No, You DON’T Need a Paid Subscription to Do Genealogy Research
If you have been doing family history research for a while, you are probably fully aware of the fact that there are many free genealogy sites available to you. But for those that are just starting out, it can be very hard to see past the well-promoted paid subscription sites and many people become frustrated when trying to locate records and resources that are actually free.
While paid genealogy websites do offer many excellent resources for family historians, and sometimes provide records that you will have a hard time finding elsewhere, you do not need one of these subscriptions to build a family tree.
In fact, restricting yourself to paid sites means that you will miss a huge number of records available elsewhere. So whether you are having a hard time affording a paid option, or are simply looking to expand your research in new directions, the following resources will help you explore your family’s history at no cost to you.
Genealogy Research Sites That Do Not Require a Paid Subscription
At Genealogy-Research, we have spent a great deal of time researching and sharing genealogy sites that don’t require a paid subscription — and there are many. From databases focused on a specific research topic or location, to large organizational and governmental sites with millions of records, there are an increasing number of options.
Here are just a few of the articles we have created on Genealogy-Research that share these free resources. You’ll find sites in these articles that contain birth, marriage and death records, newspaper articles, family books, land and military records, church records, censuses and much more.
We have very carefully researched all of these sites to make sure that they offer all, or nearly all, of their resources without a paid subscription or free trial.
Using Your Local Library to Access Genealogy Records
In addition to the many research sites now available at no cost, your local library is a wonderful resource for accessing paid genealogy records for free. Not only do many libraries provide access to large paid databases on site– more and more are now also offering this free access online to card holders.
Read this article on using your local library to gain access to paid subscription sites for help on how to find and access these options.
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Taking Advantage of a Local FamilySearch Center in Your Area
While we’re talking about accessing resources locally, we don’t want to forget to mention FamilySearch Centers. There are thousands of them across the US and the world and they provide free, easy access to most records from the massive Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
The process to request and view records locally is actually fairly simple and we have written a step by step how-to on the process here.
Using Online Libraries to Find Free Genealogy Records
Sites like the Digital Public Library of America or HathiTrust are not to be missed resources for family historians. Both of these online libraries provide search boxes for locating a wide variety of free records offered by local historical societies, libraries and other repositories online. These online libraries make the job of searching through many repositories at one time simple, even allowing you to search for records by a person’s name.
You can read our how-to on the DPLA for genealogy here and our breakdown of Hathitrust here.
Using Google to Find New Free Resources
While the above resources will provided you with a seemingly endless assortment of genealogy records without a paid subscription, it is also important to know how to locate additional repositories and collections online. In our article on Google for genealogy, we have laid out 6 tricks that will help you refine your searches and increase your chances of locating the family information you’re looking for.
Happy FREE Searching!
By Melanie Mayo, Genealogy-Research Editor
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