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Top Ten Genealogy Websites

The first eight websites are free and the last two are subscription based. There are many more good websites but these are just a few that will get you started.

1.  Cyndi’s List  http://www.cyndislist.com

An alphabetical listing of more than 150 genealogical categories with over 200,000 links to web sites. An excellent starting point for any genealogical research on the net.

2.      U.S. GenWeb Project  http://usgenweb.org

This is a massive web site run by volunteers. There is a web site for each of the 3,125 counties in the United States. These county pages contain county histories, biographies, census, cemetery, marriage, birth, and bible records, and lists of local newspapers, among other things. What appears on the site depends on what the local volunteers have put there. Some counties have volunteers to do look-ups in local collections. The project also includes a digital library (archives) of actual transcriptions of public domain records.

3.      World GenWeb Projects  http://www.worldgenweb.org/

This project is divided into fifteen world regions arranged by country and usually run by someone living in that country. Each country is divided into individual provinces, states, or counties (terms vary depending on locale). You can search these sites to find maps, how-to information, history, translation help, vital records, passenger ship lists, property records, other useful information, and to make contacts with people living in the country you are researching.

4.      FamilySearch  http://familysearch.org

This is the Family History Library web site. It contains hundreds of thousands of genealogical records from all over the world from their Ancestral File and the International Genealogical Index. The U.S. 1880 census and the British and Canadian 1881 censuses has been recently added. This site also has dozens of excellent source guides written by experts that can be printed out. The online catalog of material in the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, UT is also available. Much of the material in the library has been microfilmed and can be can be ordered by your local Family History Center and read there.

5.      RootsWeb   http://www.rootsweb.com/

This is the Internet’s oldest and largest free genealogical web site and contains millions of names and genealogies. RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees, an online tutorial, is written and compiled by Julia M. Case, Rhonda McClure and Myra Vanderpool Gormley. RootsWeb also hosts other databases and projects:

RootsWeb Surname List  http://rsl.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/rslsql.cgi

The RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) is a list or registry of 806,397 surnames. Associated with each surname are dates, locations (showing migration), and information about how to contact the person who submitted the information.

Roots-L  http://www.rootsweb.com/roots-l/

This is a free listserve/mailing list for people interested in genealogy. You can subscribe to one of the many listserves and automatically receive messages and queries submitted by people researching in your area of interest (surnames, places, and subjects). You can respond directly to the list for all subscribers to see or you can respond privately to individuals on the list.

Obituary Daily Times   http://www.rootsweb.com/~obituary/

This quickly growing web site contains an index to over 8 million obituaries in the United States and Canada. The project started in the late 1990s and has volunteers contributing material daily.

6.      Bureau of Land Management  http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/

This General Land Office (GLO) site contains two million land patents and provides live database access to federal land conveyance records for thirty-two states issued between 1820 and 1908. This does not include the original thirteen colonies, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, and Hawaii. Land patents document the transfer of land ownership from the federal government to individuals. To search for land patents go to “Search Land Patents” at the top of the BLM homepage.

7.      National Archives and Records Administration  http://www.nara.gov/

Genealogists are the most numerous users of the Washington, DC, research rooms and the thirteen regional facilities of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This web site provides information about many of the finding aids, guides, and research tools that can prepare you for a visit to one of their facilities or for requesting records from NARA. The site contains information about federal census, court records, military records, naturalization records, visa, alien registrations, and some passport records, African-American, and Native American materials. You can find a guide to the records that have been microfilmed by NARA. These films can sometimes be borrowed from your Family History Center or purchased from the National Archives.

8. Ellis Island Records  http://www.ellisislandrecords.org

This web site contains a searchable database of over 22 million names of immigrants, passengers, and crewmembers that came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York from 1892 to 1924. The transcriptions were done by volunteers of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

These last two websites are commercial, subscription based.

9. Ancestry.com  http://www.ancestry.com

A large commercial database with over 500 million genealogical records. They now have over 4,000 databases and 2 billion names with new databases added each day. Some databases are free to view but only subscribers can view the majority of the material. One of the most useful databases is the images of the U.S. 1790-1930 census records. Also useful is the 1890 Census Substitute.

The Library version of Ancestry.com is AncestryPlus which is available through Gale Research.

Ancestry also has several military records databases, the British Records database (includes directories and parish records from 1680-1830), and the Mexican Parish Records (for 1751-1880 including 400,000 names). Other useful indexes include the Social Security Death Index, and American Genealogical-Biographical Index.

10. Heritage Quest Online

This database is only available in libraries but can be accessed from home with a library card. Heritage Quest Online contains images of many census records, 1790-1820, 1860-1870, and 1900-1930. These records are indexed and you may search by first name, last name, place, age, sex, and birthplace.

Heritage Quest Online also has searchable the full-text of 25,000 family and local history books.

Ask Janna and Daniela to look on Heritage Quest for you. Click on Help Me! to ask your question.