Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

According to a recent article:

Ready to spend $18,000? The high cost of searching for your ancestors

The growing urge on the part of millions of Americans to investigate their roots has spawned a billion-dollar genealogy industry that is still growing by leaps and bounds. For the past eight years or so, I’ve heard people toss around the claim that genealogy sites are the most frequently visited (second only to pornography) and that ancestor-hunting is the country’s most popular pastime (after gardening)…

Yep, it’s pretty easy to spend some big bucks when you’re searching for your ancestors. We’ve all “been there, done that.”

But $18,000?

Ok, let’s look at some prices for subscription research sites:

(Assuming you have a computer and internet access)

(These figures may not be completely accurate. Have you tried to find the subscription rates for some of these databases lately? They are frequently well-hidden!)

And you’re gonna need a genealogy database program (Windows):

Definitely gotta have a scanner for that growing stack of photographs and documents:

  • starting at about $29 for a basic model

And don’t forget about backups (certainly don’t wanna lose all that expensive data!):

And then you will probably need pens, pencils, notebook paper, folders, computer paper, a filing cabinet of some sort- depending on your style (look for those Back-To-School sales)

But, wait! These figures are for online genealogical research. What about the old-school write-a-letter-visit-a-courthouse-research-at-the-library-wander-through-a-cemetery genealogical research?

Depending on how aggressively you search and the distance to the target, add maybe $50-100/month to that total (stamps, gas, snacks, mosquito spray, copying machine costs).

And, hey, you’ll need a digital camera, too. Less than $100 on right now. Or just use your smart phone’s camera (umm, they don’t grow on trees…).

So, let’s see here… our total is… where’s that darn calculator… 3 research site subscriptions, 1 genealogical database program, a case of Deep Woods Off, all that hardware and all those travel costs…

A total of about $1500 so far. Probably less, because I’m not planning to buy a new printer, digital camera or filing cabinet every year.

$1500 is certainly not $18,000, but it’s still a lot of money.

Well then, how can you have fun with genealogy, and still keep those expenses down?

(to be continued…)


Genealogy on a budget (Part 2)


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