General Tips for Intermediate to Advanced Genealogists

A) Librares across the U.S. typically have a good, basic collection of books dealing with genealogy. Besides the general books on ancestor searching, many libraries have, or can obtain, specialized books to help with searching in: U.S. Death Records, and U.S. Military Records, as well as books on techniques for searching property titles in various states of the U.S., among many other topics.

B) Digital genealogy programs include, but are not limited to:

(clicking on a link below will take you to that website in a new window; once you have browsed through the linked site, just close the new window [or new tab] to return to our HFA website.) - has the most content from the most sources, including international, and the highest monthly fee - offers a 30-day free trial, but holds back somewhat on telling you the actual cost per month after the free trial - allows you to download Family Tree Builder software for free - has the best price: free

We could list 20 more programs with ease, but that wouldn’t be of much help. What’s important to know about internet genealogy software is that the biggest and best sites are going to charge higher user fees, because it takes money to create, maintain, and update massive genealogy information databases. But the biggest and best sites are not always the easiest to learn and navigate as the smaller sites. If you are a novice at genealogy software, it might be best to start with a free site. Because if it’s free, it’s not going to be massive. Therefore it should be much easier to learn how to use. 

Once you’ve got some experience with a free genealogy website, then try experimenting with some of the free trials that the mid-sized websites offer. After a free month of experimenting, you will know if it is good for you to stay with the midsize website or to move up to a more difficult to learn research tool and if you are spending enough time searching to justify the cost of doing that. 

Finally, if you find that you are spending a few minutes, or more, pretty much every day working at your genealogy research, then you know for sure you are ready to seriously consider moving on up to a massive genealogy website. The cost: offers a basic U.S. package for approximately $1.00/day, and they offer discount promotions of that package on a fairly regular basis.

C) Possibly the best overall online sites to find links to other online genealogical websites are 1) Genealogy Resources by Veritas Prep (author: Scott Shrum) features a brief, but thorough overview of the genealogical process and around 18 different links to a wide variety of free public-created and government-created genealogy websites [thanks to Luke for this tip] and 2) Home Advisor’s History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy is another brief, but thorough overview of the genealogical process and around 30 different links to a broad variety of free public-created and government-created genealogy websites [thanks to Courtney Phillips and her crew for this tip]. 3) TruePeopleSearch is a smaller website, somehow associated with an internet search engine geared to finding living persons, which decided to publish an overview article of genealogy record types, how to interpret them so you can use them, and within that excellent  overview article decided to publish a link to a Family Tree Magazine online article that does an excellent, in-depth analysis of Christian  church-related genealogy records [thanks to Donna Grossman for this tip].

D) Finally, please check out check out ‘specialized free' websites:

The list below was complied by Janice J. Higdon, our former HFA Website webmaster. She was our guest speaker at the 2102 St. Augustine Annual Meeting and gave a presentation on: Online searching for building a family tree. Free sites for information exist and are available for your use. A few of the websites are:

The Higdon Family Association, Inc. is not affiliated with any other national genealogy organization, nor do we receive any fees from any commercial company for listing them above.

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