10 Steps for Exploring Your Genealogy

Are you interested in tracing your family history? It can be fun and rewarding to learn about your ancestors and discover your genetic past, but the scope of the task may also be a bit daunting. We’re hoping to make your search less overwhelming with this 10-step guide to exploring your genealogy. Here, we’ll show you how to start small and gradually work toward your goal. Let’s get started!

family tree

1. Start with what you know

Before you start collecting documents and searching for your ancestors online, you should begin by writing down what you know about yourself, your parents and your grandparents. For each person, you’ll want to know their name, date and place of birth, parents, spouse and date of marriage, place of marriage, and children and their dates and places of birth. Knowing all of this information for every person will make it much easier to travel back through your lineage.

2. Begin documenting your family tree

This is a good time to start organizing your information so it doesn’t build into a confusing mess of names and dates. Ancestry.com offers several free, useful forms you can print out and use to collect your data. There are also a number of online family tree makers you can use if you’d prefer to do everything electronically. It doesn’t matter which method you choose as long as you have one. Remember to be as thorough and organized as possible to make your task easier going forward.

3. Gather additional information from your relatives

There’s a good chance you won’t know all of the information we called for in the first step. After all, that’s a lot of dates and locations. Your relatives should be your first resource for filling in the gaps. Talk to your siblings, cousins, parents, or aunts and uncles to see if they know things you don’t. Travel as far back through your family history as you can, documenting what you know to be true.

4. Consult family records

Next, you’ll want to begin gathering any family records you have in your home and seeing what you can learn from them. These could be items such as scrapbooks, photo albums, diaries, letters, newspaper clippings, and certificates of birth, marriage, and death. Don’t forget to ask your relatives about any documents they might have in their possession.

5. Join online social groups and email lists

Sooner or later, you won’t be able to gather more information without using outside sources. The first thing you should do is try to find out if someone else has already mapped out part of your lineage. If this is the case, then a lot of your work has already been done! We recommend searching for online groups and forums in which fellow genealogy researchers can share any info they have about your family or point you in the right direction. It’s also a good idea to join a mailing list such as one of the many you can find on this page.

6. Visit a local Genealogical Society

Just as individuals interested in genealogy may already have knowledge about your family history, there are also privately-owned genealogical societies that can assist you. Most societies focus only on lineages in specific local counties, so you’ll want to find one near where your ancestors lived. Many organizations are online, but you may also be able to find physical locations that house local documents. You can begin your search for these societies here.

7. Consult state and local government records

If you intend to trace your family line back as far as possible, you will eventually need to look at government records. It may be helpful to start with state and county records, which will typically be held at the appropriate government buildings. These institutions may hold types of records that the federal government does not, namely: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce records, death records, deeds and wills.

8. Consult federal government records

The National Archives and Records Administration maintains documents dating as far back as the Revolutionary War, including census, military, immigration, naturalization and land records. However, the vast majority of these documents are not available online, which means you will need to visit the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. or one of the Regional Archives buildings throughout the country, or purchase microfilm from NARA, in order to view these records. The official NARA website provides a useful guide for beginning your genealogical research.

9. Join a genealogical website

If you’ve come this far and are really serious about finding your roots, you should consider joining an ancestry website like Ancestry.com or Findmypast.com. These sites require you to subscribe for a monthly fee, but they provide digital access to a wide array of government and non-government documents you won’t be able to find anywhere else online. The cost of using these websites is often worth the convenience and breadth of knowledge they provide.

10. Invest in a computer program

Paper documents, charts and forms add up quickly as you progress through your ancestry, making it increasingly difficult to stay organized. Purchasing software dedicated to building family trees and archiving relevant information will make your life a lot easier. Investigate programs such as Ancestral Quest, FAMware and Legacy to see which one you like best. Many offer free trials or free versions with fewer features.

We hope this article helps you on your genealogical journey! If you have tips or info for fellow ancestry researchers, let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

The Top 5 Questions Our Customer Happiness Team Answers Everyday

Here at Readers.com, we get a lot of questions from customers like you. To help make shopping for reading glasses even easier, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 most-asked questions.

Take a look below and as always, don’t hesitate to call us if you have more questions! We love hearing from you.

1. What power of reading glasses do I need?

There are a few different ways you can determine the best power for you. Pick the one that’s easiest for you:

  • Use our PowerFinder quiz to quickly determine your correct reading glasses or computer glasses power.
  • Use our diopter chart to test for your correct power up to +3.25.
  • If you’ve never worn readers and have no distance corrections for your vision (in other words, a prescription for your eye doctor), you can follow these general age rules:
    • 40–45 = +1.00
    • 45–50 = +1.50
    • 50–55 = +2.00
    • 55–60 = +2.50
    • 60+ = +2.50–+3.00
  • If you have a prescription, give us a call and we can transpose it to the correlating power.

