So what is genealogy?
Strictly speaking, genealogy is the study of your ancestry, concentrating on names, dates and places. It involves building a family tree that doesn't contain many personal details, it sets out how different people are related, and when and where they lived.
Genealogy is part of family history, but family history is a lot more.
Genealogy can be important for legal research, or medical research. In families in which one person is found to have a genetic disease, finding out the members of the extended family tree are can help in the study of that disease, and it can identify people at risk, who might benefit from prevention treatments.
You are probably wanting to start out on the journey to find out about your family history. It is exciting and you are probably keen to get going. But try not to rush and go too fast. Taking in some information at this stage will help a lot later on and can prevent you making mistakes that will discourage you.
In this free online family history course, you can get some of the basics, and learn how to start off logically, finding out what information you and your family already have, before you start spending money on birth certificates, or ancestry subscriptions! All of which are very useful, but make sure that you make the right choices before you rush in with the credit card. Free genealogy or free family history is not a reality, but, as with all things in life, with a bit of care the budget you have to spend on pursuing your family history can stretch a little bit further.
A small amount of preparation can save you money and, more importantly, time. With some basic genealogy knowledge, you can avoid mistakes that could lead to you to study the family tree of the 'wrong' ancestor, following a line that is not your own. It is very common...