FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

Genealogists – Deal of the Year Revisited

In October 2007, I wrote about the ‘Deal of the Year’ that involved a one-year subscription to Ancestry as part of a Family Tree Maker software bundle.

Well, one of my friends has found a similar deal again. She said to check out the latest offering of the Family Tree Maker 16 Standard edition that includes a six-month subscription to Ancestry. I looked at the package and it looks like we have another ‘Deal of the Year’ at $10.49.

I’ve shortened the URL to the site to save you typing a long string of letters and numbers. http://tinyurl.com/6b3qbf

What is in the package?

The genealogy software is Family Tree Maker 16 Standard Edition. The rest of the package is as follows:

  • 6 Month Subscription to Ancestry.com
    The world’s largest collection of family history information, Ancestry.com is the ultimate resource for genealogy research. Features access to over 5 billion names, current and historical world images, records and much more. (Up to $180.00 Value!)
  • New! Official Family Tree Newsletter
    This monthly newsletter contains tips and tricks to create one-of-a-kind family tree projects.
  • Concise Genealogy Dictionary
    This specialized dictionary is a time-saving, essential quick-reference source geared to the needs of he genealogist who frequently encounters unfamiliar and obsolete terms while reading historical documents. ($14 Value!)
  • Official Family Tree Training DVD
    Master the basics as the experts take you on a video guided tour through Family Tree Maker’s key features. When you are done you will be able to share your information with other researchers through beautiful charts, heirloom quality books and a free homepage on the Internet. ($15 Value!)
  • Family Tree Workbook
    An all-in-one teaching and recording tool for novice genealogists who need clear, easy-to-follow instructions and quick results. ($20 Value!)
  • 30 Minute Genealogy Consultation
    Still have questions? Get quick and easy answers in minutes. A life expert genealogist is just a phone call away. ($60 Value!)
  • No, I don’t have a tie to either Ancestry or the seller, but know that any relief in the prices associated with our Family History obsession is always welcome.

    If you don’t use Family Tree Maker, that is ok. I don’t either. However, almost all of us can use and inexpensive subscription to Ancestry.

    I don’t know how many copies of the package are left, so if you have interest, you’ll want to look at the package soon.

    Flash Update: I’ve just been told that if you enter coupon code qwr2xy29, you’ll get an additional $1.00 off the price.

    Smokin’ !

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    10 May 2008 Posted by | Ancestry | , | 1 Comment

    Data Mining and PJ’s

    I’ve spent several evenings reading through the Revolutionary War pension application and supporting documents of my 4th great grandfather, Abiel Chandler this week. I originally ordered the documents from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) several years ago and dutifully logged them into my Clooz records database, put them in acid-free sleeves and then filed them in a storage binder. Unfortunately, even though I’d read the data in the pension documents, I must have become temporarily addled, because I hadn’t transcribed the family history related info they contain into my records.

    One of grandpa’s letters included the names, ages and occupations of his family members as well as their health conditions. This is great information! Why didn’t I extract it earlier? I think all of us are guilty of slipups like this. I often teach folks to spend part of their research time doing ‘data-mining’ in the records they already have in their possession.

    For some reason, we tend to become excited over finding a fact in a document and often leave nuggets lying on the floor as we hasten to record the new factual treasure. Our minds say, “I’ve recorded the information from that document” and we promptly file it away in an acid-free sleeve in an archival binder where it hands in the dark for months or years without seeing the light of day again.

    What prompted me to look for my filed copies of Abiel Chandler’s pension application again? I happened to be looking for something else on Footnote.com and while there saw the title of Revolutionary War Pensions listed and decided to go spelunking in that data cave. After searching for the records of several other ancestors who also fought in the Revolutionary War, I remembered grandpa Abiel and searched for his records.

    There they were and they were much more readable than the photocopies I’d received from NARA years ago. I saved all 28 of them to my local machine and printed them out again. Obviously, I wanted the digital copies and new easier to read hard copies for my files.

    While still logged in to Footnote, I wrote a story page that included all of Abiel’s pension documents as well as four military pay receipts for him that were on the site. The story thus far is about ‘found’ data in records I already owned. Once again, I thought of the ease that I’d enjoyed finding Abiel’s records online. It was after midnight, while listening to some smooth jazz, in my PJ’s, drinking egg nog at home. Nice!

    If I’d ordered the same packet from NARA, the cost is $25 for the packet plus $15 for the handling and I’m sure I’m missing some costs now that NARA has substantially increased their fees. My cost for all the records on Footnote was an annual subscription of $59.95 (sometimes less if you watch the site for specials). Additionally, I’ve found Revolutionary War pension files for other ancestors on Footnote that I would have ordered a copy from NARA a year ago. Add the other records on the site that pertain to my ancestors, and the subscription price is a steal.

    The same is true for subscriptions to Ancestry, World Vital Records, and other similar sites. Do a free search on these subscription sites and see if you find records that pertain to your family. Calculate the cost to obtain the same data from the Family History Library or a library near you and then determine how quickly the expense of visiting the libraries eclipses a subscription to an online research site. If you are like me, the answer is one trip to the library and unlike the subscription website, when my day is over at the library, so are my research discoveries from their records. However, the subscriptions last all year long and I don’t have to fight the traffic on I-15.

