From commercials on the TV to ads in my browser, I’ve seen a lot of websites and other services promises to teach me more about ancestors and reveal surprising facts about my family. When I finally decided to take on the task, I had to experiment to find the best.
1. Ancestral Quest
With this $30 app, I was able to get the most straightforward way to enter and track my genealogy. However, the visual layout isn’t necessarily spiffy, and newbies to family research might find the app a little intimidating. It did help me discover that I am actually a descendent of the Chickasaw people, a Native American tribe that is now located in Oklahoma. Although I’ve never lived in or been to the state, it was interesting to find out this information. I liked the additional information if you take the time to click the links.
Everyone’s heard of Ancestry.com, so I didn’t hesitate to try the app from this service, even though it’s not free. I paid $35 per month, but you don’t have to pay if you just want to build your family tree and don’t need help finding information about it. If your ancestors are listed in any census surveys, obituaries or military records like mine were, this app makes them easier to find. However, you might not find it as useful if your family members aren’t in public records.
3. Family Tree Maker
This program isn’t for your mobile device, but it works on your Mac or PC. Family Tree Maker was useful because the company works with Ancestory.com, so I could look up all my family’s information. When I installed the software to my computer, I was also able to make my own tree without having to go to Ancestry.com. The program and site work closely together, however, so it’s beneficial if you already have an account with the website. Family Tree Maker costs $40 for Windows users, but Mac owners will have to pay the higher price of $70.
4. Legacy Family Tree Deluxe
This tool is a little easier on the wallet at $30. It seems like it would have helped me more if I was a more practiced family historian, but I can definitely see its use. The Windows-only program helps you record every little detail about your own family, while lists help you keep track of the research you’d like to do in the future.
5. Family Tree Magazine
This app for iOS devices won’t necessarily find your family for you, but it does offer advice for the project. The periodical offers 28 years worth of expert advice for even the most novice researcher. The tips and tricks make easy work of finding extended family members. Each issue of Family Tree Magazine includes articles from experts and reputable sites. The app has news about events, reviews of resources and Q&As. Monthly issues costs $5.99, or you can purchase six months for $28.99.
Sometimes a specific app won’t help you in your quest, though. For those times, you can rely on other resources. This is especially true if you’re looking for information about your Chickasaw or Native American ancestors. Many tribes have their own genealogy resources or websites You can also try Archives.gov or DOI.gov to learn the tricks of finding out more information about your family history. The National Indian Law Library also has some fantastic resources that helped me on my way.