Getting Started with Family History – Creating Accounts – Step 2

Anyone who has spent a bit of time doing family history can tell you that there are 100 websites you can search for information through. But knowing which ones to trust and use is the challenging part. I hope that my trial and error can help others get it right the first time.

This post is simply about creating accounts and where I suggest you start. In my previous post I expressed how important it is that you begin essentially with Roots Magic. I stand by this. Before creating any other accounts please make sure you have your Roots Magic program installed and that you are inputting all of your information there. If you follow my recommendation you shouldn’t need to input information more than just once!

But the other sites that I highly recommend creating accounts with are:

Family Search is one of the four essential programs I insist on using. Family Search allows you to link your Roots Magic files online and run searches and share data between the two. Family Search also allows you to search documents and certain files that have already been submitted online. For those who are LDS, all temple ordinances are updated through here but can still be reserved and requested through Roots Magic and Family Search. However, the information stored on Family Search/Tree for all those who are deceased is available to anyone who has an account and can be edited by anyone.

What is the different between Family Tree or Family Search?
Family Search is how you search for relatives and find information. Family Tree is where you store your personal family tree information and research other information outside of names. This is a very general definition. 🙂

My Heritage is an amazing resource, and though it can come with an annual subscription, it has many very useful and beneficial free features. You can sync your Family Search account to your My Heritage account, and by doing so you are essentially syncing it back to your Home base at Roots Magic. Yay!

My Heritage can do many searches to other websites like FindAGrave and BillionGraves by doing large searches on the family information you have already listed in Family Search. This saves you so much time, because if you already have it in Roots Magic, and your Family Search account is synced, all you have to do is review the information (which they set up for you) and the sources and information is updated for your relatives! (I will go into more detail on how to do this and the other many many benefits of My Heritage and the other sites in future posts).

This isn’t so much as a website but a tool to use. When you are documenting anything with family history, before you can know if you can rely on the information, you must first have a source. Dates can easily been misread and cities and locations change over decades; keeping track of documents and records as you go along is just as important to do as is finding them in the first place.

Record Seek allows you to link to your Family Search account, which again also links back to your Roots Magic account. (yay!) You simply go HERE and install the simple tab on your browser’s navigation bar. Then when you are on a webpage, any webpage, and you have information that you would like to link to your relative’s profile for genealogy purposes, just highlight what you want added, and select the button on your navigation bar. It pulls up a window where you confirm the information and select the relative in Family Search to link it to. Easy peasy. (More info about this tool later with a tutorial)

Almost everyone has heard of Ancestry.com and it is an amazing website. I was actually gifted a membership for my birthday (I loved it!) and within 30 minutes of being online I found a family line that we’ve been looking for the past several years. I found a total of 50+ relatives with a single document. Go me! Well, sorta.

Ancestry certainly has it’s perks but keep in mind that many sites have the access to these documents, in fact My Heritage has a lot of these same documents. So I would recommend selecting just one and using it. There are so many tools on each site as well that it can be tricky to know which one you like the most.

I suggest starting with one and rotating through to see which one fits your style and proves to be the most beneficial for you. Not to mention, soon many of these documents will be more readily available through Family Search for free; so you might just want to bide your time and visit the library a little more frequently rather than investing too much money in subscriptions.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

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