    Smooth Jazz, PJ’s, egg nog. My family history research life is great!

    Happy Holidays! Tell your sweetheart you want a research site subscription for Christmas!

    29 November 2007 Posted by | Ancestry | 1 Comment

    To Subscribe or Not To Subscribe…

    I’ve looked at several family history related pay sites for several weeks trying to decide if signing up for ‘just one more subscription’ was worth the investment. I’ve been a subscriber to Ancestry since the site was launched and also have subscriptions to other research sites. Did I want to subscribe to another one because I have a weakness for them or is there really some benefit to having multiple memberships?

    The answer in my case is yes, it is worth having the multiple accounts. Especially since my two-year membership to World Vital Records only cost $39.95 as a special offer for users of Progeny Software. I added my super deal subscription to Ancestry that only cost me $16.95 when I purchased Family Tree Maker version 16 and decided, that “hey, this is letting me do a lot of research without the cost and hassle of traveling to a library”.

    A year subscription to the worldwide records on Ancestry and World Vital Records for less than $40 is good news isn’t it? Well, let’s seehow good the news really is. I live about 35 miles from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My vehicle gets around 30 MPG on the freeway, if the freeway isn’t a parking lot and if I keep my lead foot flat on the floor rather than on the ‘go’ pedal. The price of gasoline at my nearby gas station was $2.99 a gallon this week. The round trip to the Family History Library is 70 miles or 2 and 1/3 gallons of gas which equates to $7.00 for fuel. Is that the real cost to visit the library?

    The Federal Government tells us that it costs us 48.5 cents per mile to drive our car anywhere. This figure is supposed to cover all the costs associated with the vehicle; purchase price, maintenance, taxes, licensing, insurance, fuel, etc. Is that all it really costs me to drive a mile? In my case maybe it is because my vehicle is pretty old and was paid for the year that I purchased it, but when I have to purchase a new vehicle that figure certainly won’t be true. It will cost a lot more to drive a mile regardless of what accountants at the IRS tell me. I pay the bills and know how much it costs.

    Unfortunately we don’t use my vehicle strictly for service to a charitable organization, because it only costs 14 cents a mile to drive those miles according to the IRS. Maybe the church will ask me to drive to work every day and around the area constantly, so my operational costs will go down.

    If I calculate my driving costs using the IRS figure, the trip to the Family History Library is $33.95 for a round trip! Add parking and the inevitable lunch from the vending machines to the cost of the visit and I easily spend $40+ per visit.

    Hmmm…. $40 per visit to Salt Lake or $40 for a year subscription to two huge resource sites. I think I made the right choice for my $40 expenditure.

    You can’t beat the resources available at the Family History Library, but then you can’t do research in your PJ’s eating popcorn there either.

    I shopped around and got super deals on my subscriptions. Even at the full subscription prices, you don’t have to make many trips to a library to offset the cost of an annual subscription. We are all going to spend our research bucks on trips to cemeteries, interviewing relatives, purchasing birth, marriage and death certificates and ‘cool’ family history software, but we all need to consider purchasing research site subscriptions first.

    You’ll have to decide what gives you the most bang for your research buck. You know you’ll eventually visit the FHL or another local library, (we all visit Disneyland at least once), but for much of your daily research, a subscription to Ancestry, Footnote and World Vital Records provides a ton of records at your finger tips at home any time any day you have a few minutes free.

    14 November 2007 Posted by | Ancestry | 2 Comments

    Genealogists – Deal of the Year

    Here’s a deal that won’t be around long and is too good to not pass on to you…

    Ancestry.com is selling their Family Tree Maker software for a very discounted price. The ‘deal’ part of the offer is that you get a one-year subscription to Ancestry with the purchase. I think this means that the subscription is to the most expensive “World Deluxe” offering which costs $24.95 a month if paid annually. Even if it is for the U.S. subscription; that cost is $12.95 a month if paid annually.

    I personally don’t care for Family Tree Maker and will probably toss the unopened box to get the subscription. Who cares you say? Well, here’s the “But Wait, There’s More” part of the deal….

    You additionally get other very valuable software with the package, but first, remember — ANCESTRY.COM- 1 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION FOR $15.49!

    Click on this link to access the deal.

    Here is what you get for less than $16:

    • Family Tree Maker v.16 ($100 value)
    • A one year subscription to Ancestry.com ($360 value)
    • Concise Genealogical Dictionary ($14 value)
    • Ancestry Reference Library CD-ROM ($50 value)
    • Family Tree Workbook ($20 value)
    • A copy of GenSmarts ($25 value)
    • Historical maps collection DVD
    • A 30 minute consultation from Ancestry

    My suggestion on this offer? Jump on it like a duck on a June bug. ASAP – before the offer ends. Word will get out and the shelves will empty quickly. (BTW… I don’t have any affiliation with the vendor in any way).

    How did the old commercial go? …. “Try it Mikey!” “You’ll like it!”

    Update: 9 Oct 2007

    I hope folks were able to get a copy before the vendor realized they had a ‘hot’ selling item. They have increased the price to $29.95 as of 9 Oct.

    It is still a good price when you take into consideration the year subscription to Ancestry.

    6 October 2007 Posted by | Ancestry | 2 Comments