Here’s Why You Should Be Using Fillable Forms for Your Family History

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee explains why using forms still matters when it comes to family history and genealogy research!

Even with Online Family History Research and Family Trees, Using Forms to Document Your Work Still Matters

Recently, an attendee at an all-day genealogy seminar asked if I felt that using family group sheets, census extracts and other forms was still important for genealogy and family history research. My response? A resounding YES and here’s why . . .

Genealogy Forms Help Document and Preserve Your Research

Everything seems to be easy to find and to build online with genealogy these days. But what if that favorite site of yours where you are documenting your research disappears? With fillable forms you will ALWAYS have documentation of the work you’ve done.

In addition, some forms like research checklists and census extracts can be used to help evaluate your research, check the quality of sources and make you a better genealogist!

Use Online Forms When Possible

There are a variety of different forms available from pre-printed forms that you fill out by hand to digital forms in Adobe PDF format to online forms at genealogy websites. Look for a format that works for YOU and does not add more work to the research process.

I prefer Adobe PDF forms that can be filled out on the computer and then saved. Then I can upload them to my family history website or share them with family and other researchers.

Use Printed Forms for Family History Binders and Photo Books

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee explains why using forms still matters when it comes to family history and genealogy research!

In addition, these PDF forms look great when they are printed out. Work forms such as census extractions get placed into the binders I maintain for each family branch. Other forms such as a family group sheet, are often printed and sent to older relatives who don’t have a computer or Internet access. Also, I often save the group sheet as a JPG image and use it as an illustration in a family photo book.

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Essential Family Tree Forms Library Vol 1 Digital Download - Use these 75 genealogy worksheets, templates and checklists to organize family facts and track your genealogy work. Each letter-size PDF form is enhanced so you can type and save your work, or simply print blank forms to fill in.

One of the best fillable form products available to genealogists and family historians are the Essential Family Tree Forms Vol 1 and Vol 2 from Family Tree Magazine. I use these Adobe PDF forms EVERY DAY when I am researching!

I love the Family Group Sheets as well as the Ancestry Research Checklist for US Research. They are easy to use with the free Adobe Reader product and they can be printed and placed in the research binders I am creating. In addition, when I am working on a family photo book for a specific branch of my family, I can include an image of the form as an illustration.

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Right now, during the Family History Month sale at Family Tree Magazine, you can save 30% off the regular price of the DOWNLOAD version of these forms. Regularly $19.99 USD, you pay just $13.99 USD for each volume. Click HERE to purchase Volume 1 and click HERE to purchase Volume 2.


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About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee has been researching his family history for more than 40 years and is the creator of Abundant Genealogy, Genealogy Bargains, DNA Bargains, The Genealogy Do-Over and numerous other web-based genealogy and family history properties.