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Search Tricks for Genealogy Websites
Don’t go online without our essential guide to 10 key websites for genealogy research.
The largest and most popular websites for genealogists are constantly growing and improving. Our guide to 10 top websites for researching your family history highlights the newest additions and offers tips for discovering ancestral information on,,, Fold3, GenealogyBank, Geni, Mocavo, MyHeritage, and World Vital Records. We’ll start with this overview of the sites and how to search them, then offer quick guides with specifics on each site.
To illustrate what you can expect to find in these key sites, I’ll use an example from my own research. When I began looking for my second-great-granduncle John H. Pennington, I knew only that he was born about 1849 in Maine and his family was in the 1880 census of Glyndon, Minn. Soon thereafter, according to descendants, his wife and children returned to eastern Canada and he went to the West, but no one knew where. What became of him was a mystery. 

My breakthrough came in large online newspaper collections, helping me track John’s moves across 17 states and eight foreign countries, his business deals, and his marriages. The articles sent me to other sources, most on the 10 websites in this guide. Although every research case is different, the same strategies and resources I used to pursue John will help you track down your own elusive ancestors on the top websites for genealogy research. Click here for details of my online search for John H. Pennington.
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