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Web Sites for Genealogical Research

Most researchers, including novices, have already explored the Internet world in regards to finding sources of information about family history. But every once in a while it is good to update the list of web sites available.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Alan Smith
Word Count: 838 (approx.)
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Most researchers, including novices, have already explored the Internet world in regards to finding sources of information about family history. But every once in a while it is good to update the list of web sites available. I was surprised to see how many new sites had popped into view since I did my last surfing of sites. I decided to list some of the old and new sites with a brief description of what can be found on each. The * asterisk means I have already devoted a written article about the site.

Ancestry.com: I can remember when this site was free, which shows how long I've been trying to find information on the web. Ancestry.com has many links to entice you with some possibility of finding information for a fee. Many libraries and local genealogical societies subscribe to this site and patrons can search it for free, on site.

Castle Garden: Offers free access to its database of 10 million immigrants from 1830 to 1892. Castle garden is now known as Castle Clinton National Monument, which is a 23-acre waterfront park in New York, City.

County Genealogical Web Sites: A majority of counties in all fifty states have organized enough to incorporate some kind of web site. Some have used the USGenWeb Project as a host and others have established their own web sites. You should always visit each of the counties in which your ancestors have lived. Some of these web sites are very easy to access and are extremely helpful. Some can refer or link you to many other databases and web sites.

Cydi's List: This web site has been around for quite some time and is really a first stop for any new researcher. It provides alphabetical links hundreds genealogy subjects. It is a great site to surf and not only track down sources, but also gain ideas, insights and subjects which you might not otherwise have considered.

*DAR: The DAR Library has several online databases.

Family Associations: Many surnames have one or perhaps several associations which maintain their own web sites. Some associations do not offer much in services while others provide a unique network of features which can provide a researcher of a particular surname with a lot of information. Mailing lists, DNA projects, and family tree postings are some of the services available with properly maintained and managed associations.

FamilySearch: This site is run by the LDS (Mormon) Church and offers by far one of the most useful databases that can be accessed without charge. I particularly like the way you can search census and other databases at the same time. The search engine also provides a useful, up to 20-year date range, allowing you to narrow down when a document may have been created.

GenForum: An online bulletin board where researchers can post questions or messages about family history. Genforum is part of Genealogy.com, which is part of The Generations Network.

USGenWeb: Established in 1996, USGenWeb is a project consisting of volunteers working together to provide Internet web sites for genealogical research. A majority of county genealogical organizations use the project to host their web sites.

Libraries: Thousands of libraries have their own web sites, and many devote complete sections to local and general genealogical research. A researcher should check city, county and state libraries for information that might be available concerning your family history. Some libraries have massive collections, which not only feature local family history but data concerning families from all over the Unites States. It is surprising the many resources, including periodicals and specialized collections are available that may afford a whole new slant on your research project. Most libraries have an online catalog of the materials which you can find on their shelves.

JewishGen: This web site features "Shtetlseeker," a database that provides a way of locating towns in Central Europe.

My Heritage: This web site is located in Israel and features a large search engine devoted to finding research data about people all over the world.

*NARA: This site has a collection of records from every branch of the government; some are accessible on the web while others must be accessed by formal request. The NARA has some two million maps since 1774 and services to aid in finding area maps both of the past and present.

*NGS: This web site has many links to libraries and archives, societies and organizations, ethnic resources, immigration sites and others miscellaneous and general sites.

Olive Tree Genealogy: This is a FREE web site offering several accessible databases with genealogical information. It has both American and Canadian databases.

RootsWeb: The primary purpose of RootsWeb is to help people connect with other people in genealogy. Here you can submit data, upload information, post your surnames, join a mailing list, or scan databases.

Search Engines: Search engines like Yahoo, Google and others offer a starting point to search the web for relevant information concerning your family. Do not underestimate what can be found by typing key family surnames, locations and other key nouns pertinent to your research.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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