Thursday, January 12, 2012

Paid Online Genealogy Tools - Abundant Genealogy Week 2

I am a budget-conscious family historian on a budget. Paid genealogy sites don't fit into our budget, but they do fit into the budgets of our local library and our local Family History Center (FHC). (Click the link to find a location near you.) These organizations offer one or more paid online genealogy tools at no cost to their patrons.

When I began working on my family history in earnest I learned that our local FHC offered At the time, it was the only paid site the FHC offered and all databases were available. For a time was not available at any FHCs and now the Library Edition only is available. was my go-to site (as a beginner) for census records. Some newspapers, particularly several years of The Steubenville Herald-Star, were available and very helpful. The director of the FHC encouraged me to download the images I found. When I wondered aloud about the necessity of doing so he responded that things change and they might not always be available for free. He was right because it wasn't two years until was gone.

Now the FHCs offer many paid databases free of charge to their patrons. They include Access Newspaper Archives; Alexander Street Press, American Civil War; Library Edition; Find My Past; Fold3; Godfrey Memorial Library; World Vital Records; and others. Some larger FHCs which are open more hours offer access to more databases.

If you hesitate to go to a Family History Center because you're afraid you'll be bombarded with people trying to persuade you to join their church, not to worry. There is no proselyting at the FHCs.

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This post was written to participate in Amy Coffin's 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy which is hosted on Geneabloggers. The theme will change weekly and may be posted any day of the week. This week's theme was paid online genealogy tools. I invite you to join in if you'd like.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I really appreciate it. I have been fretting about how expensive is - and I mostly use it to research postcards and people who are unrelated to me. The Mormon Church is within walking distance. Thanks to you, I think I will do that instead.

  2. Christine, be sure you check the link for location in the post so you can find out what the hours are and the name of the contact person. All the FHCs are operated by volunteers but not all are equally conscientious about being there when they should. I think the link will give you name and phone number. If not, look in your local phone book under Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Under that there should be a listing for Family History Center. If not, call the bishop's office for the location where the building is. I also just found a separate listing for Family History Center in our phone book. I hope you have success in your searches!


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