Find your ancestors from sea to shining sea with these 75 genealogy websites focused on states across the USA.
Historical records kept by states are extremely important for genealogists researching roots from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii. Over the years, state archives and historical societies have increasingly put their old records online, which means you can access them in a few clicks rather than traversing the United States’ purple mountain majesties and fruited plains.
In fact, this year’s yield of the 75 best state-focused websites—at least one per state—boasts millions of historical records including newspaper pages, wills, military service and pension papers, and other documents. You’ll also find databases blossoming with ancestral names and details. The majority of these riches are accessible for free. Once you check out the bounty on these sites, chances are good you’ll haul in a bumper crop of ancestor answers.
Alabama Department of Archives and History
Click on Search Our Collections to search for a name in Civil War service cards, 1867 voter registrations and WWI soldiers databases. Online catalogs cover microfilmed newspapers available on interlibrary loan, as well as local and county records, church records and maps available at the archives.
Alaska State Archives
Access indexes to naturalization records (1888-1972) and probate records (1883-1960), and view guidelines for requesting information from the archives.
Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates
Search here for births (1855-1938) and deaths (1870-1963), and view the original records online.
Search for a name in more than 1 million gravestone photos in the Natural State. Walmart founder Sam Walton’s modest gravestone is here, along with a biography.
Click on the Search tab to scour the whole site at once and find your ancestor mentioned in this motley assortment of Arkansas obituaries, gravestone photos and the Arkansas Gazette (1819-1850).
California Digital Newspaper Collection
This site puts at your fingertips nearly 7 million articles published in California newspapers from 1846 to the present. When you search, place quotation marks around a name to find it as an exact phrase.
California Genealogical Society and Library
Click the Databases tab to search 350,000 records in the California Names Index for free. Order a lookup in the original source for $10. Members also get online access to San Francisco church birth and marriage records and newspaper notices.
Online Archive of California
This site describes collections of diaries, letters, photographs and other items at more than 200 libraries, museums, historical societies and university archives across the Golden State. You also can view more than 220,000 digital images and documents.
San Francisco Genealogy
In addition to extensive resources for the San Francisco Bay area, this site has statewide indexes to births (1905-1995) and deaths (1940-1997). Also check out the links to other online resources for California genealogy.
Colorado State Archives
Archives Search scours more than 2.4 million entries in original sources, including county birth and death registers, a statewide divorce index (1880-1939), and will and probate records. Order copies of the original records for a fee.
Denver Public Library Digital Collections
A search of the genealogy collections here covers many resources, including indexes to marriages, military records, biographies, obituaries, the 1885 Colorado state census, and cemetery and naturalization records.
Jane Devlin’s website gives you free access to many genealogy resources from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. They include comprehensive church and cemetery record indexes from Connecticut. Use the Search box at the top of the page to find a name anywhere on the site.
Connecticut State Library Digital Collections
Search and view 27 collections of digitized books, diaries, photographs, court records, witchcraft trial records, newspapers, vital records indexes and more. Materials come from the Connecticut State Library, the Connecticut State Archives and the Museum of Connecticut History.
Delaware Public Archives
Click on the Digital Archives link to access Civil War records, naturalizations, probate records, historical maps and more. Click on Research and then on Collection Gateway to search indexes to bastardy bonds, death registers and probate records. You can order copies of the records for a fee.
Florida Memory Project
Free databases from the State Library and Archives of Florida include Confederate pension applications, WWI service cards, Spanish land grants and more than 180,000 photographs. Download documents and images for free or order high-resolution prints and photo scans for a fee.
Digital Library of Georgia
If your ancestors hailed from the Peach State, you can cover a lot of ground here with a single search of digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and more from more than 60 libraries, archives, museums and government agencies. Use the Advanced Search to limit your search by place, a range of years and media type, such as obituaries or photographs.
Click on Virtual Vault on the right side of the home page to search Colonial-era wills, Confederate pension applications, death certificates (1914-1927) and the General Name File. Use the Search box to search across multiple collections or click on the Advanced Search tab. View digitized images of the original records for free.
Hawaii State Archives
Under Research Our Records, click on Genealogical Indexes to search marriage, divorce, citizenship and other records. You can order copies of the records for a fee. Click on Digital Collections to search vital records, land records, passenger lists and WWI service records. View these records online for free.
