Genealogy

Make finding your family and your past easier with some of the top genealogy research services available online. There is much that you could find out with the help from the professionals. The following are a list of the top genealogy services available for 2011. Get additional information on each individual program listed below and determine which one will match your requirements quickly.

All the genealogy service reviews listed are consumer reviews and not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. NASACoLab.org has tested out each individual service and recommend these to you, the consumers. Feel free to view our full comparison chart to determine which service will work best for you and what you need.
Genealogy Reviews & Ratings
Services: Our Ratings: Bottom Line:

Ancestry.com

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A genealogy service backed up with a huge database. Simple to use, easy to navigate and all around an A+ resource for genealogy research.

Archives

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A family tree builder that is priced out perfectly. Database is still growing, making the search sometimes complicated, but is continuing to get better each year. Easy to use and affordable.

Footnote

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A great option to view documents and archives from many years ago. Is best for historians over family tree builders, but still a great resource for builders as well. Affordable option.

One Great Family

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Not the best option for beginners, but a great option for avid family tree builders. Inexpensive option for those already on their way into finding their pasts. Simple to use and navigate.

Family Builder

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A great option for the social media users. Getting results can be hard. A good option for those wanting to generate family trees with other known members using the service via Facebook as well.
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Latest Blog Posts
  • What Sort Of Historical Documents You Might Dig Up

    • The point of these genealogy sites is to be extensive, thorough, and broad. That being said, when you search, expect to find all sorts of results. With lots of results, you might become a little overwhelmed, and that’s more than understandable. However, building your family tree is a mystery and all mysteries begin with a detective wondering, “Where do I start?”
      A good way to orient yourself is by understanding what sort of historical record you’re looking at. There are definitely plenty that can aid you on your search for finding your ancestors, but by knowing the context, purpose, and usage of each type of document, you might be better able to understand just how your search is progressing.
      The first and probably most relevant source of information you will come across is census records. Censuses were used by the government to discover various aspects of the population. They are still used even today in the United States, and are generally conducted every 10 years. Censuses are useful for discovering, among other things, size of population, average family size, average age, and so on. While you are searching online, you will more likely than not come across a census. The most recent available one is the 1930’s census. On the census, you might find all sorts of information. For example, a census records details of citizenship (including immigrant status), whether or not the person served in the military, family relations including marriage details, and even more.
      More very popular historical documents are birth and death certificates. As you may know, birth certificates contain the names of both the father and the mother, as well as place of birth, date of birth, and various birth details. Death certificates also carry a lot of valuable information, such as the cause of death and date of death. What makes these documents so treasured are the exact dates tied to each. Because a date is provided, your records can be more specific and less ambiguous when it comes to who you might be related to. Marriage certificates are also very useful, as they are a means of connecting families.
      Military records are another useful tool you will come across. These include a lot of information that can help perpetuate your search, such as birth/death dates, where the soldier lived, and which branch of the military the soldier was connected to.
      These are only a few of the tools you are able to use on genealogy websites such as One Great Family. If you have ever been remotely interested in your past, consider trying out some of the free trials offered by these sites. After all, history is very real, and digging into your past can really bring so much information to light.

  • Building Your Family Tree

    • So you’re thinking about creating a family tree. Thanks to the amazing amount of information, records, and censuses we have, and thanks to the digital advantage of the internet, genealogy software websites are becoming an increasingly popular hobby for those who are looking to learn about where they came from. Start by addressing your needs. What sort of information are you looking for? On our page we have several reviews for several upstanding genealogy sites. All of these have earned their spots as popular names, and each has different features. Examine these features and see which one best works for you.
      The fun part is the research. There has always been a manual way to build a family tree: asking relatives, going to the library, and visiting various government buildings. Genealogy websites put all of this information – information gathered from around the world – and puts it in a place where you can easily access it. What makes these sites even more successful is the fact that people are helping build a global family tree by contributing their information, their family trees, and their experiences for everyone else to see. And because everyone has the same sort of goal, you can expect to be met with those who are just as interested as you in completing a record of their family.
      There’s really no limit on how far back in history you can go. Of course it gets a little harder the farther back you go, but there is plenty of information to help you get your search started, such as medical records, military records, birth and death records, immigration records, even criminal records. There are censuses, newspapers, and government papers, and you can also see these scanned documents in their original form. Genealogy websites specialize in making the process as easy as possible and providing the most amount of information possible, and as stated above, people are adding to this information every day.
      If you are thinking about getting started on crafting your family tree, you are not alone. There are people out there with self-professed addictions to genealogy. You can imagine why – getting to know relatives who lived tens or hundreds of years before you is a little surreal. Plus, you might discover some pretty interesting facts. Maybe one of your distant cousins crossed on the Mayflower or worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. Maybe a cousin marched with Abraham Lincoln or was hanged for treason. You can never predict what sort of information you might find, and that’s what makes these sites so interesting. Plus, because your tree grows exponentially the further back you go, you can expect to find some pretty fascinating info. One great site is Ancestry.com.

