Online Genealogy Services: all offer free trials

  • Ancestry.com is the largest private online genealogy service. It allows users to create virtual family trees to trace their lineage and get "hints" about who else could be their ancestors. It also contains historical records that can be connected to family members and used as genealogical evidence. Some of the features of Ancestry.com requires a paid subscription and some features are free.  Cost $40/month or about $300/year (depending on sales, etc.)
    • Free – create virtual family tree to record findings
    • Free – view more than 600 free tutorial videos
    • Paid – search historical records
    • Paid – get hints about ancestors


  • Familysearch.org is nonprofit organization and website offering genealogical records, education, and software. It is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). FamilySearch maintains a collection of records, resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family history. It offers free access to its resources and service online at FamilySearch.org, one of the most heavily used genealogy sites on the Internet.  In addition, FamilySearch offers personal assistance at more than 5,100 family history centers in 140 countries, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shared information – no private data. Transcriptions can be incomplete.


  • FindMyPast.com   is a UK-based paid online genealogy service owned, since 2007, by British company DC Thomson. The website hosts over 4 billion searchable records of census, directory and historical record information. It originated in 1965 when a group of genealogists formed a group named "Title Research". The first internet website went live in 2003. British & Irish info only. $179/year.


  • MyHeritage.com is a paid online genealogy platform with web, mobile, and software products and services that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company MyHeritage in 2003. Users of the platform can create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search through over 9 billion historical records, among other features. As of 2018, the service supported 42 languages and had around 92 million users worldwide. Its records are particularly valuable for continental European records. About $199/year.


Free Online Learning Tools for Genealogists


  • Genealogist Constance Knox is a professional genealogist who hosts a series of free educational videos at genealogyTV.org. You can find her series of videos especially designed for beginners here: https://genealogytv.org/beginners-start-here/



  • GENUKI is a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers:  https://GENUKI.org.uk

Paid Learning Tools for Genealogists


Free Photographic Resources

  • Geograph.org.uk – Search for photos of every tiny corner of UK. Search by map view or by name.
  • Flickr.com – Search for photos by place name


Genealogical Resources in Pittsburgh and US


Genealogical Resources in the UK      

UK National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive for England and Wales as well as for the UK Government. It holds over 1000 years worth of national documents. Records are held in Kew, West London and in Yorkshire. Most records have to be physically consulted in the reading room at Kew. However, some records are available online on the website on a pay per view basis. It is well worth exploring the website as there are lots of useful resources such as tutorials, guides and videos.

https:// http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales is situated in Aberystwyth looking out over Cardigan Bay. Because the National Library is a legal deposit library, they have the right to a copy of every publication printed in Britain and Ireland. Their collections include film, video, books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, art, photographs, sound. You can search these collections online. Some collections have been digitized and can be viewed online.



Scotland’s Places

A Scottish government site that is often overlooked by researchers with Scottish ancestry. The records are free. Probably the most useful to the family historian are the tax records which include delights such as the Clock and Watch Tax Rolls.



Scotland’s People

The Scotlands People is the official government resource for family history research, providing access to Scottish birth, death, marriage and census records and more. Access to the online database is free. There is a charge to obtain individual records.



Genealogy Groups in Pittsburgh

North Hills Genealogists

Meetings are on the third Monday of every month except December, starting at 7pm. All meetings are free and open to the public. A "roundtable discussion" is periodically scheduled instead of a lecture, giving each person a chance to ask questions or to tell of a great research breakthrough. The monthly meetings each feature a guest speaker addressing the group on a subject related to genealogy.  While normally held on the LaRoche University campus, due to Covid, they are being held via ZOOM.

The next Meeting is September 21st and features Maureen Taylor.

The fall conference on October 31st features Blaine Bettinger speaking on a variety of DNA-related topics.

Membership dues are $15 year (August through July) and include 10 monthly newsletters per year.



Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society

WPGS is an educational organization of amateur and professional family historians and genealogists, dedicated to the study and preservation of family history in the 26-county Western Pennsylvania area. The WPGS collection library is in the Pennsylvania Dept room of the Carnegie Library in Oakland.

The library is staffed by volunteers who are available to assist patrons with limited genealogical research within the scope of the WPGS collection and resources.  Membership is $25./year and includes a newsletter and many other benefits.



Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)

GRIP is a week-long, hands-on institute offering several courses simultaneously for all levels of genealogists, taught by the top instructors in the field. In 2021, 18 courses will be offered in two different weeks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In 2020, GRIP moved online offering classes over Zoom. Summer Camp for Genealogists is fun and educational, especially when shared with friends.



Other Genealogical Groups

International Society for British Genealogy and Family History

Membership in the ISBGFH is for anyone who is researching their British or Irish ancestry.

Their British Institute offers a week of total immersion into British research topics.  Held annually in the fall at Salt Lake City, Utah, British Institute courses are designed to help develop your research skills in British and Irish records. With instructors there to guide you throughout the day, classes are held each morning followed by a full afternoon at the Family History Library, utilizing their outstanding British collections and applying the research techniques and analytical skills learned in your Institute class.

Their quarterly journal, British Connections, contains informative articles, news, website links, and queries.



National Genealogical Society

The National Genealogical Society will help you get started building you family tree, offers courses, and has an annual national conference.


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