Idaho State Historical Society: Searchable Indexes
Search for your ancestor in the Potato State with these indexes to naturalization records, Civil War veterans, pension records, the inmate catalog and the Idaho Biographical Index. When you find a promising reference, contact the Idaho State Archives for more details.
Illinois State Archives
Click on Databases to search various county indexes to births, wills and other records, as well as statewide indexes to marriages (1763-1900) and deaths (pre-1916 and 1916-1950). Another 11 databases cover Illinois war veterans. Use the Global Database Search to cover all the databases at once. The database descriptions tell how to order copies of the original records.
Indiana State Digital Archives
Search indexes to nearly 3 million records with information on veterans of the Civil War, the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War, as well as negro and mulatto registers from 1852, naturalization indexes and more.
Indiana State Library: Genealogy Collection
Click on Databases in the site index at the left and scroll down to Indiana State Library Databases to search indexes to marriages, deaths, biographies and newspapers. Indiana Memory has digitized images of county histories, oral histories, plat books, city directories, photographs, newspapers, yearbooks and more. Climb the VINE database for Indiana local history and vital records from libraries, historical societies and genealogical societies.
Iowa GenWeb Project
One of the most useful state websites in the USGenWeb Project
<>, this Hawkeye State site has more than a million gravestone photos, more than 2,900 family group sheets, state census transcriptions from 1836 to 1925 and more. Under Quick Links, select either a county or a special project.
Kansas Historical Society: Genealogy Indexes
Two large indexes on this site will help you find your ancestors in the Sunflower State. The Kansas Names Index covers the 1895 state census, biographies, marriages, death notices and more. The Kansas Military Index has records from the Civil War to today. Select Purchase or Use Photos from the Research tab for instructions on how to order copies.
Kentucky Digital Library
Search digital images of more than a million items from the Bluegrass State, including books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, oral histories and pictures.
Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index
A digitized version of a card file with more than 650,000 names at the New Orleans Public Library, this database indexes obituaries and death notices published in New Orleans newspapers from 1804 to 1972, and biographical information published in Louisiana biographical collections. Get copies of your finds in the index for just $2.
Louisiana State Archives
Click on Locate Historical Records to search a vital records index covering death records (mostly 1804-1963), birth records (mostly 1790-1913) and Orleans Parish marriages (1831-1969). Other online databases cover passenger lists from January to July 1851 and Confederate pension applications.
Chris Dunham’s site has extensive resources for researching your ancestry in the Pine Tree State, including indexes to vital records, obituaries, passenger lists, military records and court records. Use the First Name and Last Name boxes at the top of any page to search all the files at once.
Maine State Archives
Search indexes to marriages (1892-2009) and deaths (1960-2009). Under Services for Researchers, click on Military to search an index to Revolutionary War land grants and pension applications and various Civil War records.
Archives of Maryland Online
This online collection from the Maryland State Archives has more than 471,000 historical documents. Click on Probate Records for an index to colonial probate records (1634-1777) and on Military Records for American Revolution and Civil War resources.
Maryland State Archives
Under Quick Links, click on Reference & Research for links to genealogical resources across this site, including guides to research and various indexes. To search death indexes, click on Maryland Vital Records under Quick Links, and then on Search MD Vital Records.
Search indexes to birth, marriage and death records (1841-1910), plus an in-progress index to passengers arriving in Boston between 1848 and 1891. The Archives Collection includes church, town, Indian and maritime records from 1629 to 1799.
This growing site has more than a million digitized records, including death records (1897-1920), state census records (1827-1894), Civil War service records, letters, diaries, photographs and plat maps. Click on Advanced Search to select one or more collections to search.
Western Michigan Genealogical Society
Search indexes to more than 2.3 million marriages, deaths, obituaries, censuses and other records for free. Order copies of most records for $5.
Minnesota Discovery Center: Iron Range Research Center
Search a database that covers 1.4 million birth, marriage and cemetery records from the Iron Range, plus alien registrations, naturalization records and obituaries from across Minnesota. You can order a copy of a record for $10.
Minnesota Historical Society
Trace your ancestors in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with indexes to veterans’ graves, state censuses (1849-1905), birth records (1900-1934, plus a few earlier ones) and death records (1904-2001). Use PeopleFinder to search all of these databases and others in one fell swoop. Don’t miss the Research Guides, either.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Click on Digital Archives to view Confederate Pension applications and WWI statement of service cards and indexes. Check the site’s Genealogy section for finding aids to key record collections at the archives. Use the online catalog to identify specific records. If you can’t do research in person, the Research Requests section has a list of freelance researchers.