  • What To Look For When Picking A Genealogy Site

    • When picking a geneology site, what sort of qualifications/services should I look for?
      When deciding on a site to use, it’s important to sit down and figure out what sort of site you want to use. Do you want one that is very inexpensive? Do you want the one with the most information? Are you looking for a more historical perspective when it comes to your searches? Figure out exactly what you are hoping to get from your genealogical experience. Only look for the best genealogy software.
      Once you find a site that matches your needs, give it a superficial check. Does it look legitimate? Is there spam popping up ever second? Does it advertise being “free?” Use your gut when assessing a site. The sites we’ve reviewed for you here are all completely legitimate. However, if you decide to use another site but extremely wary, as there are countless numbers of scam sites that are just looking to trick you out of your money and personal information. When it comes to these sites, you want to make sure it’s completely secure.
      As you can see in our reviews, there are sites we prefer over others. While it’s important to take this information into consideration, it’s ultimately your experience that matters. These sites made our list for a reason: they are popular sites that have accumulated a reputation.
      Definitely be sure to take advantage of the free trials that some of these sites offer before you purchase them. Make sure the interface is easy for you to use and make sure you know where all of your resources and tools are. Go over the privacy policies and FAQ’s and maybe even some of the blog posts to get a feel for the sort of service you will be getting. Just like you, there are people who are looking to build their family tree, but everyone has different preferences.
      Once all of this has been completed, you are set to start your genealogical research, and there is plenty of it to be done. It’s a good idea to check out Archives.

  • What Will I Find If I Search My Family?

    • This question has no totally obvious answer, as it varies with each searcher, each family, each day you search, and each name you search. Some people discover whole new sides to their family history: relatives they didn’t know about, a branch of their family tree that comes from China, an illegitimate child. In some extreme cases, people are able to finally settle family disputes that have been raging or lying dormant for years. Some people find they are distantly related to George Washington or some other historical figure. In many cases, people walk away very surprised with their results.
      Some people are lucky when it comes to searching. They are already armed with enough information to give them a head start on their search. Others aren’t so lucky. However, the sheer amount of information available can help anyone get started. All sorts of records and logs and documents are available for you to look at. Newspapers, medical records, immigration records, and so many others combine to create a database overflowing with information. All you need to do is get started.
      When you search, you will discover all sorts of records to read and examine. It’s recommended that you start with the basics: census records, military records, and vital records. After that, you can delve into everything else to help supplement your findings, things like newspapers, local histories, criminal records, court records, birth and death certificates, and so much more. You will find that your search won’t be quickly completed… There is a lot of family to look up.
      A byproduct of genealogical research on genealogy software is the different perspective you gain from learning about your relatives. To read that one of your great grandfathers endured the hardships of a war or an epidemic takes history to the next level and makes it something that may not be relatable, but certainly interesting.
      There really is no telling what you will find on Family Builder. It’s so different for every person that searches. However, you can be sure that you will uncover some stuff that might open your eyes a little wider to your family history and maybe put history into perspective for you.

