Diving Headfirst Into Your Family Tree

28 Jul 2020


Do you ever wonder about where your ancestors came from, and what struggles they had to endure in their life’s voyage?

The journey of discovering your roots and your family history can be quite fascinating and exciting.

It can also be a daunting and time-consuming task.

A simple Google search will lead you to a vast array of websites, promising to give you the answers to the ever-popular question, “where did I come from?”

But how do you know which websites are actually worth your time (and money)? And once you are on those websites, how can you be sure that the information you are finding is accurate?

How do you know if the history you find is really YOUR family history?

Here is a list of some of the most popular genealogy web sites and our reviews on which make the grade, and which fail to deliver.


One important thing to keep in mind when diving into your family history research is that there is a definite learning curve. It takes time (and experience) to figure out how and where to locate the information you are seeking.

If you have endless time to dedicate to this task, then learning by trial and error may be the right method for you.

If not, you might want to consider checking out an online class or two, to help you learn the tricks of the trade.

While there are thousands of options out there, here are a few free ones that are a great starting point:

  • YouTube

    Type “genealogy for beginners,” and you will get THOUSANDS of videos with tips on how to start your ancestry research.
  • Family Search Learning Center

    Signing up for a free account on this website will give you access to hundreds of great webinars; many of catered to specific areas of research (Military Records, Colonial Immigration, etc.).
  • Ancestry.com

    Sign up for an ancestry account, you will have access to their instructional videos, which help you learn how to navigate their site and make the most out of your membership.
  • Brigham Young University Independent Study

    Using Adobe Flash Player, the website offers a variety of free online genealogy courses.


If ancestry is more than just a passing curiosity for you, a subscription to a genealogy magazine can be a very helpful tool.

Many of these magazines provide insight into different methods of genealogical research, updates on public releases of records, and other valuable information.

Just as there are hundreds of different genealogy websites out there, you will find that there are a large variety of magazines that focus on genealogy and ancestry.

The best magazine for you will really depend on your specific needs, but here are a few that are worth checking out:

  • Family Tree Magazine

    Geared towards more amateur genealogists, this is probably the most well known genealogical magazines out there. It is a fun magazine, full of great personal stories, tips for taking family research trips, and interesting tidbits about different ethnic backgrounds and heritages.
  • National Genealogical Society Quarterly

    This one is a must-have for serious genealogists. The magazine, provided to members of the National Genealogical Society, is chock-full of valuable information, research tips, and up-to-date genealogical news. And, as an added benefit to joining the National Genealogical Society, you will also get access to the plethora of online classes offered by the society.
  • Your Genealogy Today

    Whether you are a novice or a seasoned genealogist, this magazine has something for everyone. The bi-monthly magazine covers everything from DNA research to genealogy tourism.

Hiring a Genealogist

Now, if you are like much of the population and don’t have enough time to invest in really digging deep into your family history, hiring a professional genealogist may be something you’ll want to consider.

Aside from just the time constraints, hiring a professional comes with many other benefits:

  • Experience

    A professional genealogist has experience weeding through thousands of documents and records and is more likely to be able to trace your exact line.
  • Knowledge

    A professional already knows where to find marriage records, locate ship manifestos, and search for military draft cards.
  • Skill

    Most professional genealogists are also very skilled at complex research (which is a necessity, when researching ancestry).
  • Organization

    Sorting through the records of thousands of ancestors takes some serious organizational skills. A professional genealogist knows how to make sense of all that information and compile it in to easy-to-follow reports and diagrams.

Regardless of how you decide to tackle the exciting task of unearthing your family’s history, you are in for a fun ride.

A ride full of fascinating discoveries, beautiful stories, and a new appreciation for how you came to be.

Jennifer Rizzo 
Jennifer Rizzo, also known as "Rizzo," is a Denver-based writer with a passion for writing, genealogical research, travel, and languages. She studied Spanish at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and also lived and studied in Ancona, Italy. She also holds a certification for International Tour Management through the International Guide Academy. Since joining The Writers for Hire, Jennifer has written on vast array of topics and has done many in-depth genealogical research and family tree projects. She has worked as Project Manager for various client projects, including: family history books, websites, RFPs, blogs, autobiographies, and SOPs. She enjoys working closely with clients, and loves any opportunity that allows her to indulge her creative side.

Related Content

  • 0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What resources have you found to be helpful in researching your family history?