Family History Resources
Updated: Jul 1
Where do I....?
People ask me all the time for referrals for genealogists, book printers, and other family history resources. Over the years I've developed a list of go-to people and websites that I use and am happy to refer others to.
A few of these resources (not all) pay me a referral fee if you purchase a product or service from them. I have no particular favorite—I list these people and organizations because they are good at what they do. Family history is a vast field where many different kinds of specialists are needed.
If you have any questions or need help, just give me a call at 215-645-7766.
Good luck with your project!
Tip: archival supplies often take a few weeks to ship. Plan ahead! These supplies are also expensive. Make sure you triage your collection and discard irrelevant items before you buy archival supplies.
The PhotoLounge on the 17th Street here in Philadelphia is terrific. They do all sorts of digitizing (VHS tapes, cassette tapes, photos, slides, negatives) among other things. They will give you a 20% discount if you give them this code: "clemencescouten". They also have a very convenient drop-off and pick-up service.
If you are struggling with what to even have digitized, or with the crazy amount of photos on your phone/computer, a photo organizer can help. Find one at The Photo Managers (nationwide). Shortcut for locals in the Philadelphia area, try Darla DeMorrow.
If you want to learn all the ins and outs and do it yourself, the best photo organizing class I know if is offered by Caroline Gunter.
Make sure you're backing up your digital files! Ideally you do that on an external hard drive AND a cloud service. Of course the biggies like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Photos are options, but Forever.com and SmugMug.com specialize in photo management and sharing. My go-to these days is Forever.com.
Price is not the only factor when selecting a cloud storage solution. Do they mine your data? Are they committed to preserving your photos? Here's a quick summary from Forever.
If you want to hire a genealogist, you can look for one at The Association of Professional Genealogists. Many local historical societies also offer genealogy research services, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
I can also recommend a few specific genealogists, including:
Pennsylvania specialist: Denys Allen. She also has terrific podcasts on all sorts of genealogy-related subjects.
Jewish specialist: Renée Carl
Scandinavian specialist: Caroline Gunter, who also has an excellent class on this subject.
Italian specialist: Lynn Nelson
And of course, the Big Four web-based genealogy research sites:
Ancestry.com: Their cost is about $190-$390 annually, though this changes and they often have sales.
Family Search: This is the only totally free service with such a big data set (7.25 billion records). You will need to create a username and password but no credit card is required.
Find My Past: Their focus is the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US, and Canada. Their annual fees range from about $130-$180 annually.
My Heritage: My Heritage offers a free version and a paid version.
There are a lot of on-demand print options out there. Most of them run sales very frequently so make sure you sign up for their emails. The two I use the most are:
Blurb.com and Mixbook.com
Blurb does a better job at handling large amounts of text, but you have to download their (free) software. The print quality between Blurb and Mixbook is very close.
I will continue to add resources as I come across ones worth mentioning.
Have fun with your family history project and don't forget to call if you hit a snag, 215-645-7766.