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How to trace my family history online for free

Updated April 17, 2017

We all have a family history, and uncovering that history can offer insight into where we come from and who we are. For anyone who has ever been interested in knowing about their ancestors, the Internet offers a multitude of resources. Numerous websites offer frequently updated tools and information for users interested in their family history. Some family history sites charge fees, but by taking the time to research the options and adequately prepare, a copious amount of family tree research can be performed without ever needing to pay for a website's services.

Discuss your desire to learn about family history with other relatives. By doing this, you may gain necessary information needed for accurate research, such as names and countries of origin, making the online research process more successful.

Record your findings. Whether you use a notebook to write down information, create a word processing document or use a website offering free family tree templates, you will need to be ready to creates records of your family history. Numerous websites, such as Uftree.com and FamilyTreeTemplates.net, offer templates that can be downloaded and printed (see Resources).

Visit free family history websites. Many websites, including FamilySearch.org and SearchforAncestors.com, offer free family tree searches. Even pay websites, like Ancestry.com and Genealogy Today offer free trials. Ancestry.com sponsors RootsWeb, a free community for people interested in their family history, offering links to messages boards, user databases and other free resources.

Access past census records. A great deal of information can be obtained about family history through the extensive government census records that have been gathered. CensusFinder.com and The USGenWeb Project offer free access to census records for research.

Tip

Visit multiple family history websites, in order to cross-check information and receive a more complete picture of your family tree.

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About the Author

Ross Lane began writing in 2009 with work published on the website GameObserver. He is a communication instructor at Boise State University and he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in communication and journalism from Boise State.