In connection with matrilineal descent, Eve is the common ancestor. But it doesn’t necessarily imply that Eve is the only woman who lived in that era. There were also other women alive but only the lineage of Eve has survived.

2. Y chromosomal DNA testing is the most common used form of genetic genealogy testing. Some people can even trace if a deceased man is related to them by conducting this test. Like mtDNA, Y chromosomes can be also traced back from one prehistoric father, Adam. The DNA mutation of the first Y chromosomes naturally occurs over many generations. Determining the present Y chromosomes can trace your paternal lineage through searching the Y database worldwide.

Moreover, genealogists can find out if two people are related because they have similar surnames through Y chromosomes testing. It is not impossible since in most cultures, surnames or family names are inherited by children from their fathers like the Y chromosomal DNA.

A successful genealogy research lies on DNA testing because its usefulness is proven as time has passed by. Expanding your ancestry research through your DNA and also researching potential family tree hits on the Internet (Online Genealogy Websites) are worthwhile goals.

Finding relevant original sources is the main goal of any genealogist where I hope you as a family historian will succeed.

DNA Testing is another resource for you too utilize in your quest and continuing family saga.

Link to AncestryDNAAncestryDNA

Link to MyHeritageDNA

For further reading check out the article ‘The Best DNA Testing Kits for 2021’ at PCMag By Molly McLaughlin Updated February 3, 2021