05/07/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

3 family history hacks for free & easy genealogy research

f3e8240a-f77b-4608-a22b-25b203173369

Navigating your way around the internet is becoming second nature to many of us, but genealogists can still probably lose a happy if frustrating, even fruitless, day (or two!) meandering the worldwide web in search of our ancestors.

 

With a rare or well-recorded branch of a family, searching online can see pedigree charts fall into place relatively quickly. However, for most family history researchers – and most ancestral branches – a more targeted approach is required when searching online.

 

If you are feeling all at sea about where and how to start, don’t worry, there are numerous techniques you can use to help you search more effectively online.

 

Take a leaf out of professional genealogist Emma Jolly’s book. Emma has these 3 great tips and tricks up her sleeve for swift and successful web research, which will get you off to a flying start.

 

1 Use family history portals

Use reliable family history portals such as Forebears and Cyndi’s List to help with an interest in a specific region, surname or area of research interest. You can search these by typing your enquiry directly into the address bar: for example, ‘site:cyndislist.com Smith, Sarah’.

 

2 Free genealogy sites

Free genealogy websites aren’t just great for saving money, they often provide alternative search methods and results. FreeBMD, for example, is easy to use and its results are clearly laid out. Unlike some civil registration index databases, FreeBMD can be searched without a surname. FreeREG is excellent for finding transcribed details of parish register records that may not be online. And FamilySearch remains an essential free resource for every family historian.

 

3 Make the most of search engines

You may be missing some basic data if you neglect the general search engines. Google is the most famous, but also check:

Bing

DuckDuckGo 

CC Search

Yahoo 

Boardreader

 

Once you have your results, you can use filters to narrow them down. For example, use a minus sign around a search term to remove it from the results, or quotation marks to search for exact names, like this: "John David Wicks".

 

These are just three expert ideas for fine-tuning your web searches, enabling you to watch the fruits of your labours grow on your family tree. You can find more fantastic family history hacks in Emma Jolly's article, 25 web tips & tricks for successful research, only in the August 2017 issue of Family Tree, available now in our online store.

 

Back to Reviews

05/07/2017 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Reviews

3 top free websites for finding Royal Navy ancestors

Start researching your Royal Navy ancestors today with our guide to 3 of the best free websites for family ...


Rats Alley: Trench Names of the Western Front 1914-1918 - Family Tree book review

Family Tree Editor Helen Tovey reviews the extended 2nd edition of Peter Chasseaud's World War I book, Rats ...


Tracing Villains & Their Victims - Family Tree book review

Get to grips with genealogy records connected to crime with this new handbook for family historians, Tracing ...


3 top websites to find apprentice ancestors

Trying to find your ancestors who were apprenticed? Discover our 3 top websites & start exploring today. ...


Other Reviews in this category

3 top free websites for finding Royal Navy ancestors

Start researching your Royal Navy ancestors today with our guide to 3 of the best free websites for family ...


Rats Alley: Trench Names of the Western Front 1914-1918 - Family Tree book review

Family Tree Editor Helen Tovey reviews the extended 2nd edition of Peter Chasseaud's World War I book, Rats ...


Tracing Villains & Their Victims - Family Tree book review

Get to grips with genealogy records connected to crime with this new handbook for family historians, Tracing ...


3 top websites to find apprentice ancestors

Trying to find your ancestors who were apprenticed? Discover our 3 top websites & start exploring today. ...