One of the best places to get free genealogy help online is FamilySearch.org, the powerful website run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. St. Louis Genealogical Society frequently offers classes on using this popular, free site, so keep an eye open for the next class, but in the meantime, here are some parts of the site you might want to explore on your own.
Like many websites, there is much behind the scenes here, including millions of digital records and family trees, but an under-utilized area of the website that has great value to researchers is hidden under the Help tab at the top right of the home screen.
Click on the little down arrow to get a menu that leads to the Learning Center, where you will find a bounty of useful information.
The Learning Center is confusingly called Help Center when you get to it, but it is a great place to find short videos and tutorials, most from well-known genealogists. Everything is dated so you know just when each was posted on the site. There is a wide variety, in no particular order, so be sure to scroll through all the options. Also, be patient, as there is so much available that it may take a while for the whole list to load.
To watch a video or learn more about what it is about, just click on the title.
Each video sits in a window shared with much more content. On the left side will be any other videos that might be part of a series. Under the video, you will find a list of related videos, an option to download your own copy of the video, and a PDF file with accompanying handout material. (Please note that the videos currently carry a warning that they may not play properly in the Firefox browser. However, your blogger uses Firefox and had no trouble looking at almost all the videos she chose to review.)
Go back up to the Help Center menu and choose the Wiki tab, where you will find, again in no particular order, links to more information on states, countries, and general genealogy than you could possibly imagine. For instance, if you choose “The Netherlands Genealogy,” the description says “Links to articles and classes on getting started with Netherlands research. ‘How to’ Guides Netherland [sic] Genealogy Research.” And here is what you get:
Each of the blue links leads to more, including lessons on reading Dutch records, vocabulary lists in Dutch and Latin, links to popular websites, links to videos/classes, maps and gazetteers, etc. This wealth of helpful material is not unique to the Netherlands. Similar pages are in place for dozens of other areas of research as well, including obscure locations like Zambia, the Bahamas, Tonga, and Panama, and every U.S. state and territory.
Enjoy yourself but remember you have to come up for air!