When people begin to trace their family history, often the first purchase or download they make is a software package to record and track their finds. However, there is one other piece of essential software you will need, a .pdf reader. PDF stand for ‘portable document format’, and it can be used on a range of platforms without the overall appearance of the document changing. What is more, it is also widely used to display information on genealogy sites, so it is essential that you have a copy on your computer. Don’t worry, this is not something you need to part with any cash for, you can obtain a copy for free by simply going to this page.
Once you have installed that, head over to Google Books, where you will find copies of many useful reference works, biographies, topographies and other useful material. This is a good place to go to find works that may contain background information about the places your ancestors lived, or the jobs they did, or even them themselves. Some of the books are only available in extract form, others are full books which can be saved or download for free.