Many local libraries offer the two above subscriptions for the public to use. In addition, they may offer other databases such as HeritageQuest and obituary databases. Prior to going to a library, figure out exactly what you need to look up and bring genealogy group sheets or notes with you. You will need to be prepared, as some libraries limit your time on their computers. If you can go when school is in session that would be a plus, but don’t go during school vacation. Perhaps you could even call the library prior to going, and ask the librarian if it is crowded.
In addition you could subscribe to a much less expensive genealogy subscription or a society. Recently, I joined the Ohio Genealogical Society for $32, they have 6,000 members and have a website with several databases I couldn’t find elsewhere.
Subscribe to Dick Eastman’s weekly newsletter at http://www.eogn.com/ , it is free (there is a plus+ edition that costs $20 a year). Quite often, he mentions new databases, or activities of different genealogy societies, you could check out those sites, maybe something will interest you. In October, Dick mentioned the genealogy resources at the Rochester, N.Y. Library. After checking it out, and seeing 15 records I wanted (but at $10 per copy, I couldn’t afford), I contacted a researcher who was listed on the Library site and I emailed the necessary information to her. In conclusion, she went to the library the following day, got all 15 newspaper articles (marriage & death notices), as well as three legal documents from the Surrogate’s office, all for $45 (and we couldn’t decide on a price, so I sent her that amount), she would have taken less! Fast service and a great price. I would never have found that information on one of the expensive genealogy subscriptions.
So if your subscription ends soon, why not let it and then search out new methods for getting information. You may not need several expensive subscriptions at the same time.
And, of course my favorite free methods of research are with http://www.rootsweb.com/, http://www.familysearch.org/ (FHL) and Google. If you haven’t used these sites in a while, you are in for a nice surprise. There is so much out there. Recently, I found out about a book at the FHL and really wanted it. A search on http://www.worldcat.org/ showed that only nine libraries had it. I wrote to four of them to see if they loan out the book, one did, Rutgers University. I filled out an inter-library loan request at my local library and am waiting to hear when the book comes in. I am not sure if there is a fee, but boy, if you really want a book, a small charge is worth it, I think. To get ideas for book titles, go to any library catalog, for example, http://www.dar.org/, http://www.familysearch.org/, http://www.worldcat.org/ or even Google. If you aren’t aware, there are now 26,000 Family History Library books online, they are digitized and you can read the entire book from home.
Have fun with your new resources and I hope the least expensive society or data base may end up being the most valuable to you!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!