I don't think people understand how much Genealogy research costs. Between the the fee's (my state of Michigan charges you for every record) and Ancestry membership and now sending money to Sicily for records, this has become a bit expensive.
I sent $15.00 to a Genealogy Society (which will remain nameless) in another state for records on my family. I gave them names, addresses, spelling varations, relatives names.. etc...and all they sent me back was pages of Ancestry Library addition which had nothing to do with my family...and a form letter that said "no information found" I was very disappointed.
I am thinking of putting a CD together to re-sell back to my relatives to recoup some costs after I have a lot of information.
How much do you think you have spent so far on research?
Genealogy research is very very expensive and most people who post on this forum looking for information on their ancestors really have no clue about that. Since I have been doing such research since 1994, and Italian research from microfilms since 1997, I can tell you that I must have spent thousands of dollars on my own research. I think that if I had kept a log of my actual expenses (including what it cost me in gas to drive to a family history center which was almost an hour from my home-about four times a week), and what it cost me to get U.S. documents (a lot of stuff now available online was not available at that time, I probably would have abandoned my research. In those days, it sometimes took the rental of 2 rolls of microfilm (or close to about $6.50 for the two rentals-just to locate one census record, or several hours at a national archives just to locate one passenger list. My biggest expense with microfilm rental occurred when I had to rent province film (almost 220 rolls) to get vital records since my town's records were mostly marriage oriented and very disorganized). It wasn't just the expense involved, but the time involved in extracting information from all of these microfilms.
Newbies who post on this forum just have no idea how fortunate they are to have this forum and so many volunteers who do have paid subscriptions to various genealogy websites doing look-ups and research for them for free. Too many newbies, unfortunately, expect to get far back in their ancestry in a matter of minutes, and some are fortunate, but for many of us, it has taken years and years of intense, very expensive, research to accomplish this.
maestra36 wrote: Newbies who post on this forum just have no idea how fortunate they are to have this forum and so many volunteers who do have paid subscriptions to various genealogy websites doing look-ups and research for them for free. Too many newbies, unfortunately, expect to get far back in their ancestry in a matter of minutes, and some are fortunate, but for many of us, it has taken years and years of intense, very expensive, research to accomplish this.
So true. Not only on this forum, but in general, people have a lot of misconception about genealogy. Not only do they expect to get far back in their ancestry in a matter of minutes, but many expect to get farther back than they realistically will.
As for me, I've been doing genealogy for a few years now. I signed up for full membership on Ancestry.com a year ago, so that's cost me a little over $350.00 (before that we used to use Ancestry.com Library edition).
I haven't spent a huge amount of money on genealogy, not in the thousands at least. I've gotten film from the FHC, I think twice, and only for Italian records. It's only open one day a week (Wednesday) for 3 hours, so it's hard to find time to get there.
Aside from that, I'll get an obituary from a library, and some birth/death/naturalization records from local courthouses (each of which cost $5.00-$15.00). I think one of the most valuable resource in genealogy is free, and that's family members. I just emailed a cousin and she sent me a picture of my great great great great grandfather (who was a confederate soldier) and his wife, along with photos of his son (my greatX3 grandfather) and his wife and children. I also have gotten tons of other genealogy treasures from cousins, aunts and uncles, including a family history book, a family documentary, and tons of pictures and other records (birth, marriage, baptism, etc).
Anyway, I'm rambling. We all have different approaches to genealogy, and that's mine.
Genealogy is a hobby just like golf, painting, gardening etc and all hobbies have costs associated with them. Depending upon how far you take it, I donâ€™t think the costs are any greater than with any other hobby. In the 30 years of pursing my â€œhobbyâ€
Yes, I agree that there are too many genealogy websites out there now that are charging and not giving customers what they pay for and that it is not right. I would suggest that before you spend money on any of these websites, you search for message boards to learn of others' experiences with them. I won't even pay for a trial subscription to ancestry.com anymore because they offer you a 14 day "free" trial, but insist on taking a credit card number. I understand that a lot of people have had trouble canceling the trial and then their credit cards have been billed for a year's subscription that they don't even want.
