Genealogy and History Magazines (Commercial)
Genealogy and history magazines can be a valuable educational tool. While many genealogical societies put out magazines/journals for their membership (which are also very valuable educationals tools), here we're talking about commercially produced magazines. Many, many of these are available, some better than others, and range from those useful primarily for those with limited experience to those useful for all levels of genealogists. In addition, subject matter may be very broad or it may be specilized, for instance, to a specific ethnic group, geographical region, or topic (e.g. DNA).
Common topics in the broader genealogy magazines might include: ancestor stories and how the researcher learned about them, general research techniques, brick wall methodology, detailed looks at specific record types, locating records of different types, information on lineage societies, how to run a successfull family reunion, software reviews, and much more. More specialize genealogy magazines will often cover many of the same types of topics, but will be focused specifically on their application to the research focus area.
History magazines tend to be specialized (but are not always) to a particular topic or geographic region (e.g. WWII, Civil War, Ireland, aircraft). These are a wonderful resource to learn in greater depth about the events, inventions, and social conditions that played a part in your ancestors lives. As such, they provide context to your ancestors lives.
Subscriptions to these magazines does come at a cost. Typical annual subscription costs can run from $20-$100 depending on the magazine. Generally, broad topic magazines tend to be less expensive than more specialized ones and history magazines tend to be more expensive than genealogy magazines (due to their usually more specialized focus). Generally, e-versions of magazines is a bit less expensive than print version (and don't take up so much space).
Look for magazines that might be useful to you. Try googling "genealogy magazine" or "history magazine' and see what comes up. Add a specific topic to the search to narrow it down to the subject on interest. Or check out some of these examples of what is available:
- Family Tree Magazine: Broad topic magazine, most useful for Beginner to Intermediate genealogists
- Your Genealogy Today (formerly Family Chronicle): Broad topic magazine, useful to all levels of genealogist
- Who Do You Think You Are?: British magazine, becoming more popular in the US following the US version debut
- Your Family History: British magazine, British focus
- Internet Genealogy: Focuses on using the internet for research
- Genealogical Helper: Primary focus is advertising and queries, published since 1947, in the internet age probably less useful than it once was
- Irish Roots Magazine: Focuses on researching your Irish ancestors
- History Magazine: Broad topic. general interest magazine
- Civil War Times: Focuses on the American Civil War
- Aviation History Magazine: Focuses on the history of manned flight
Have limited time? Like to listen to interesting things while doing the housework, riding in the car, or doing something tedious at your computer? Can't stand to not be doing something genealogical each week? Try learning through genealogy podcasts. Hundreds exist, some better than others, and range from general topics in genealogy to very specific topics. Try googling "genealogy podcasts" and see what comes up. Add a specific topic to the search to narrow it down to the subject on interest. Or try one of these poplular podcasts:
For many of the podcasts you can listen to past episodes as well as the most current ones. Many of the most popular podcasts can be downloaded to your mobile device(s) through iTunes.
Hundreds of genealogy blogs exist. Like genealogy podcasts, some are better than others, and they range from general topics in genealogy to very specific topics. Try googling "genealogy blog" and see what comes up. Add a specific topic to the search to narrow it down to the subject on interest. You can also find an extensive list of blogs at Cyndi's List at https://www.cyndislist.com/blogs/
. Or try one of these popular blogs:
Forums, also known as message boards, discussion groups, communities, etc. are places are people to exchange information and ask questions. Most of the major genealogy web sites (e.g. Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, GenealogyBank, RootsWeb) have forums - often multiple ones divided down to specific surnames or geographic areas. Software program sites may also have forums where users help each other in the use of the program, suggestions for its improvement, and reporting of technical issues. Forums can be a valuable resource for connecting with others who are doing research on the same families and locations, and can help bring together relatives living in different places (who may not have even known about each other's existance). Don't be timid about posting queries to these sites, but do be brief, specific, and clear about what you are trying to learn. Answers to queries can come months or even years after your posting, so its a good idea to keep a log of where you posted, when you posted, and the exact query to reference later.
Social Media Groups
Social media in its various forms is here to stay and can be very useful in the pursuit of your family history. While you may have no interest in posting the details of your day-to-day life to an army of friends and relations, having a social media account(s), particularly on Facebook, is a plus for the modern genealogist.
Many genealogy societies have a social media presence, making this a place for you to keep up with the news on that society and/or to ask questions about the society, research resources about which you may be unaware, researchers for hire, or if someone is also researching the family you are interested in. Social media sites for counties can also be found that are not necessarily maintained by a genealogy society, but which can provide much of the same type of information as a society-run site. Of particular interest can be the social media sites specific to a certain topic (e.g. there are several useful DNA sites on Facebook) where members can exchange tips, talk about methods, ask for help on a problem, etc. Other social media sites may be focused on a particular surname. Social media sites can also be useful in tracking down living relatives - a common use for those of us trying to locate people for potenial DNA testing or who might have unique family records. Run some searches on topics/places of interest to you and see what you can find.