genealogy subscriptionSigning up and getting started with a genealogy service is just the beginning when it comes to family research projects. After that, continuous research for new historical documents and regular maintenance of your family tree will ensure your family information is accurate and up to date. If you’ve signed up for a genealogy service and want to ensure you’re getting the most from your subscription, here are three ways to do so.

Update your family tree

Creating your family tree is usually the first step in getting started with online genealogy services, but what good does your tree do if you never update it? Once you’ve started your family tree with basic family information, such as your birth date and place of birth, your parents’ birth information and any of your grandparents’ information that you know, you’ll likely start to find historical record matches for your immediate relatives, including birth certificates and marriage licenses. From this information, you may even be able to find other relatives, such as great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. If you feel like you’ve reached a dead end with your family research, you can always reach out to living relatives to try to uncover more information that may fill in your family tree. Another helpful way to find historical documents is to use estimates if you aren’t sure of exact dates or locations — for example, use states when you aren’t sure of the exact city where someone was born or died.

Connect with others

Many of the genealogy services we review give you the option to make your tree or your profile public, which is a great way to connect with others who you could potentially be related to and find new family members. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to keep your family’s information private on genealogy sites, you also have to option to make your tree viewable to you and only you. Even if you choose to keep your family tree private, you can still connect with others through your online genealogy service’s forums. These platforms allow you to interact with others who are also working on family research projects and potentially willing to share the ways they’ve conducted research and located hard-to-find documents — an extremely useful tool in family research, especially if you’re new to the genealogy scene.

Consider DNA testing

Not only is DNA testing a great way to learn more about your family’s heritage, but it can also help you find new relatives who you didn’t even know you were related to. Although DNA testing isn’t included in standard genealogy service subscriptions, they may still be worth the added cost because some services, such as Ancestry, pair you with other members based on the results of your DNA tests. In addition to learning more about your family and origins, these tests can also help you learn about any medical conditions you may be predisposed to. Curious as to how these tests actually work? We were too, which is why we decided to order and complete a test from Ancestry and one from MyHeritage to see how everything worked. You can read more about our results here.

Visit our online genealogy service reviews to learn how you can get started on your family research project today.