How to Trace Your Ancestors

money There is a page on Facebook that is called “How to Trace Your Ancestors”. It seems to be designed to help new genealogists learn how to do some basic aspects of genealogy, how to get started, and what to do. A closer look at the links on the Facebook info page raise some questions about how good this really is for brand new genealogists.

Genealogy is a hobby that is growing in popularity. As such, there seem to be new genealogy websites popping up all over the place. It isn’t unusual for these types of websites to try and attract people who are brand new to genealogy. After all, many of these websites are designed to make a profit, in one way or another.

The problem is that a new genealogist might not know how to tell a useful genealogy resource from a rip-off. If you have no idea where to get started with your genealogy research, then you are probably unaware of what types of tools, resources, and search engines are available for free.

Here is an example of how to evaluate a genealogy website that you are unfamiliar with. Today, my husband sent me a link to an article he came across that talked about a brand new genealogy page on Facebook. The page is called “How to Trace Your Ancestors”.

I quickly read over the article, and it seemed to me that “How to Trace Your Ancestors” was a Facebook based website that was created by a genealogist named Stephanie McKenzie. There is a quote from her in the article that says that she has been a genealogist for 18 years, and wants to help people trace their ancestors. It describes some of the resources that the Facebook page has.

Next, I checked the Facebook page. It does have links to some useful, relevant, articles and resource websites that new genealogists may be unaware of. Specifically, I see a link to a website called “Behind the Name” that I have used to learn more about the meaning of the surnames of my relatives.

It is the other links that I find to be questionable. There is a link that is supposed to connect to the Family Tree University website, which it does. However, the content of the article that it was linked to says “Sorry. Error 404: Page Not Found”. Another link connects to a webpage called “How to Video Stuff”, which is chock full of advertisements.

What troubles me the most is a link that can be found in several places on this Facebook page. The link looks like it will take you to a website called “How to Trace Your Ancestors”. The link is in the “About” section at the side of the Facebook page, is listed three times on the “Info” page, and is attached to one of the articles that has been linked to on the Facebook wall.

When you click it, (they are all the same), it redirects you to a website called “Genealogy Beginner”. Suddenly, you are looking at an advertisement for a book called “Step by Step Genealogy Guide”. The book appears to have some genealogy charts inside it, (similar to ones that can be found for free on other websites).

The website gives you the option to pay by check, if you make the check out to “Chris Clegg”. Who is that? I don’t know, but it sure isn’t genealogist Stephanie McKenzie who I thought was running this new Facebook page! It is wise to evaluate what you are looking at before you try and send money to a genealogy website.

Image by Images_of_Money on Flickr