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101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2020

With so many genealogy websites available for your family history quest, how do you know which sites are the best? Leave it to our genealogy experts! We constantly scour the web for great resources, and once a year, whittle those down to our annual list of the 101 Best Genealogy Websites. Here, we’ve compiled our picks into a handy directory that makes it easy to find the top sites for your family history goals: Just choose the category that matches your interests to see the best sites to visit.

Summaries written by David A. Fryxell

101 Best Genealogy Websites Categories

Best Big Genealogy Websites

Ancestry.com

This subscription behemoth ($149 for six months’ global access) includes more than 32,000 collections, with 2019 or early 2020 additions including Holocaust records, WWII draft files and 10 million English parish records. Also new is the ability to search for other members by name or common interests. Use the Ancestry mobile app to take your trees and research with you.


FamilySearch

From family trees to more than 6 billion searchable records (and billions more to browse), this free site in an essential starting point and research bookmark. The Family Tree and Memories mobile apps let you research and record on the go.


FindMyPast

British Isles ancestors, subscribing to this site ($179 annually for full access) is a must. (The site also has a pay-as-you-go credit system, if you’d prefer that flexibility.) Findmypast also offers US censuses and other records, Australian collections, DNA testing, improved newspaper search and a companion mobile app.


Google

We’re emphasizing genealogy-focused sites in this list, but can’t omit this omnipresent search engine, which also offers mapping, book searching, translation, email
and much more.


HeritageQuest Online

You can’t subscribe to this service yourself, but your local library can—giving you free access with a library card. Originally just a half-dozen collections, HeritageQuest has partnered with Ancestry.com to add many of that site’s collections.


Internet Archive

Sort of like a Google that has time travel, the “Wayback Machine” here archives and searches more than 401 billion sites from the past. The main site also serves up a wealth of digital documents, including family and local histories, as well as goodies ranging from old-time radio to patents.


MyHertitage

Build your tree here, get your DNA tested ($79) and use SuperSearch to scour more than 10 billion records, including Scandinavian and French collections. Alerts link these elements, and a DNA hinting tool reconstructs possible tree relationships between genetic matches. Plus, a powerful mobile app puts most site features in the palm of your hand. Complete access to records and unlimited tree building costs $299 per year.

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Best Genealogy Records Websites

BillionGraves

Billing itself as the world’s largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data, BillionGraves invites users to contribute to its ambitious goal using a free app. Even if you don’t, you can easily search others’ uploads. A “Plus” upgrade ($54.99 annually) lets you check family and neighboring plots and get notifications of additions.


Blacksheep Ancestors

Maybe the solution to your pedigree puzzle lies in this site’s tales of outlaws and pirates or records of prisons, courts, executions and insane asylums. You’ll find these “black sheep” here in links and lists for the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.


BYU Idaho

Find your ancestors’ marriage records in 12 Western states among the 913,000 searchable entries here.


Find A Grave

Home to an ever-growing collection of searchable cemetery records since 1995, this site now tops 180 million volunteer transcriptions of the dearly departed.


Interment.net

Going beyond volunteer efforts, this 20-year-old site adds cemetery and other death records from fraternal groups, historical societies and government data. Check the advanced search tips to unlock the site’s powerful finding abilities.


Olive Tree Genealogy

This site hosts more than 1,900 pages on topics ranging from Loyalists to orphans, Huguenots to almshouses, Palatine genealogy to Native Americans.


Reclaim the Records

New York state death indexes, New Jersey marriages, post-1920 Missouri births and New York City marriages are just the latest success stories from this nonprofit public-records advocacy group. It liberates records—more than 25 million so far—using freedom of information laws and open-data requests.

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Best Family Tree and Sharing Websites

Geni

Now connecting more than 200 million individuals worldwide, this free family tree site makes it easier to involve other family members.


Rootsweb

Home to the WorldConnect Project of uploaded GEDCOM family trees, this pioneering site is also packed with transcripts, how-to’s, mailing lists and content from the former Ancestry Wiki, including The Source and Red Book.


