Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When should you shell out money? Part 1

One of the first things you realize when you seriously start to sit down and trace out your tree is that it comes with an actual cost. It can vary from the cost of using the copier or microfilm printer at the library to flying out to Salt Lake City, the mecca of American Genealogy, or overseas to hit the archives in the old countries. What should you spend your money on?

While the blog title says master, I am really not. I thought that I would share some of the places that do get my money on a regular basis. The first place that gets money is in the purchase of genealogy software. It is essential that you have researched organized somewhere that does not look like a scratchpad used to figure out tax rates. While a notepad or a word processor works fine for awhile, the amount of information you will have will make it very hard to organize unless you are a database wizard and can design one yourself.

I use Legacy 7. It was free to try and cost $29.95 to get all the features unlocked such as report making and search help. The other big player in the software market is Family Tree Maker. FTM is done by the folks at Ancestry. It is something that I have used and did like, but the fact you could get Legacy as a download was important to me and what I was doing. It is a very good program, as is Family Tree Maker for that matter, and works great for editing your research and making reports.

The other routine purchase I make is my subscription to Ancestry.com. Since I started using my monthly subscription to the site, I have grown my tree by 500 names, from 700+ to over 1200. I have also ran into others that are working the same lines on their trees as me. Ancestry is not the "be all and end all site" as you really need to make your own judgments on what you find and how it fits in what you are looking for, but the sheer tonnage of data on the site will save you an incredible amount of time and you will be amazed by what you find. It is well worth every penny.

We'll get into the nickel and diming part next time.

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