The Costs of Genealogy

I’ve not done much genealogy work lately, family, work, and vacation have been taking up too much time. However, I did get my yearly bill for my subscription to (a rather costly, though very useful for census lookups and digging up other clues), which brings my total genealogy costs this year to just over $400.00, a new record. I’m going to have to rethink my subscription, as it is the bulk of this year’s costs. According to my Quicken database, over the lifetime of this hobby, I’ve spent almost $1400.00. This includes the subscriptions, several pieces of software (my current favorite is Wholly Genes‘ The Master Genealogist (TMG)), a few local organization memberships, several books, and assorted checks for shipping and research fees. This doesn’t include web-hosting fees and sundry other costs, and doesn’t even begin to cover the hours I’ve spent doing research.

I could easily spend more, though. I’ve been itching to join the Keating Surname Project, which uses DNA to help trace members of a family that share a common (in this case, Keating) surname. That’ll be another few hundred dollars, depending on the test that I order.

I used to use a piece of software on my Palm PDA called GedStar Pro. (In fact, I was an early beta tester.) Now that I’m using a Windows Mobile-based PDA, I’ve been itching to purchase Pocket Genealogist for TMG, a companion product for my desktop-based TMG software. That’ll be another $35.00.

I expect when TMG v7 eventually comes out, there will be an upgrade cost to it.

For the annual Keating reunions, I’ve been putting together a family history. I’d like to create a bound volume in the next year or two as a “keepsake”. I’ll probably ask for everyone to pre-order and pay for these themselves to keep the costs down though. I’d like to do something similar for some of the other lines I’ve been researching.

So, why do I keep spending the money? Why does anyone spend money on a hobby? I enjoy the thrill of finding a “new” ancestor whose name I didn’t know before. I get a kick out of figuring out how I or my wife might be related to people we meet. Perhaps finding the “order” of my ancestors appeals to that bit of OCD hidden inside my psyche.

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