Creating Your Family Tree

Creating a family tree is good way to visually sort out all the information you gather about how each member of your family is connected to each other.

Research with DNA Testing

You can amp up your efforts to trace your family tree by having your DNA tested, added to DNA databases, and joining DNA groups whose members might be distant relatives.

Discover Your Heritage

There are many resources you can use to discover your heritage. Learn about the online resources available and which is best for you and your family!

Purposes of Genealogy

There are abundant reasons to research your family's lineage and develop a full family history. Discover why you need to know more.

Hiring a Genealogist

People hire professional genealogists for a number of reasons. Whatever your reason is for hiring a professional genealogist, there are some things you should look for in doing so.

Find Ancestors Online

Genealogy is now easier than ever thanks to the World Wide Web.Thousands of websites exist covering any genealogical subject you can think of including family trees, transcribed records, and so much more! is an online resource that helps you create and research your family tree in a meaningful way.

Free Resources for Genealogy Research: Brand new genealogists, who are just starting out, have a ton of research ahead of them. How are you going to accomplish all this research, without spending a fortune to do it? One way is to start using genealogy resources that are free. Many genealogists enjoy using for their research. It is one of the most popular genealogy websites, and it has a vast amount of resources. Unfortunately, it isn’t a genealogy resource that is offered for free, (except for the temporary free membership). Genealogists who are on a budget may want to try a few free genealogy resources instead. FamilySearch is another very popular genealogy website, in part because it is free to use. This is the website that has a bunch of volunteers working on indexing the names from the 1940 United States Census data right now. They have tons of records, and are constantly adding resources to their website. Your local library might give you access to some free genealogy resources. Many libraries subscribe to HeritageQuest and/or World Vital Records, and allow genealogists who have library cards to access these websites from library computers. Some libraries also give free access to AncestryLibrary, which is a version of that is for in-library-use only. What does your local library have available? MyHeritage is another free to use online genealogy resource. It has access to records, and it will allow you to create a family tree on their website. The only problem I’ve had with this website is that many of it’s features are not accessible if you are using a Mac computer. If you are using a PC then you should be ok. Find A Grave is an excellent resource if you are trying to find a photo of the tombstone of one of your ancestors. There is the potential that some other genealogist uploaded a photo of it to this popular website. Many of the tombstones have been transcribed, which makes it easier for genealogists to read them. The National Archives is a great place to start if you are interested in searching for your ancestors in the data from the 1940 United States Census. In fact, it is the official 1940 Census website. This is the website that was so popular when it first launched that it caused a virtual traffic jam. Since then, the website has been updated and has become functional. It has a lot of information about the census, and some advice on how to search through it.

Important Tip: As you research your ancestors online, you may come across compiled genealogies that have been created by someone else. While these genealogies can be of great use, they should also be taken with a large grain of salt. Never take anything you find online (or in print, for that matter), that has been posted by another genealogist, as the ultimate truth. Always do your own research and verify any and all information you find. From

Fun Fact: Take a close look at the oldest family photos that you have. Or, walk into an antique store and browse through some really old photos. Why aren’t these people smiling? There are some really good reasons why they looked so serious in photos. Today, you can take your family to JC Penney, or Sears, or a number of other places, and have a family portrait taken. The photographer is going to encourage your family members to smile. You will probably be instructed to “Say cheese!” It is difficult to say the word “cheese” without smiling. It takes a second (or maybe less) for your family portrait to be taken. The photographer might use a computer to show you how the photo came out. If you don’t like it, another can be taken right away. It is no longer unusual to come home from this experience carrying a CD that has digital copies of the photos that were taken that day. When you look at the old family photos that were taken of your ancestors, you will notice many things that are different than the photos your family took for Christmas. The old photos are not in color. The people in the photos are not smiling. Instead, they look very serious and formal. Why? The answer has a lot to do with the technology of the time. Your ancestors were not able to walk into a photo studio, have a photo quickly taken, and leave a few minutes later with the photo in hand. It wasn’t as easy to take a family photo back in the days of your ancestors. In 1839, the daguerreotype required fifteen minutes for a photo to expose. The people in the photo had to remain still, refrain from talking (or sneezing), and wait. One small move could cause the image to be blurred. Photographers of the day figured out that many people cannot hold a smile on their face, without moving at all, for fifteen minutes straight. When their expression changed from smiling to a more formal expression it would result in an unclear image on the photo. Instead of telling people to smile for the photo photographers would instruct people to hold a serious expression and to stare blankly at the camera. You may have interpreted your ancestor’s serious expressions to mean that they were stuffy, dour, people. It turns out that the expression was required in order to have a successful photo taken. They might have been fun loving, and filled with laughter and love, when not sitting for a portrait. is an online resource that helps you create and research your family tree in a meaningful way.