Use these outstanding nationwide and state-specific sites to find your ancestors from sea to shining sea.
See the Military section to find more state-specific standouts.
Archives of Maryland Online
Access more than 471,000 historical documents, including Maryland land, military and probate records.
Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates
Don't you wish you could find all your family's birth and death certificates online? Those with Arizona ancestors can do so with this recently expanded index to births (1855 to 1932) and deaths (1844 to 1957), linked to PDFs of the original certificates.
Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records
This is the place to start exploring land records, including more than 3 million federal land title records for Eastern public-land states (1820 to 1908) and images of serial patents issued from 1908 to the mid-1960s. Images of field notes and survey plats, dating to 1810, are being added on a state-by-state basis. Searching is fast and powerful, and you'll find plenty of help for understanding the records you locate.
Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
Click on the county map to see what's available and where to find it in this collection of nearly 450,000 digitized pages from 136 Colorado newspapers, published from 1859 to 1933. Coverage spans 71 cities and 41 Centennial State counties. You'll need Internet Explorer to get the most out of this site.
Denver Public Library Western History Photography Collection
Picture the past of Colorado and the American West in this searchable, digitized selection of more than 120,000 images from the Denver Public Library and the Colorado Historical Society.
Florida Memory Project
Here, indexes link to digitized originals Spanish land grants, Confederate pension applications and WWI service cards. The Florida Photographic Collection www.floridamemory.com/PhotographicCollection shows off the state's past in 143,000 online images.
Illinois State Archives Online Databases
Search statewide indexes of marriages (1763 to 1900) and deaths (pre-1916 and 1916 to 1950), plus veterans' records ranging from the War of 1812 to the 1929 Roll of Honor. An index to the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories will tell you where to go next in search of records on your Prairie State ancestors.
Maine State Archives
A new interactive feature lets you search online databases such as the marriage index (1892 to 1967 and 1976 to 1996), then order copies of the records you find. Don't miss the primer on Maine genealogy or the link to the Maine Memory Network www.mainememory.net, which holds more than 12,000 pieces of history from 180-plus museum and other archives.
Making of America: University of Michigan and Cornell University
These tandem sites serve up more than 4.7 million pages from historic books and journals chronicling America's story. Recent additions include 99 volumes about New York City and a shelf-ful of titles about the Civil War. You'll find the searchable OR on the Cornell University site.
The star attractions here are the index to vital records (1841 to 1910) and the in-progress database that will index more than 1 million immigrants through the port of Boston from 1848 to 1891.
Minnesota Historical Society
Besides databases of Minnesota deaths (1904 to 1907 and 1908 to 2001) and births (1900 to 1934), this rich site rewards visitors with a guide to place names and more than 127,000 digitized images ranging from Sanborn Insurance maps to, of course, photos of many of the state's 10,000 lakes.
Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative
This new site is a one-stop shop for digitized historical records, abstracts and indexes from the state archives and other repositories throughout Missouri. Use the links under Collections to access the Missouri Soldiers Database, historical photos, maps, birth and death records, naturalizations, coroner's inquest abstracts, a state supreme court case index, newspapers and more. The record you need isn't digitized? Click the link to the Local Records Inventory Database, which can help you find out where to write for copies of your ancestors' county-level records.
National Archives and Records Administration
This site will not only help you get started researching in person at the National Archives' Washington, DC, headquarters and its regional facilities around the country, but it increasingly lets you tap its treasures from home (in combination with organizations such as Footnote). Access to Archival Databases encompasses more than 85 million historical records, including extracts from WWII Army enlistment papers and 19th-century arrivals of German, Italian, Irish and Russian immigrants. For historical photos and maps and American Indian records, try the Archival Research Catalog.
Nevada Census Online
Got Nevada ancestors? Skip those subscription sites and search the free Nevada census records from 1860 through 1920 (except the mostly destroyed 1890 census)—a total of 310,000 entries.
If you have New Englanders in your family tree, it's worth the $75 annual Research Membership to gain full access to this site's data on more than 110 million names. You also get Early American Newspapers 1690-1876, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Sanborn maps (1867 to 1970) and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847-2000.
Oregon State Archives
The Oregon Historical Records Index covers some 573,000 entries from vital records, naturalizations, censuses, probate and pensions. If that somehow fails to turn up what you need, the Oregon Historical County Records Guide and Provisional and Territorial Records Guide will tell you where else to look.
This sprawling all-volunteer site is packed with how-to tips, queries and records for every state and most counties within those states. Special projects usgenweb.org/projects cover subjects such as censuses, tombstones and family group sheets. Don't miss the easy-to-overlook search of the entire site searches.rootsweb.com/htdig/search.html or any one state rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/newsearch.htm.
USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
Find your ancestral stomping grounds, even if it's obscure or no longer around, among the 2 million American places in this database—then instantly map it using one of several online tools.
Washington State Digital Archives
Washington state's ambitious effort to digitize its past has now topped 32 million online records. Offerings vary by county—25 are represented with marriage records, some linked to images—but most include some births and deaths. Other records range from naturalizations to a database of the state's physicians.
Western States Historical Marriage Records Index
Search nearly 600,000 marriage records dating from the 18th century in New Mexico to 1930s Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. Other records come from Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, eastern Washington, western Colorado and selected California counties.
Wisconsin Historical Society
The Wisconsin Genealogy Index searches more than 150,000 Wisconsin obituaries and biographical sketches published before 1999, as well as 1 million births, 400,000 deaths and 1 million marriages registered before September 1907. The society's site also shares a wealth of Civil War records, including Wisconsin rosters and 1885, 1895 and 1905 veterans' censuses.