If you have a military ancestor buried in an
overseas cemetery, this is the place to look: The site has details on nearly
125,000 American war dead in 24 overseas cemeteries, plus an additional 94,000
soldiers commemorated on Tablets of the Missing.
Bureau of Land Management
General Land Office Records
This site now lets you find ancestors’
land records using a map interface instead of filling out search criteria.
Another map interface lets you plot where each description from a land patent
or survey is located so it’s even easier to tease out ancestral
answers from the more than 5 million land title records, plus survey plats and
field notes, found here.
Still relatively new, this site lets you search
more than 665 million US census records for free, then pay to view the actual
records, starting at $7.95 for 1,000 credits. Alternatively, an annual
subscription costs just $34.95.
War Soldiers & Sailors System
With 6.3 million soldiers’ names from
both sides, plus info on 18,000 African-American sailors, this remains the
essential starting place for finding Civil War ancestors. You can click from
individual entries to concise regimental and battle histories, and even view
all the soldiers in your ancestor’s unit.
Daughters of the American
No longer do you have to write away (or travel to Washington, DC
) for the research of DAR members into their Revolutionary War
ancestors and those patriots’ millions of descendants. It’s
all here in three interlinked DAR Genealogical
Research System databases
. Once you find records worth
delving deeper, you can order online.
Digital Public Library of
This new site, years in the making, aggregates
metadata from other libraries’ websites so you can search for
digitized books, photos audio, video and more in one place. Content comes from
hundreds of libraries, archives, museums, and schools across the United States
and abroad. Search results link you to the digitized item on the partner
Besides 1 to 3 million new records every
month—most in the military vein that’s now
Fold3’s niche—there’s a new Training Center with
tutorials and videos. These new features plus the site’s store of
nearly 400 million records help you get the most bang for the buck from your
$79.95 annual subscription.
Most notable for its more than 6,500 newspapers
representing all 50 states, this subscription site ($69.95 annually) boasts
that 95 percent of its 1.4 billion records are nowhere else online. Other
highlights include 215 million obituaries—the largest such online
archive—and US military records.
Your local library will need to subscribe to
this collection aimed at institutions. When it does, you can search all US
federal censuses, the US Serial Set, Freedmen’s Bank records,
Revolutionary War pension and bounty land applications, and 28,000 family and
local histories. Then you can see what else your library might have to offer by
searching the PERSI index to 2.3 million genealogy articles.
The Chronicling America newspaper collection
recently posted its six millionth page. When not reading all the news that was
fit to print, you can explore the digital American Memory collection, search
the online catalog and consult the National Union Catalog of Manuscript
This pair of sites chronicles the 19th century
via books and journal articles (3.8 million pages from nearly 13,000 volumes at
the University of Michigan site) and periodicals (more than 900,000 pages from
more than 1,200 volumes at the Cornell University site). The latter also
includes a digital version of the “OR,” the multi-volume
Record of the Civil War
you can search each volume
National Archives and Records
Despite some hiccups from sequestration cuts,
the “nation’s attic” still offers access to more
than 85 million online records (including WWII enlistment files), the Archival
Research Catalog index to 6.3 million records and online ordering of military
records. And some of the archives’ most popular genealogy workshops
are now on its YouTube channel.
This domestic counterpart of the American Battle
Monuments Commission lets you search for burials of veterans and their family
in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, other military and
Department of Interior cemeteries, and if the grave has a government marker,
This new subscription site from Ancestry.com
serves up 41.5 million pages and counting from more than 900 US newspapers.
Most don’t duplicate the newspapers already online at Ancestry.com,
whose members (as well as subscribers to Fold3) get a break at $39.95 a year.
Others pay $79.95.
Sites for every state and most
counties await beneath the unassuming exterior of this long-running volunteer
project, along with digital maps and special projects on censuses, tombstones,
military pensions and more.
Click the category below to see the best websites from that category:
From the September
2013 Family Tree Magazine