COVID-19 got you down? Me too! We’re quarantined at home but with internet access there is plenty to do in the Genealogy World. Here are some fee and free ideas & offerings:
- Have a Library Card? Your library building may be closed, but it’s open online. Check your local library online and see what digital resources they offer. During Covid-19, Ancestry has made its Library edition available remotely in some locations (this is usually only available onsite at the library). This means you may be able to login to your library’s portal, with your library card, and have FREE Ancestry.com at home for the next few weeks. Also, see what other databases your Library pays for. Here are some that might be of interest.
- Watch a free Family History webinar online. Here’s a list of free classes offered by FamilySearch this month. Also register for a free webinar at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Some of their past webinars are free to view, and others require membership (this site is one of my few paid memberships-it’s that good).
- Download a FREE ebook, “How to Save Your Life, One Chapter at a Time” by Tom and Allison Taylor between Friday, April 3rd and Sunday, April 5th 2020, if you’re able to donate any portion of the cost of the book savings to help first responders or medical professionals fighting Covid-19, they encourage you to do so (not required and not done through their site or download) Sign up for their newsletter while you’re at it!
- Create an Oral Family History ~ watch this 2 minute video from Deborah Porter of Moms Mentoring Circle and call up a relative and record some stories or get some questions answered.
- Research where your ancestors were during the 1918 Pandemic. Did it affect them? Here’s Bryan Mealer’s family experience. First, figure out which of your ancestors was alive during that Pandemic. Second, use a Census or other record to figure out where they were likely living. Third, search historic newspapers for mention of the Pandemic or your ancestors names or pull out old family papers & letters and see if they mentioned this event.
- Play with your DNA Matches. Haven’t tested? MyHeritage has a Stay at Home $39 DNA test offer through April 1st. If you’ve already tested, go to your testing site, look at your matches, and start learning how to use the provided tools to figure out how you and your matches are related. HINT: Building a tree at the site helps! Even a small tree. If you’ve tested at Ancestry, here are some tips for what to do with your DNA matches.
- Download GoogleEarth Pro (FREE) to your computer and look up addresses of your ancestors. See if you can find an existing structure they may have lived in back in the day. If you use the desktop version you can tag all their homes and save information on your computer for future use.
- Time for a Census – Try this Family Census 2020 created by Michael Dudley. Just print the Family Census Doc and interview yourself or a family member and curate some great family history facts! You can also go to File, then Make a Copy, and save a copy to your own Google Drive and fill in the details online. After taking the Family Census, I texted my siblings to figure out the address of our first family home growing up. Then I looked it up in Google Earth Pro.
- Still bored? Google some relatives/ancestors. I Googled a DNA match/cousin to figure out if she was still living (alas, she was not) and found an amazing article she’d published with several unknown generations of family tree research. Put the person’s name in quotation marks to limit results. So using Jane Doe, here are some good search options:
- “Jane Doe”
- “Doe, Jane”
- “Jane Doe” OR “Jane * Doe”
- Upload shareable ancestral photos or documents to Internet Archive. You can create a personal library at Internet Archive and share family history and genealogy documents. Here’s my personal library at Internet Archive. Anyone can see the photos I’ve stored at this site and it’s an easy place to upload photos for distant cousins to gain access.
- Have some digital files you’d like to share? Many photos are too large to send by email but you can use WeTransfer.com to send up to 2GB files for FREE.
This Pandemic has forced most of us into physical isolation but we can still find ways to connect with family and friends. Even connecting with our deceased ancestors is good for our mental health! Best with your genealogy and family history research and I hope this blogpost finds you healthy and safe!