I’m sure that every genealogist has come to the same conclusion: genealogy can be expensive.
1. Software fee: So that you can have all that cool software to organize all of the family history nuggets you collect or have the privilege of searching internet research sites…not to actually get documents mind you…just to search.
2. Document fees: Heaven forfend someone isn’t making money off of birth, death, and marriage records. And woe betide you if you are trying to riddle out the mystery of someone’s adoption no matter how long they’ve been dead. Someone remind me to tell you that story some other time.
3. Travel Expenses: I’m sure I’m not the only person driving all over hell’s half acre taking pictures of headstones, having cozy sitdowns with elder family members and piquing their brains, and visiting local courthouses in the hunt for documentation.
I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are the major things that popped into my mind. Regardless, it is a rare and wonderful thing when you find a site or a source that is absolutely free. And, I have stumbled across just such a thing. If you have not already checked out these possibilities, I highly recommend them.
When I first started working on genealogy, I actually went to the library because that’s what everyone told me I was supposed to do. I only went the one time. Why? Because when I asked the librarian about possible resources for genealogy, she looked at me like I was some sort of heroine addict. She led me over to a computer console, typed in the word genealogy and then walked away as though the list of books that popped up (most of which were not available, might I add) should be self explanatory. *sigh* I never went back.
Instead, I went online. Lot’s of libraries have fabulous obituary collections. And, they are absolutely free. I’m sure not everyone is from the state of Ohio like me, but the Cleveland Public Library has a fantastic resource that they call The Cleveland Necrology File. They give you the full text of the obituaries and it has helped me enormously with my husband’s family, who have been difficult to find in other ways. Here’s the link in case you happen to have family members who died in Cleveland.
My Uncle Floyd turned me on to this. Many counties have their own genealogy sites. The genealogy site that I use the most is the Coshocton County Genealogy page because…well…that’s where my mother’s family is from! It’s a really awesome page. It has obituaries, cemeteries, schools, historical information about the area, county census records, and all kinds of fabulous little gems. Obviously, different county genealogy pages are going to vary in what they offer but they are completely worth checking out. Just in case you are from the Coshocton area or have family from that area, here’s the site.
Religious Sites: The Mormon’s especially have provided me with some awesome free documentation. The name of their page is familysearch.org, and it is a gold mine! Seriously. Why aren’t you opening another window right now and checking it out? It has birth records, death records, marriage records, census records, and all kinds of other fabulous finds. It has an easy to use search engine and you never pay one dime for any of it. The day that I discovered it was a magical day in the life of Carolyn. I’m sorry to all other religions. I’m not trying to leave you out. It just so happens that the Mormons have it on this one. Here’s the site!
This is another fabulous thing. I literally happened upon it when I was searching for something else. It’s called findagrave.com. It’s free. They don’t send you thousands of spams a day. They don’t sell your info to porn sites. They just give you access to pictures of thousands of graves globe wide. Individuals like you and me contribute pictures and burial information to the site. There are folks on there whose sole goal in life is to wander the country taking pictures of tombstones and to them I am eternally grateful. Of course, while the site is free, they do welcome your support in the form of findagrave.com paraphernalia purchases. Still, here is the link!
Well folks, that about sums it up! I really hope that you find all of this to be helpful in your continued search for long lost relatives. Please keep in mind that I am not working for, payed by, or in any way compensated for including the sites that I have. I just happen to love these resources and wanted to share the wealth with my fellow hunters.