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Father’s Day Gift Guide: Research Your Family History at (Plus, a World Deluxe Membership Giveaway: $299 Valu

Posted Jun 12 2011 6:14pm
Nearly 87 percent of Americans are interested in learning more about their family history. I happen to be one of them! My father’s parents arrived in the United States from Russia in the early 1900s, and I’ve always wanted to know more about that side of the family. My grandfather died just six months after I was born, and my grandmother died in 1992, so I can’t ask them any questions. But I recently went to to see what I could uncover. First, I discovered that finding out more about my family was complicated by the fact that people often misspelled our very Russian surname. I found my grandparents’ names under several different spellings! But during just an hour of searching, I was able to uncover several documents about my grandparents, their exact birth and death dates, their social security numbers (after they became naturalized U.S. citizens), and the name of my grandpa’s brother and his family members. I think I did fairly well in such a short period of time! I also found another person on the site who seems to be related to us and has been researching his/her family tree. So, I may contact this person to see what else I can learn. And I’ll definitely be going back to to do further research when I have more information from my dad and other living relatives.

If you’re interested in learning more about your family history, here are some easy steps to begin with from
1. Start with what you know. Simply enter a few details about yourself, your parents and grandparents into an online family tree. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the facts. This is just the beginning.

2. Search historical records. A simple online search could help you find family members in historical censuses, military and immigration records, newspaper articles and more. Use these records to continue tracing your story back through time. And stay organized by adding what you discover to your online family tree.

3. Ask your family for more details. Family history can be a wonderful excuse to pick up the phone or pay a visit to your loved ones. Ask your relatives for stories, photos and other knowledge about your heritage. Search family photo albums and heirlooms for missing details.

4. Add context to your story. Attach photos, stories and other important documents to your online family tree. Create timelines of your ancestors’ lives. Record interviews with relatives by phone and save them to your tree using tools like the Storytelling Service.

5. Share your discoveries. Share your rich heritage with your family and document your family history journey by creating a book, calendar, poster or another meaningful gift. has more than 6 billion records, and more than 1.6 members who are creating family trees. You can find census records; immigration and naturalization records; birth, marriage and death records; military records; international records; newspapers; and much more!

I could go on and on about all of the wonderful services that are available at , but I encourage you to go to yourself to see what they have to offer. Enjoy a free 14-day trial! After that, you can subscribe for just $69 for six months of access to the U.S.-focused collection or take a look at the other packages offered. The best one offers worldwide access for 12 months for $299. also offers both MAC and PC versions of their Family Tree Maker software package. And at , you can incorporate your findings into photo books, family history books, family tree posters, and much more. What great gifts these would make for members of your family!

And speaking of gifts, Father’s Day is almost here. Forget the cologne and t-shirts. Get a special guy a subscription to ! What an amazing and unique gift it would make for a favorite father, grandfather or uncle. You can learn more about through the following links

One lucky winner will receive a World Deluxe membership to , which is worth $299! (This is a 12-month subscription.) To enter, leave a comment sharing a little something about your family history. Are you related to someone famous? Did your relatives come from a different country? Share anything you wish. You must do this to enter the giveaway.

After completing the mandatory entry above, you can earn optional, additional entries when you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow ( @ancestrydotcom ) and Susan Heim on Parenting ( @ParentingAuthor ) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet up to 3x each day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet) You can use this tweet if you'd like: #Giveaway for World Deluxe Annual Membership ($299 value) to! @ancestrydotcom @ParentingAuthor Ends 6/26

- Like on Facebook . (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook and/or follow on Networked Blogs . (1 entry for each)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Enter another current giveaway on Susan Heim on Parenting. (1 entry per giveaway)

- Post about this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Sunday, June 26, 2011, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to for providing a complimentary membership to facilitate this review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are 100% mine.
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