Missouri Digital Heritage
Access more than 9 million death, military, naturalization, census and other records from around the Show Me State through this site’s main search form. Click on Browse Collections by Topic and then on Genealogy to see what records are available and to search individual databases.
Montana Memory Project
View digitized newspapers, yearbooks, prison records,
photographs and more from archives across the state.
Montana State Genealogical Society
Click On Line Data to view an index to 700,000 Montana deaths through 2002. It’s arranged by decade. Other free indexes cover marriage and naturalization records of Norwegian immigrants.
Nebraska State Historical Society
From the Search Collections tab, select Additional Research Databases to access indexes to names in cemetery records, county atlases, plat books, old telephone directories, prison records and more. The 1860-1954 Tract Books Index covers the first owners of land in Nebraska. You’ll also find digitized photos and artifacts under Search Photo Collections.
Clark County Recorder’s Office Records Search System
Search this online index for ancestors who tied the knot in Las Vegas, and elsewhere in Clark County, since 1900. You can get basic details (couple’s names and certificate date and number) online and order the record for a fee.
New Hampshire Genealogy and History at SEARCHROOTS
This extensive guide to researching your family history in New Hampshire covers all the major record groups and has numerous links to online resources. Select a county under County List to get details on resources for every county and town in the state.
New Jersey State Archives
These databases include indexes to marriage records (1666-1799 and 1848-1878), and indexes to death records (1878-1890). The search engines cover over a million references to documents and photographs.
New Mexico Archives Project
Scroll down the home page here to access statewide indexes to almost 51,000 deaths in the Land of Enchantment from 1899 to 1949.
German Genealogy Group
and Italian Genealogical Group
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of volunteers in these two groups, you can search indexes to births, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and church records in New York City and Long Island. On either site, click Database Searches on the left to get started. When using the marriage indexes, it’s easy to identify someone’s spouse.
New York Counties Will Testators Index
This index covers more than 260,000 New York wills. Browse by county or click on Search This Site Engine to search for a name on the entire site. Enter the last name first and put quotations around the name to search on the phrase like this “Robertson, John.” Optionally, add the name of a town or county, like “Robertson, John” Worcester, to narrow the search.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
Despite this site’s name, it has digitized newspapers from all over New York. Search for a word or phrase anywhere in more than 26 million newspaper pages. To download the complete list, click on (1) FAQ_HELP_INDEX at the top of the screen, (2) “to browse the different papers, click Here,” and (3) “Download this index as a Microsoft Excel file.” More newspapers are continually being added, so check back regularly.
North Carolina Family Records Online
A project of the State Library and State Archives of North Carolina, this site has nearly 1,500 Bible records, marriage and death notices from five North Carolina newspapers published between 1799 and 1893, and photographs of gravestones in Jewish cemeteries in Raleigh.
State Archives of North Carolina
Under the For the Public tab, click on Online Catalog and Finding Aids. The MARS Online Catalog describes manuscripts in detail, so it’s worth searching it for names in your family tree. In the section on Online Finding Aids, click on County Records Box Lists to access indexes to many county court records, including divorces, estates, guardianships, marriages licenses and wills.
North Dakota Department of Public Health Public Death Index
Search death certificates from 1881 on. Searches are limited to a 10-year span, so if you don’t know the year of death, you might have to do multiple searches.
North Dakota State University Institute for Regional Studies
Search databases here for the statewide North Dakota Biography Index, 212,000 naturalization records, the 1885 Dakota Territory census for counties in present-day North Dakota and obituaries from the Fargo Forum newspaper, plus indexes to Cass County marriages, divorces and probate records.
A collaborative project of the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio, this collection includes digitized newspapers, photos, gravestone registration cards and other items from more than 350 cultural heritage institutions.
Ohio Obituary Index
Search an index to nearly 2.9 million Ohio marriage notices, death notices and obituaries dating back to the early 19th century. Order copies of the original newspaper items for a small fee.
Oklahoma Historical Society
Click on Research Center to access several databases: Under Records, you’ll find the 1890 territorial census, the Dawes Final Rolls and Smith’s First Directory of Oklahoma Territory. Under Genealogy, you can search indexes to marriages, obituaries and yearbooks.
Genealogical Forum of Oregon
Click on the Indexes in the Research box to search multiple databases at once, including land claims, marriage and death records and obituaries. Order copies of records for a fee.
