Resources and Tools

My family history favorite things!

If you’re just starting your family history or you’re an advanced researcher this resources page is going to be your best friend! I’m sharing my top recommendations and giving you an inside glimpse into some of the tools, resources and products I use as a professional genealogist. (Note: some of these are affiliate links, but I only recommend products and services that I use and love.)


Genealogy Test Kits


AncestryDNA is the #1 selling DNA test with over 10 million kits sold. The biggest advantage of testing through AncestryDNA is you have a better chance of finding relatives because they have the largest DNA community of users. Another plus is you can connect your DNA results to all of the other services that Ancestry offers. AncestryDNA only tests Autosomal DNA, which holds a piece of from every single one of your ancestors, both male and female. It’s the most popular test, but if you want more details on our maternal and paternal DNA, check out Living DNA.

Best for cousin matching, most geographic regions for ethnicity, and connecting with Ancestry’s research services.


Living DNA

The Living DNA Ancestry test bundles all three types of DNA tests into one single test. It will provide you with results for autosomal, mtDNA, and (if you’re male) YDNA all in one package. This test will unlock your family ethnicity, help you discover your maternal ancestors, and trace your paternal ancestors (if you are male). For an additional fee, you can also have your results explained in a personalized book.

Best for finding ancestors in the British Isles and tracing maternal and paternal ancestors.



Find out what your DNA says about your health, traits, and ancestry. 23andMe tests all three types of DNA, including autosomal, mtDNA, and YDNA. You will get a breakdown of your ancestry and you can connect with your DNA relatives, but really sets 23andMe apart is the health reports (additional fee). Receive over 90+ health reports based on your DNA letting you know about your risks for certain diseases, if you are a carrier for certain inherited conditions, and how your DNA influences your physical traits.

Best for genetic health screening. Over 90+ genetic health reports. Only ancestry service with FDA-authorized health reports.



The most accurate and comprehensive dog DNA test kit on the market. Discover your dog’s breed, genetic ancestry, and potential health issues. It will even find your doggy’s relatives! Backed by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Because our fur babies are family too!


Recommended Reading

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

This plain-English guide is the most complete and up-to-date resource on genetic genealogy. Inside you’ll learn what DNA tests are available, advice on choosing the right test to answer your specific genealogy questions, and how to interpret the results. Wonderful and informative charts and diagrams explain DNA terms and concepts. Written by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., an intellectual property attorney by day and a genetic genealogist by night. He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist (, one of the first blogs dedicated to genetic genealogy.

Great for the beginner and advanced researcher alike!


Unofficial Guide to How to Find Your Family History on the #1 Genealogy Website

Are you getting the most out of your subscription? It can be overwhelming to navigate the world’s biggest genealogy website. This unofficial guide will help you find answers to your family tree questions within’s billions of records and the massive network of family trees.

Learn research strategies and time saving tricks for


The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Ireland

Tracing your ancestors back to the Emerald Isle can be exciting and challenging. Written by Irish genealogy expert Clair Santry, you'll find the best online resources for Irish genealogy research, guidance on finding records in Ireland, background on Irish history with timelines, and case studies solving real-life research problems.


Preserving Your Family History

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

The Flip-Pal mobile scanner allows you to scan photos, documents, and memorabilia anywhere anytime. You can even scan in place without removing items from the album or frame. All sizes, small to very large, can be scanned. The included EasyStitch software automatically reassembles multiple scans of larger originals such as portraits, art, and documents. It’s amazing. The StoryScans feature allows you to record voice and merge it with the scan to create an image that speaks. No computer required to operate and files are stored on SD card. Battery powered.

A must have for preserving photos, documents, and memorabilia. I never visit a client or a research center without my Flip-Pal.



Recorded family interviews are a wonderful way to preserve and share your family history. Audacity is a free and simple to use software for audio recording and editing. Record right from your computer or import recordings you’ve done on other devices.

Capture your loved one’s voice and personality as they tell share their memories. FREE and easy to use.