Friday, January 13, 2012

Abundant Genealogy, Week 2 - Paid Genealogy Tools

Following along on Amy Coffin's Abundant Genealogy series, this week is all about paid genealogy tools.  Well, I have limited experience here.  I've referred here previously to my free genealogy "basic training" class, provided by Ann Winkler at the Harford County Public Libary.  Like Ann herself, the training was wonderful, fun, informative.  I'd even say it was all-encompassing, as Ann gave me a thick packet of resources and forms to utilize in my search.  And she stressed the many resources that are available at no cost.  Gotta love that! 

But, as I have also mentioned here, I got started in genealogy because of a paid research tool--a gift subscription to  Hence the limited experience.  So far, is one of two paid research tools I have utilized.  Because it's so comprehensive, I'm sure will be a favorite among genealogists.  It's kind of like one-stop shopping, and who doesn't appreciate that.  I certainly do. 

But for all that it shares, and for all it's limitations, I like because it has gotten the family talking.  Yes.  Now I ask questions that go beyond the old "Seen any good movies lately?" 

A brief example:  in talking with my uncle, I learned my grandmother's wedding anniversary (March 2, same as his!).  He told me where and how my grandparents met (around 1918, at a dance in the Baltimore City Recreation Pier, a building that later served as the police station on the award-winning television drama Homicide: Life on the Streets) and about their life together as newlyweds (stories too numerous for here and now).  As a kid, I would never have thought to ask Grandma those questions; once I did, it was too late. 

An old photo of Baltimore City Recreation Pier,
where it all began for my paternal grandparents!
Photo from

The same holds true for my hubby.  He got into searching his roots after witnessing my immediate, though introductory, results on Ancestry.  Those dancing green leaves amazed him.  His work goes back several generations.  He's discovered that the roots are not as deep in Wales as was believed; a grandfather many generations back is from, ...gasp..Ireland!  We smile at that revelation!  But it's gotten his family talking as well.  He and his Dad now converse about much more than the latest Premier League scores. 

For example, during our 2011 visit to World War One sites, his Dad shared important family memories. We are looking forward to talking more, learning more, going to family cemeteries and other places when we visit Wales in the spring.

The other paid research tool I've used (and this was also a gift, now that I think about it) is DNA testing, though I don't know how much that will help in my research.  I'm still waiting for my results from the Genographic Project. 

So, there we have it, these are my paid research tools.  That is, of course, if you don't include paying for copies at the Archives or historical society!  I do drop a lot of coin there!

No comments:

Post a Comment