is a global leader in family history, using records and DNA to help people learn more about their heritage. Though many people have to build their family trees, there are a few extra tools you can use for free to give yourself an edge in genealogy.

Get a head start

You can import up to 4 generations from FamilySearch–meaning that if you already do genealogy, you don’t have to start over! If you don’t use FamilySearch, you can upload a GEDCOM file to Either way, you won’t need to switch between sites as you painstakingly upload individual people one at a time.

Connect with family members

With Ancestry, you can explore others’ family trees for hints and sources while you build your own. While you’re looking at the family trees of other users, you may be able to find the trees of your cousins and other extended family members. When you do this, you’ll not only be able to expand your social and family circle, but possibly access their information to extend both your trees!

Find your family in newspapers

Ancestry has connected with a second, subscription-based site called This site allows you to search old and new publications for important information regarding your family members. If you have an Ancestry account, you’ll be able to sign up for this site at a discounted rate.

Search message boards

One of the great resources of is its message boards. After all, “the world’s largest online genealogy community” is on Here, you can come to the pros with difficult genealogy questions. You can search the boards for county records, surnames, and specialized boards related to historical events.

Save your research in “shoeboxes”

If you have unverified facts that might be of use, Ancestry makes it easy to save them online. You can click the orange Save button on a record, which gives you the option to drop the record in a “shoebox,” or digital storage box. This is accessible by the home page for later viewing.

Bonus: Go straight to MyCanvas from anywhere on

If you want to print out your family tree, Ancestry makes it easy to fill out a MyCanvas product with your records. Just click on Extras at the top of the page, and click on Photo Books and Posters to create a MyCanvas product.


How has using affected your genealogy work? We’d love to hear from you!