Oregon Historical Records Index
Search more than 600,000 names from county records, including birth, marriage, death, divorce, naturalization and probate records.
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
Click on Digital Copies of Documents for a handy jumping off point to online records from the Pennsylvania State Archives. ARIAS has military records from the Revolutionary War to World War I. Many of these records even include soldiers’ physical descriptions. Land records date from 1681 to 1957; you can browse the indexes.
Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission
More than just an index to gravestones, this site includes dates of birth and death, names of family members and maps.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Click on the link for Online Research to search more than 300,000 items (many with images), including records of Confederate veterans (1909-1973), criminal court records, state land-grant plats, legislative papers, will transcripts (1782-1855) and even 2,662 school insurance photos (1935-1952).
South Dakota Birth Records
More than 260,000 South Dakota births are searchable here, including many delayed birth certificates issued for people born before statewide registration began in 1905.
South Dakota State Historical Society
Find your ancestors in the Mount Rushmore State with the help of these indexes to naturalizations, cemetery records and biographies, plus a transcript of the 1885 census of Civil War veterans.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Indexes cover Tennessee death records (1908-1912 and 1914-1933), death notices in Nashville newspapers (1855-1907), Confederate pension applications and Nashville city directories (1853-1924).
Texas Heritage Online
A partnership between libraries and museums across the state, this site includes digitized books, newspapers, photographs, yearbooks and other items. You can browse or search across the whole collection.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Databases for researching your ancestors in the Lone Star State include an index to Confederate pension applications, lists of indigent Confederate families and digitized Republic claims. Order photocopies of the pension applications or view them on subscription site Ancestry.com
Utah Cemeteries and Burials Database
This database contains cemetery records for about 600,000 people buried in Utah, with more burials continually being added. The information comes from both sexton records and gravestones.
Search for a word that appears anywhere in more than a million pages of Beehive State newspapers dating from 1850 to 2010. Digital Utah
<> has links to more digital collections of maps, photos, documents and more from repositories across the Beehive State.
Utah State Archives Name Indexes
The Utah state archives created this convenient list of online records that are searchable by name from a box on the site’s home page. In addition to images of death certificates (1904-1961), you also can search birth registers and other records from several counties. Scroll down to access one database at a time.
Vermont Historical Society
Under the Research tab, select Genealogy and then Genealogy Indexes & Lists. There, you’ll find links to PDF files with indexes and transcriptions of various documents, including baptisms, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and town records.
Library of Virginia
Among this site’s bounty of indexes and digitized documents, don’t overlook the index to wills and administrations up to 1800 at <www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/opac/willsabout.htm>. The Library of Virginia has a separate website for digitized materials at Virginia Memory <www.virginiamemory.com>. There, start by looking under the Digital Collections tab and selecting Collections by Topic. Under Military Service, you’ll find Revolutionary War records and Confederate pension rolls. Under Land Office Patents & Grants, discover digitized land records back to the 17th century.
Washington State Archives: Digital Archives
This terrific site already has more than 50 million searchable records online, including birth, marriage, death, census, cemetery and naturalization records. On the home page, search by name or keyword in all collections or just one. For more advanced search options, select a collection under Detailed Search. Click News for archivists’ highlights from the collections.
Washington State Library
To find your ancestor mentioned in Washington newspapers published between 1852 and 1892, click on Digital
Collections and then on Historical Newspaper in Washington. Use the Personal Name Search. Back on the home page, click on Genealogy for an overview of family history resources at the library.
West Virginia Archives and History
In this site’s Genealogy Corner, click the Birth, Death and Marriage Records link to search and view digitized birth (1790-1938), marriage (1780-1971) and death (1845-1963) records from the Mountain State. The collections aren’t complete for all counties, but check back periodically, as the archives continues to add more records.
Wisconsin Historical Society
The search on the home page here covers more than 3 million records at once, including indexes to birth, marriage and death records; plus newspaper obituaries, biographies and photos. Scroll down the page for links to other resources, including Civil War records, maps, and local history and biography articles.
Search and view nearly 800,000 newspaper pages from more than 330 newspaper titles. Coverage includes most newspapers published in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922. Click on the FAQ tab at the top for tips on searching the data on this site.
The USGenWeb Project
provides additional free resources for you to find ancestors in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
State-specific databases on FamilySearch.org
have been growing by leaps and bounds. Check this free site for collections from all states (except Alaska), plus the District of Columbia.
From the December 2014 Family Tree Magazine