2. Why can’t I sign into my account?

If you can’t sign into your account, you might be typing in an incorrect username and/or password, and you’ll need to reset it. You can do that by clicking the Forgot password? link on the sign-in page.

If you try the above and are still getting an error, it’s possible you don’t have an account, and that you checked out as a guest the last time you ordered from Readers.com. You can create a new account by clicking here and clicking the Create Account button on the right-hand side of the page.

3. How do I delete cookies?

You might be asking yourself, what in the world are cookies? Well, they’re not the cookies sitting inside the jar on your kitchen counter, we can tell you that.

Cookies are small data files used by websites you visit to track your behavior on the Internet. While it might seem a little odd, they pose no threat to the security of your personal data. To learn how to delete your cookies, check out this article. Simply find the web browser you use (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), and follow the instructions to get rid of your cookies.

There are several options when deleting cookies that can preserve your passwords and history if those are things you would like to save, though the process for doing so varies by web browser. If you want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of deleting cookies, we’ve got another article for you to check out here.

4. How do I know what size reading glasses I should order?

The best way to determine what size reading glasses you should order is to measure a pair of glasses you already wear. It could be sunglasses, prescription glasses, or an old pair of reading glasses. Then, compare those measurements to the measurements we have listed on our website for the pair of glasses you like.

Another way to find out your correct reading glasses size is to measure the width of your face from one temple to the other with a ruler or tape measure. Based on the width of your face, you can use this guide to pick the right size:

  • Very Narrow: 124mm wide or less
  • Narrow: 125mm to 129mm wide
  • Average: 130mm to 134mm wide
  • Wide: 135mm to 139mm wide
  • Very Wide: 140mm wide or more

5. How do I delete or modify items on my order?

You can only delete or modify items on the cart page. The easiest way to get to your cart page is to simply click the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of our website. If you’ve already reached the checkout page, you need to click the red “Return to cart” link in the upper right hand corner.

We hope that was helpful!

If you’re still curious, take a look at some of our other popular customer questions on our FAQ page. Thanks for reading!

5 Easter Traditions To Start Doing With Your Family This Year

Easter is right around the corner and we’re using the holiday to celebrate all things spring-related. From planting flowers, to cooking a big brunch, Easter traditions are a fun, memorable way to spend time with your family and get excited for warmer weather. Below are five of our favorite Easter traditions — maybe you’ve already been doing them for years, or maybe you can make this year the first of many more to come.

1. Decorate Your Own Easter Eggs

Dying Easter eggs is a classic tradition that you probably did as a kid, too. Buy a few kits at the grocery store and call it a day, or get a little craftier. You can decorate eggs with puffy paint, confetti, and anything else that sparks your fancy from the craft store. Just don’t forget to boil the eggs, first!

If you’re looking for some more ways to get creative with Easter eggs, we love this guide by Sunlit Spaces: 14 Fantastic Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs.

decorating easter eggs

2. Make (And Mail) Easter Cards

Handwritten cards are always a kind gesture. Teach your kids or your grandkids the art of sending letters by making your own Easter cards to send, snail-mail style, to friends and family. Construction paper and markers will do just fine, or you can find a template online, like this one by Martha Stewart.

3. Bake an Easter Quiche

Who doesn’t love a hearty Easter brunch with loved ones? If you’re getting sick of deviled eggs, try a quiche. It’s easy to make and you can prepare it ahead of time so you can spend less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying the day with your family. If you don’t already have a quiche recipe in your lineup, check out these 9 different variations that are perfect for the occasion.

easter quiche

4. Host an Easter Egg Hunt

The main event — a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. Why not be the host this year? Recruit your kids or grandkids to help you fill up hollow, plastic Easter eggs (which you can usually find at a dollar store) with different treats and prizes.

This is where things get fun. You can stuff your eggs with candy, toys, gift cards, cash — whatever you think is best! Check out this article for even more tips and ideas for hosting the perfect egg hunt.

5. Plant Tulips

One of the most popular potted flowers to buy around Easter-time are tulips. Did you know that you can plant tulip bulbs outside after they’ve bloomed? This is a fun Easter day or after-Easter activity for you and your family, especially if you give each other potted tulips as a gift.

spring tulips

Sometimes it takes up to two years for the tulips to bloom again once they’ve been replanted, but you can make it a tradition each year to check on them and even plant a few more! For more detailed instructions on how to replant your tulip bulbs, take a look at this article.

