Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Free Genealogy How-To Videos All over the 'Net

"Frugal Genealogy: or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree" is my most-sought after presentation by area genealogical societies when requesting me as a speaker. Recently, I've realized I need to update it; free genealogy how-to videos are showing up all over the Internet faster, it seems, than I can keep track. I've provided a round-up of what's out there, below. In order to watch these, you'll need speakers or a set of headphones, and most likely, high-speed Internet service (Have dial-up? Plan ahead to spend some time at your local public library or other free or low-cost public center with high-speed Internet service).
Ancestry's Learning Center currently has 20 videos featuring Chief Historian Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as host of their series of genealogy how-tos on getting started, research challenges, and information sources, to name a few:

Register now for the latest webinar airing today at 8:00 PM, EST, "Discovering Family Tree Maker 2009". Or view 14 archived webinars on topics ranging from ethnic roots to using Ancestry's new search engine:
A five-part series on beginning research course for England has recently been released by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at their site. Class outlines and handouts are included: (Or go to, click on Library and choose Education from the drop-down menu. Then choose Research Series Classes Online from the left-hand menu.)

Family Tree Magazine
Right now, there are four videos (Using Google Books Search, Visual Guide to House Styles, etc.) hosted at the magazine website's video page. These are hosted at YouTube and a link is provided to access all 13 Family Tree Magazine videos on their YouTube channel:

Genealogy Gems TV
Although Lisa Louise Cooke's main focus is on podcasting, she offers a large variety of videos on her Genealogy Gems TV site. There's always something creative going on at GenealogyGems! These videos are also hosted at YouTube:
This project created by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak contains the most comprehensive and largest collection of free genealogy videos on the web. It includes interviews of genealogy "celebrities," tapings of national conferences and seminars, and offers 22 channels of tutorials on topics as diverse as DNA, family reunions, and various ethnic roots. Also available are many of the episodes from the popular PBS Ancestors Television Series (episodes numbered 101 - 109):

Treasure Maps Genealogy Videos
Robert Ragan's got more than just the two videos linked at his website's Genealogy Videos page! I found seven at his YouTube channel, GenealogyGuy (not to be confused with the Genealogy Guys, Drew Smith and George Morgan). Robert is one of those great teachers that patiently shows step-by-step directions to help even the less-technologically confident achieve success:

I've already mentioned a couple of YouTube genealogy channels, but there is so much more out there! Simply go to YouTube and search for "genealogy" or "family history" to find more! If your favorite genealogy videographer has created a YouTube channel, you can subscribe (for free) to be notified of their newest uploads. Not all videos will be tutorials; many individuals have created their own family history videos, so you never know if perhaps you'll find a connection to another distant cousin! Some of my favorite YouTube genealogy tutorials are created by Elyse Doerflinger (she's got 26!) and Mike of Irish Roots Cafe (15 videos on Irish research!). - search for genealogy , "family tree" or "family history", etc.

Google Video
While Google owns YouTube, there are some videos out there that aren't hosted at that particular website. Searching at Google Video, I found diverse topics such as GenSmarts, DNA, African-American genealogy, and even a video about genealogy merit badges narrated by Dr. Steven R. Covey! - search for genealogy , "family tree" or "family history", etc.

Do you know of any other websites for free genealogy tutorials? Leave links and comments below.


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Great list! I have to admit that with the exception of Roots Television I don't think to look for videos when I'm looking for help.

Unknown said...

Yes, a very good listing. In addition to videos, there are podcasts, too. George Morgan, Dear Myrtle, and several others do audio tutorials and genealogy news. I like these especially because I can continue my researches whilst listening. The pause button allows me to back up and catch something that I fancy, too.

Happy Dae.

Miriam Robbins said...

I hope you find something helpful, Apple.

Dae, podcasts are one of my favorite new learning tools! I hope to write a post about these in the near future.

Lisa Louise Cooke said...

Thanks for including Genealogy Gems on your terrific list Miriam. I love the video medium! And there will soon be a new series of videos that I did for "Family History Expo TV." I recorded LOTS of interviews at the event in Mesa, AZ which will be available at my Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel at and at I just published my interview with Dick Eastman at Thanks.