Professional researchers find ancestors for free on a regular basis. Knowing where and how to look is vital to locating these free resources. An advantage they have over beginning genealogists is that they understand that you can find ancestors for free in offline sources as well as online. It’s tempting to think we can simply sit at our computers and complete our family history, but that is just not the case. Genealogical research involves locating original documentation so that information on your ancestors can be verified before entering it into your family tree. But professional researchers also have various traits that make them so adept at finding genealogical records. In this article we’ll focus on some of those characteristics that make them experts at finding ancestors for free.
It’s easy to feel like giving up after searching ancestors for weeks or months and coming up empty. Professional researchers however, know that the information they need to find ancestors for free may be just around the corner. They persevere in their research, taking care to not be frustrated by dead ends or other obstacles. If you can’t find your relative after searching all of the primary records you can think of, you can sometimes find ancestors for free in secondary records. The pros leave no stone unturned, as they know the tiniest bit of seemingly irrelevant info can lead you to those vital records you seek. Never give up in your genealogical search; take a break or trace a different relative for awhile, but always come back to that elusive ancestor. Perseverance is a valuable tool the professionals use to find ancestors for free.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
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Patience goes hand-in-hand with perseverance, but it is also an important attribute in itself if you wish to find ancestors for free. Research can be a painstaking process, and you can go days, weeks, months, even years without finding the ancestor you’re looking for. Professional family historians understand the value of being patient, as retrieving genealogical data is not always straight forward. An example would be; if your female relative was Scottish, you may become exasperated searching for her under her married name. In Scotland, married women traditionally kept their maiden names, so you would have to search married and maiden names to find these types of ancestors for free.
Another example would be if your ancestor was illegitimate. In such a case; Apprenticeship Records, Poor Law Records, Court and Legal Records, especially those of Church Courts may help you to find ancestors for free. The fact is that patience is a virtue when it comes to researching, but you’ll reap the rewards of its practice.
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It’s common for beginning genealogists to get caught up in the excitement of a search to find ancestors for free and "fire their arrows" in all directions. This type of searching may return some information on your ancestors, but the rewards will be temporary. The fact is, that by searching sporadically, you may find too much information too fast and become overwhelmed with recording it. It is best to take a focused approach to find ancestors for free, beginning with one or two (perhaps a couple) and acquiring all the information you can on them before moving on to the next. This type of orderly, focused investigation will ensure that you maximise the returns of your research, and accurately record any information you locate. This in turn will help you to find ancestors for free in other branches of your family.
We cannot guarantee that simply by applying these principles in your research that you will find ancestors for free. We can ensure you though, that you will greatly increase your chances of doing so. A genealogical search can be a long and sometimes lonely one. Another way to find ancestors for free is to liaise with other researchers. Join a genealogical society or an online forum, and don’t be embarrassed to ask others to help you to find ancestors for free. Both you, and them, will enjoy and benefit from the company!
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