How are you planning to spend Easter this year? We’d love to hear about your traditions, new and old. Give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook!

Life After LASIK: What Can I Expect Post-Surgery?

LASIK Eye Health

If you’re living with astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), or hyperopia (farsightedness), you might have looked into LASIK eye surgery as a potential solution. LASIK eye surgery is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery to solve any of the above sight conditions.

According to the FDA, around 600,000 people in the U.S. choose to get LASIK surgery every year. And while the industry claims a +90% success rate, it’s important to know what to expect after the procedure.

Here are Readers.com, we care about the wellness of our customers, and want to provide you with the facts and knowledge you need to make an informed decision when it comes to your eye health. Keep reading to find out what you can expect as you recover from LASIK eye surgery.

  • Your eyes might feel dry. Immediately after surgery, your eyes will probably feel itchy and dry from the procedure. To help keep your eyes moist, your doctor will likely prescribe eyedrops that you can start using right away.
  • Your vision will likely be blurry and hazy until the next day. While you’ll probably feel normal after your surgery, you can expect some blurriness and haziness with your eyesight for at least a few hours post-surgery. For that reason, you’ll need to plan to have someone drive you home from your doctor’s office.
  • Don’t plan to do any strenuous exercise or physical activity for at least one week after surgery. It’s usually recommended to take it easy the week following your surgery so as not to strain or potentially injure your eyes. Any strain on your eyes can slow down and negatively affect your eyes’ natural healing process.
  • Always protect your eyes. After you do fully recover from the LASIK procedure, you’ll want to make sure you always protect your eyes with proper sunglasses, as well as safety and sport glasses. Eyes that have been through LASIK are more susceptible to injury than eyes that have not, so investing in good protection is a smart precaution to take.
  • Follow up with your doctor within 24-48 hours. Your doctor will likely already have this appointment scheduled before you even go into surgery. At this appointment, your doctor will check your eyesight and make sure you’re ready to get back to work and driving.
  • Schedule regular check-ups to monitor healing. Healing can take some patients up to 6 months, but takes others only a few weeks. After your initial follow-up, you’ll schedule additional appointments with your doctor to monitor the progress of your vision and to make sure your eyes are healing well.
  • You might still need to wear glasses and/or contact lenses. Depending on your vision before LASIK, you might still need a prescription to correct your eyesight. The good news is, your prescription will be much more mild than it was prior to getting LASIK eye surgery.
  • There’s a small chance you’ll need LASIK enhancement. LASIK enhancement is another procedure, done a few months after LASIK surgery, that is necessary in helping you reach optimal eyesight. Only 3-5% of patients require this touch-up procedure.
  • You might still need reading glasses. Even with effective results of LASIK eye surgery, people over 40 who’ve had the procedure might still need reading glasses due to age-related factors. Lucky for you, we’ve got hundreds of styles for you to choose from!

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5 Reading Glasses to Wear on Halloween

reading glasses to wear on halloween
Halloween is right around the corner … have you thought about your costume yet? Whether you’re passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, or heading to a monster mash, we’ve got a few costumes (for both women and men) that pair well with your favorite readers.

Take a look, and happy haunting!

For Women

1. Witch Costume

Witch Costume

A little bit spooky, a little bit chic. Add a little color to a classic witch costume with pops of green and a purple dress (that you can totally wear again).

Wear: The Lynn Polka Dot Reader

2. Flapper Girl Costume

Flapper Girl

Take it back to the days of prohibition and Gatsby with this roaring ’20s costume. With a swingy dress and a few fun accessories, you’ll be the life of the Halloween party.

Wear: The Ingrid Rhinestone Reader

3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Costume

Breakfast at Tiffany's Costume

You can’t go wrong with this timeless classic. Channel your inner Audrey in strands of pearls, a rhinestone tiara, and of course, a tinted pair of retro square reading glasses that radiate cool.

Wear: The Arizona Bifocal Sun Reader

For Men

4. Where’s Waldo Costume

Where's Waldo

Pull from items you likely already have in your closet for this humorous Halloween costume everyone will love. The finishing touch on your Where’s Waldo costume are our round, thick-framed readers you’ll wear over and over again.

Wear: The Architect

5. Mad Scientist

Mad Scientist

Wacky and weird, this mad scientist costume is sure to put a smile on some faces this Halloween. Find an inexpensive white lab coat, and top it off with lab-inspired accessories like a clipboard, bottles, and reading glasses.

Wear: The Walter Bifocal

No matter which costume you choose to wear on October 31, we hope you have a fun, safe Halloween filled with sweet treats and friends. Happy Halloween!

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