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08 August 2017

How to Do Genetic Genealogy on the Cheap

This post contain affiliate links. See my disclosure page for more information.
I know I just wrote about DNA (I'm trying to save you some money while kits are on sale!) but I just found an even cheaper way to get into genetic genealogy and it doesn't involve products that fell off the back of a van or selling vital organs. It's totally legit.
Get started exploring your family history with DNA. | The Occasional Genealogist
02 August 2017

Interested in DNA for genealogy?

I love using DNA for genealogy. That means I talk to a lot of people about DNA, whether they are "genealogists" or not. One thing I constantly tell people is DNA tests go on sale regularly. And right now (August 2017) is one of those sales. And this is a pretty big sale because all three types of tests are on sale at FamilyTreeDNA. (and yes, you are going to find affiliate links in this post!)

[UPDATE: This post covers more than just the August 2017 sale. Tests do go on sale regularly so I'm leaving the bulk of the post here, as is for your reference.]

I personally recommend FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) as my top recommendation because they do offer all three types of DNA tests. This includes the current most popular type, autosomal DNA, called the "FamilyFinder" at FTDNA (this is the only type of test sold by AncestryDNA, My Heritage DNA, and is the genealogical component of the tests from 23 and Me).

FTDNA also offers YDNA and mtDNA tests. It gets expensive to do all three or even two BUT...

29 May 2017

How to Do Genealogy on the Cheap, the Right Way

Still Not Convinced You Need to Spend the Money to Order Records? Read this post | The Occasional Genealogist

Still Not Convinced You Need to Spend the Money to Order Records?

There is a great post on the Preserve the Pensions blog [Preserve the Pensions is a fundraiser to digitize the War of 1812 pensions, sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies]. This post highlights some great finds in War of 1812 pensions involving neighbors of the applicant/soldier. This is just one of the many benefits you'll often find when you use/order original records.

Don't Stop at the Index

The War of 1812 pensions are being digitized but you do know most genealogy records are not online, don't you? And even if they are online, they may not be images or they may not be searchable images. You can read my earlier post about unindexed images, here. You're going to have to order some records if you want to further your research.

Some genealogists find an index or database entry and stop there because it's not always easy or cheap to order the original record. It is definitely worth it, though. You can read the above-mentioned post on It includes a link for a little more info on cluster research. You can also read a post about Bounty Land Warrant Applications, which is related.

29 April 2017

Subscription Savings | Digitizing | + Evernote

So I have three related items for today's post. This is essentially a combo follow-up to both last week's post on saving on your genealogy subscriptions and the lecture I gave Wednesday, "Evernote for Everything Else."

More on Saving on Subscriptions | Digitization first steps | Evernote

Alternative Subscriptions

First, I mentioned in last week's post that one way to save while doing more genealogy is drop a more expensive subscription in favor of a cheaper one (even if that is just a temporary option).
25 April 2017

The FREE DNA Tool You Need to Know

Happy DNA Day!

Are you interested in genetic genealogy? That’s genealogy using DNA testing. There is a great free tool you need to make sure you’re using.
The Free DNA Tool You Need to Know | The Occasional Genealogist

Before I launch into this post, let me lay the foundation for it. These are the basics many of you may understand, but if you don't, this post won't make sense (or won't be actionable).

I am assuming you have taken a DNA test. Alternatively, you might be considering taking one. What's important is, this is a tool you use on your results. This isn't a company to purchase a test from.

This tool is for autosomal DNA (atDNA). This is the type of DNA test sold by AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA, and 23 and Me. FamilyTreeDNA calls this their "Family Finder" test. There are some additional companies that also offer this type of test. Today, this is the most common type of DNA test taken for genealogy so there's a good chance it's what you have taken.

I have two primary goals for writing this post.
  • Make you aware of this free tool and why you should use it.
  • For current users of this tool, give you more ways to encourage your matches to use this tool.