Finding Ancestors On A Budget

This time of year ads on tv are filled with sales on toys, home products, and ancestry, especially DNA kits (which are currently on sale until the end of the year). is a wonderful place to find your long, lost family. But did you know you can do the same thing for free? is a website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where you can sign up for a free account and make many of the same discoveries you’d pay for elsewhere.

There is one major difference between Ancestry and FamilySearch. On Ancestry you have your own tree to do with as you like. It’s yours and no one else can mess with it without your permission. FamilySearch has ONE universal tree that everyone contributes to.

There are pros and cons to having one tree. The pros include inputting just a little information and finding your tree is already built out to 8 or 10 generations. Just because it’s there, however, doesn’t mean it’s correct. Once you find your ancestors on the FamilySearch tree check to see if credible sources are attached to them. It’s quite possible you don’t have to do much work at all to see who’s in your family.

The major “con” is you can add information to an ancestor’s profile and if someone else thinks it’s wrong they can change it…without asking you. That is the most frustrating part, but again it’s FREE.

This week I was messing around with some of their activities found on the menu bar. When I clicked on Famous Relatives, I couldn’t believe I was related to 22 presidents, 2 Mayflower passengers, and other incredible people. Now again, I would have to do the research to make sure this was correct, but what a fun project! I’ve always known my husband was a Mayflower descendant, but I may be one too. The new year will be filled with many hours trying to prove this Mayflower lineage.

Leaders I'm related to
Trailblazers I'm related to.

One last reason to visit FamilySearch is the opportunity to register for RootsTech 2023. RootsTech is a family history conference held each year in Salt Lake City, Utah. I went in person in 2019 and had a ball.

Picture of the RootsTech sign in Salt Lake City...from 2019.

During Covid, it was a virtual conference, but this year classes are being given both virtually and in person. To register for RootsTech 2023 go to this link… . It’s being held March 2-4, 2023, and is free if you sign up for the virtual option.

If you haven’t already created your own account at FamilySearch, what are you waiting for? It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s FREE.

Genealogy tip: There are so many databases and subscription sites to join, but don’t forget about the ones that offer amazing information at no cost to you.

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