  • Geneology As A Great Family Activity

    • The importance of connecting the present to the past:
      A lot of people like genealogy software programs because it is a great family activity. What makes it so great is the perspective and knowledge that arised out of a genealogical search. Think about it: this is you and your family looking for more of your family. When your child is discussing the pilgrims on the Mayflower or the immigrants coming through Ellis Island, he or she can raise a hand and say, “my great-great-great grandfather was there.”
      At first glance, some might dismiss the idea of genealogical research. Some might think it’s something an old person does to pass the time. However, there are people of all ages, nationalities, and walks of life using these sites to learn a little more about their family and maybe connect with someone who’s still around. It’s really cool what these sites offer: tons of data from births, deaths, military records, criminal records, and so much more to help people today find the families of yesterday. Plus, it’s not like you’re looking at biographies for characters in your favorite book. You’re looking at actual people who actually lived that long ago. If it wasn’t for those people, you wouldn’t be sitting here today.
      Connecting the past to the present is something that is so valuable. When we read stories in history books, there is no real experience behind them. Learning that a distant cousin or grandparent lived those events makes them real. It also comes with a sense of family pride and identity. Sometimes people are just curious as to what sort of heritage they have; they’re curious if they’re Irish or Italian. Genealogy personalizes history for people. It makes it real.
      Getting your family involved in building your family tree is a great way to spend time all together. Today people aren’t so keen on sharing family stories or getting to know their relatives, but genealogy sites are a great way to ignite that spark of interest. You can be sure that with the information you find on these sites, you will walk away with plenty of interesting stories and family heritage to pass on for later generations. That’s really what it’s all about: connecting families and making them bigger. One Great Family is specifically tailored for connecting families.

  • After Constructing A Family Tree What’s Next?

    • So I’ve started constructing a family tree using one of these sites, what’s next?
      Firstly, that’s great! You have plenty of options when it comes to your investigating. Sometimes just the investigation is enough for people, but other times, people want to take the experience further. Depending on your style or the sorts of things you enjoy doing, you have plenty of options.
      One option is to start a blog. This is a very popular choice amoung genealogists, as it helps them chronicle their experience and share that experience with others. It also serves as sort of a personal diary (just be careful about the information you are putting on your blog!). These blogs vary from specific to general, and oftentimes they chronicle a pretty amazing story. There are plenty of blog sites to help you get started, and there are plenty of examples all over the internet to help you get started. Blogger.com is a basic one that you can set up for free. WordPress.com is another great site to set up your blog. Honestly, there is no shortage of blogging sites on the internet, so pick whichever suits your needs, whether it’s an easy to use interface, lots of bells and whistles, or a site that is more popular among bloggers.
      Another option is to get your family (new members included!) involved. Ask a distant cousin to be a penpal and learn a little about daily life somewhere else or give them your email address. Have your kids, husband, siblings, or even parents or grandparents get involved. It’s a family activity after all, on all fronts. Gather as much information as possible and keep a journal or have a family tree made and put up in your home. Make a scrapbook with all the records, articles, and pictures you find. If you find a cousin that fought in the Revolutionary War, make a page especially for that war to provide a little background. Really, there are tons of possibilities, it just depends on how you like to do things.
      People on genealogy sites have the same mission as you: to delve a little deeper into their past and connect with their family. You are bound to make plenty of friends who shaare your interest in genealogy software such as Footnote on these sites, maybe even one that happens to be related to you.

  • Should I Be Worried That My Family Tree Is Available Online?

    • Just like any website out there – Facebook, dating sites, other social networking sites – you should be careful about leaving your personal information exposed. There are people out there who target nieve web usersand plan to abuse their personal information. This is the case with any site, and genealogy sites are no different. If you are thinking of signing up for one of these sites, there are a few good things to know to keep in mind when starting.
      First of all, many of these genealogy software sites have a great privacy policy. This helps protect your information and the information of your other living relatives. Relatives that are deceased become part of public record. On the note of public records, your name, your father’s name, your mother’s name and even her maiden name are all available via public records. This is nothing to be alarmed about. What isn’t public records is your social security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc. If someone really wanted to find out your mother’s maiden name, they wouldn’t have to try to hard to do it. Knowing this, think about all the things people share on the internet in perspective: on Facebook you can find out where so-and-so is going tonight at 7. Many pages have personal cell phone numbers. It’s important to be smart about your information, but you don’t have to be paranoid. A good rule of thumb is, if you aren’t comfortable with strangers knowing something, don’t put it on the internet.
      Of course Facebook has security options, and genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com have options too. As stated before, sites like Ancestry.com hide the personal information of their users, whether its search results or DNA results. What isn’t covered by the website is how you use the information. If you keep a blog to monitor your experience with genealogy, that’s great. Just don’t go putting any personally sensitive information on there. For example, no phone numbers or addresses. Don’t mention where you work or where you go to school. Maybe consider only using the year when publishing birth dates. All in all, you don’t need to panic. When it comes to genealogy, it’s all names and dates and location. As long as you’re smart about the information you publish outside of the genealogy site, you should be fine.