Assignment #4: Wild Card

Genealogy Sites


In August, I joined Ancestry.com to build a family tree and perhaps learn more about my family history.  My maiden name was McGlone (my father's name).  My Grandmother's family is Walker. I didn't know anything about my mother's side of the family because she was adopted.  My sister-in-law does a lot of genealogy research for her family history (the Lanoues and DeMoranvilles), so she gave me the idea.  She has traveled to Ireland, the UK, and all around the U.S. to do research. Recently she went to Utah, where they have a lot of genealogy information.



I had always been told that my grandmother kept a lot of genealogy research, but when I contacted the cousin that supposedly had all of this research, there was very little. She sent me a very short, hard-to-read family tree. It was only my grandmother's side and nothing else.  That's when I decided to go to Ancestry and build a family tree.  Later on, I had my DNA tested as well. I've been discovering some amazing things.  However, it does take some money and a lot of time to really do research. I haven't had much time to spend on it yet. I hope to do that once this semester is over.

Ancestry is just one of many sites where you can research your ancestry online. To do really in-depth research, however, you would need to travel to various places and talk to real people, face-to-face, or pay a company to do the research for you.  Most people aren't interested in doing all that.



There are many online genealogy sites listed here.  Ancestry is the largest of the for-profit genealogy databases. It was started by a couple of Mormon guys in Utah in 1990. They also bought FindaGrave.com and RootsWeb, and started newspapers.com  These are all valuable research sites.



Ancestry has the largest genealogy database. The DNA tests cost $99, but they frequently have them on sale for $59. Some libraries will pay for you to get your genealogy tested. It's $45 to join, but you can get it for free via a library. You can find many great genealogy sources for free in the library, in fact.


Some families keep long genealogies for many years (as my mother-in-law's family has done), but there may still be gaps or interesting facts to find.  Some want to know if they're related to someone wealthy or famous, and whether they have any money owed to them.  This type of research has been done for years to fight for inheritances.  Many people started researching their family history in the 1970's after the airing of the TV miniseries "Roots."  That was based on a book by Alex Haley, who had traced his family history back to Africa in the 1800's.  The internet, of course, has made this much easier. According to Time Magazine, genealogy research sites are the second most popular web site that people visit, as well as the second biggest hobby in the U.S.


Those of us who live in the U.S. probably do more genealogy research than those in other countries because most of our ancestors came from somewhere else just 100-300 years ago.  If you get your DNA tested, it can determine which parts of the world your ancestors came from. If you register with one of these sites, you can find cousins, other relatives, and more information about your ancestors. You might find surprising information about your lineage.  For instance, I found out that I am 28% European Jewish ancestry, which is exciting.


Here are the other good genealogy sites where you can get your DNA tested. Those who run this site have done extensive research and list many pros and cons. This site gives you a chart for a side-by-side comparison. This great New York Times article gives you the pros and cons of the DNA testing.


23andme is a good DNA testing service.   Their DNA tests are more for health testing than for genealogy. 23andme is expensive, and you must get your DNA tested before joining. It's the same for the sites LivingDNA, HomeDNA and FamilyTreeDNA



MyHeritage has the largest database of people outside of the U.S.  Their fee to join is usually $79, but right now it's on sale for $39. This company lets you upload information from other companies as well, which is convenient.

 

ThoughtCo has many great genealogy resources that you can use for research. 

Afrigeaneas is for those of African descent to do research and talk to others about it.

Archives gives you access to many newspapers, census date and more, which you could already get at Ancestry.com  It has a free trial, and then it's $9.99 for each month after that.  It's a good resources for both Americans and Europeans.
 


Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a very useful resource for figuring out where you or your ancestor might have lived in a particular area.

There are many more useful links on this genealogy list.

You may not care about your family history, especially if you're a younger person. I never really did until recently. Here are many reasons why you might want to research your family history.


Your family's history may be more interesting than you think. Wouldn't you want to know if your great-great grandmother had a scandalous history in Britain, or that your great-uncle was a famous cricket player in India? Don't you want to know if half the people in your family have a history of cancer, or diabetes, or stroke?  Wouldn't you like to know if you have a lot of Native American, African or Latino ethnicity in your family that you didn't know about? It might help you get a scholarship.

If you have some free time and a little money, you can find out many interesting things about yourself and your family, and possibly meet many cousins that you didn't know you had.  My only advice is to make sure you have plenty of time to do the research because it can take you a while and lead you "down the rabbit hole," as I found out.



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