I will say though that, even years ago, when I did extensive research at a local family history center, there was a woman who used to frequent the place who was a certified genealogist. She was charging customers about $100 an hour. It was common knowledge at my center that she hardly ever found anything for a customer, yet she billed the customer because she sat there for three hours in front of a machine winding and rewinding the reels of films.
Looking back I have always found many free avenues of research with many not being totally informative but quite capable of leading me to locations and names that satisfied my research some of which I pursued and most of which I did not but little monies were spent. HNowever I did refer people to paying websites which with effort can yield information sans payment.
All it takes is motivation and imagination. =Peter=
I guess I'm fortunate that my family appears to all originate from one central locus. With them being a minority population, Arbereshe, it also appears that they stayed relatively 'tight' within their kindred. The big expense is going to be traveling to this 'hometown'...and truth be told, it's a vacation I would have gone on anyway
I've already made FREE contact with folks in that town----just by e-mailing someone on the town's website to ask about hotel accomodations, I was estaticly surprised to find that the responder is one of my distant relatives who not only is already sharing some family history with us but invited us to stay at his house Gotta love the Italian warmth!
Everybody has different costs and travels a different road to get to their past....but IMO it's worth every step & every penny!
My past is all behind me now. Looking for Andreola, Fino, Simone, Rossacci & Capece primarily from Casalvecchio di Puglia.
I concur with you as it relates to what values you place on whatever it is you want to achieve. I always work on the assumption that I should not have to pay for anything and from that premise I embark upon my researches with the view that I am borrowing money from pessimists since they do not expect it back!!! =Peter=
I agree that free is thew best way too go. In my State of Michigan they charge you for lots of records $20.00, $15.00 etc...
To request a look up at the State Archives it is $20.00 per request, to visit the library it is $10.00 to get it then it is open for 4 hours only.
Detroit Public Library, $20.00 to research if your not from the area, $10.00 if you are.
I have sent money to out of state Genealogy Societies and gave them all the information I had to do a record look up, names, addresses, birth dates, name spelling etc... and all they sent me back was sheets from Ancestry Library addition!!!
I have an on-going list of headstones, look ups, and etc I will do for free when I get to my local library and pass the info along why? because people have helped me for free here and it has been some of the best help I have ever gotten so I am paying it back so to speak...
You need to watch where you send your money and it is best to exhaust every free resource you can before you open your wallet
My daughter had been researching my paternal roots and her maternal roots for years. However, she never spent much time on my maternal routes (my Italian side).
I decided one day to see what I could find for free. I spent many hours at the local library using their edition of Ancestry for free. I was able to substantially build the American part of my maternal family tree.
I then decided that I wished to know more than my grandparents names, the possible spelling of the surname, and where they probably originated. It has become an obsessive hobby.
I have been using the LDS family history center where I have "permanently" rented about 15 microfilms so far at a cost of $5.90 plus $11.00 to make them permanent. So for $16.90, I have use of these films for as long as I wish.
Besides the cost of a few birth & death certificates, a few flash drives, and transportation to and from the FHC 4-5 times/week, I don't think my expenses have been excessively high for a hobby I am enjoying immensely.
I must echo the fact that the wonderful people on this forum have provided invaluable help and information to me at no cost. While I know that this has been priceless, I make an attempt to repay this favor whenever the opportunity arises. I enjoy helping people with their genealogy research both on and off of the forum.
I have refrained from subscribing to paid sites while I am reviewing films. At some point in the future, I may feel that a world subscription to Ancestry will be beneficial. I suspect that will not occur until I have pretty much exhausted my film rentals.
There will, however, be a rather large expense next year. I have decided to make another trip to Italy to visit my ancestral home. But, it is also a vacation, not just a hobby expense.
So, I spend a great deal of time on my "hobby" and not a great deal of money. I hope everyone enjoys their hobby as much as I.
Researching surnames Ianniello, Tamburrino, Mattora/Martora/Mattori & Scialla in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Caserta, Campania.