To save money on genealogy requires a plan. Genealogy as a hobby or career can be expensive. In this article, we will discuss how to make the money you have work for you, and how to tap into discounts, scholarships, and grants. In short, this will make your genealogy dollars go farther!
10 Things Every Genealogist Wants
Before beginning any financial plan, you need to know what it is you want. Here is a list of 10 things a genealogist may want. When completing your own list, do not worry about the cost; just write down everything you need or want.
- Subscription to Ancestry.com
- Subscription to Fold3.com
- Subscription to MyHeritage.com
- Subscription to Findmypast.com
- Subscription to National Genealogical Society (NGS)
- Subscription to a local county & state historical/genealogical society
- Subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars
- Attend RootsTech
- Attend the NGS Family History Annual Conference
- Purchase a DNA test for yourself or family member
Now that you have completed your own list, take a look at it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Can any of these subscriptions or items be accessed from a local public library or Family History Center?
- Is there a discount or free subscription included in the subscription of one of these sites?
- Is there a scholarship or grant for any of these items?
- Is there a sale going on for any of these items?
Save Money on Genealogy: Use Your Resources
You may have resources you didn’t know you had. For example, at this time, all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can sign-up for a free Ancestry, Findmypast, and MyHeritage account. That’s right. Contracts were negotiated between FamilySearch and these companies to share the digitizing and indexing work, and in return, members of the LDS church were given access to these sites for free. If you are a member and have not yet accessed your free accounts, you can do so by clicking here.
Additionally, local Family History Centers are open to the public, regardless of your religious affiliation. These centers offer free access to patrons through what is called a Family History Portal for Ancestry, Findmypast, and MyHeritage as well. However, be aware, not all Family History Centers are the same. Some are “affiliate” centers and these do not have access to the Family History Portal. Be sure to call the local center to find out what kind of access they have. Only centers with the Family History Portal will have free access to Ancestry, Findmypast, and MyHeritage unless the library has their own subscriptions to these sites.
Did you also know that some public libraries give you access to premium sites from home? Yep! In some cases, you can login with your library card number and access sites like Ancestry, Newspapers.com, and others, right from home. Give your local library a call and find out if this is an option for you.
Next, be sure to keep up on the latest subscription perks. Not too long ago, the National Genealogical Society offered a free year subscription to Findmypast when you signed up as an NGS member. Currently, they are offering a 50% discount to Fold3.com, which is a great savings!
Members of the Ohio Genealogical Society recently learned about the free access to Findmypast granted to all members. This free access is only for the U.S. and Canada collections, however, if the OGS member decides to upgrade to the full Findmypast subscription, they will receive a 50% off discount! (Findmypast year subscription is normally $239.50, but with 50% off, you will pay $119.75.)
Be sure to contact your state genealogical societies to see what promotions and offers they have. You may be surprised!
Save Money on Genealogy by Finding Grants & Scholarships
I personally was the recipient of the NGS Home Study Course Scholarship in 2011. This $500 scholarship paid for the graded home study course in American Genealogy. How did I do it? I just filled out the application and wrote a little essay about why taking this class was important to me. [Note: At that time, the application asked what seminars and conferences I regularly attended. I didn’t go to anything…I was poor! But, I had spent countless hours watching free webinars at FamilySearch. I had written each one down and reported them as my genealogy education. And, read here to find out how $50.00 a year will make up for all the conferences you miss!]
The Genealogy FairyTM is a grant created by Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy and Abundant Genealogy. This grant provides individuals and organizations who are pursuing “worthwhile genealogy projects” with the money they need to accomplish their goals. What’s even better? The grant is awarded monthly! However, Thomas informed me this scholarship is on a temporary hiatus. Be sure to sign-up for the Abundant Genealogy newsletter to keep in touch with him and find out when the grant is being awarded again!
Find the Best Deals
There are sales and promotions going on all the time. For example, around Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, Fold3.com will often have free access to their military records. During St. Patrick’s Day, Findmypast might offer a few free days of Irish records or perhaps a hefty discount on a year subscription. And lastly, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas are just a few of the holidays that DNA kits are on sale. So, how do you know when these sales are going on? You just need to be linked into the genealogy community! Be sure to keep a watchful eye on and follow The Genealogy Reporter’s Facebook page for announcements. Follow us on Twitter @thegenreporter. Lastly, check out Genealogy Bargains.com for other discounts, offers, and more!
This article first appeared, in part, on the RootsBid.com blog in 2016.