Help getting started with genealogyThis page describes some of the tools I have used to trace my family tree, and some hints for getting started on your own.
I am using Broaderbund Family Tree Maker Deluxe to record information in my family tree. This was recommended to me as the best software for the purpose, and I find it easy to use. I have not tried competing products.
I use GED2HTML to generate the web pages with my family tree. This is a shareware program free to use for the first 14 days. If you like it, you are expected to register your copy for $20 after that period. You would use GED2HTML to publish your tree on a web site. For information on creating your own website look for the description of hosting at http://computers.hmtech.info/.
You can also subscribe to various genealogy services to help find information about your family, or to search the trees of others. One month access to Genealogy.com was included with Family Tree Maker deluxe, but I have not yet activated it - since I want to fill in as much information as possible before starting the trial subscription. The more you know to start with, the more relevant the results of your searches will be.
I had some of my best luck finding information through a Google search on the names of some of my ancestors. I was able to find a tree online from someone else that included my ancestors. I was able to obtain the database from this person and merge it with my own, and that tree when back very far. Some might say that this defeats to fun of finding your own roots, but I think otherwise. There is no way that any single person could trace as much of the tree as I found. It is possible that there are errors in information that you find online, so you will want to verify as much of the information as you can. Family tree maker will track sources of information, making this task easier.
Here are some links to some other information sources that I find useful. Some of these are free services with paid optional access. Others are subscription services but might offer free trials or less complete free options. Others are links to tools you can download and use to exchange data.