Twile

Build and share an interactive family tree that combines your ancestry with world events.


WeRelate

Sharing is the byword at this unified family tree, where users also post photos and family stories.


Wikitree

Another all-in-one family tree, this collection of more than 22 million ancestor profiles stands out for its integration of DNA data (more than 6.4 million as of writing).

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Best Genealogy News Websites and Blogs

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Dick Eastman has been keeping us in the know about genealogy—especially tech tools—for more than 20 years. Get the latest on data additions, events, software and more.


Genealogy Bargains

Stop here before you shop to discover daily deals on DNA services, webinars, books, tech tools and all things genealogical.


Genealogy Gems

Family Tree Magazine’s own Lisa Louise Cooke serves up podcasts, videos, how-to articles and getting-started guides.


Genealogy Guys

The titular guys—George G. Morgan and Drew Smith—have been podcasting about genealogy since 2005, sharing news, tips, reviews and interviews. Rather read than listen? Check out their blog .


Genea-Musings

Packed with content, Randy Seaver’s charming blog mixes his own family history finds with the latest record additions, webinar schedules, tips and upload updates.


International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki

Get up to speed on DNA research with more than 600 expert articles, including “Before You Buy” advice.


The Life Writer

If (instead of research) you need help with writing it all down, this site serves up 440 lifestory questions to answer by text or audio-to-text transcription. Your content gets automatically organized into chapters like a memoir book. A onetime fee of $95 lets you access it all.


RootsTech

Relive this annual Salt Lake City conference—and its London offshoot—or see what you missed in the video archives.

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Best US Genealogy Websites

Access Genealogy

Specializing in US research, this free site stands out for yearbooks and directories, Native American records, land management tract books, and family and local histories.


American Ancestors

American AncesTREES, a family-tree-building
platform launched in 2019, enhances this site from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Though strongest on Yankee roots—definitely worth $94.95 per year if you’ve got New England ancestors—its more than 450 collections, totaling over 1.4 billion names, touch on most states.


Genealogy Trails

Launched 20 years ago as a volunteer transcription
site for Illinois data, this site has expanded nationwide over the years. No scanned images here, just transcriptions galore—from Alcatraz prisoners and muster rolls to obituaries and heirloom recipes.


National Archives and Records Administration

Order your veteran ancestors’ records here, then explore historic images, arrival records for emigrants from Germany and Russia, WWII enlistment records, and more.


Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

No longer limited to Ellis Island passengers, this site now hosts 65 million records of arrivals through the Port of New York dating back to 1820.


US Genweb

An essential bookmark for more than two decades, this collection of state, county and special-project pages shows what volunteers can accomplish in the Internet era.

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Best African-American Genealogy Websites

AfricaMap

From place names to trade routes, Adamawa to Voltaic tribes, this stunning site from Harvard’s Center for Geographical Analysis and its partners traces the slave trade.


Digital Library on American Slavery

Collections here include petitions about 150,000 individuals from court and legislative documents, information on 35,000 slave-trade voyages, and North Carolina runaway-slave advertisements and deeds.


Freedmen’s Bureau Project

This volunteer project has indexed nearly 1.8 million individuals found in records from the Freedmen’s Bureau, created after the Civil War to assist formerly enslaved African Americans.


International African American Museum Center
for Family History

This handsome site is home to photos, videos, articles, a helpful blog and a growing collection of funeral programs, obituaries, historical documents and family histories.


Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

Free registration unlocks access to 1.1 million pages from 11,110 volumes about slavery.

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Best Military Records Websites

American Battle Monuments Commission

Search for the overseas burial sites of more than 200,000 Americans who died in the two World Wars, and plan your trip to these cemeteries.


Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

Find your Union or Confederate ancestor in this database of 6.3 million men from 44 states and territories, then read about their regiments in more than 4,000 unit histories.


Daughters of the American Revolution

This venerable organization’s Genealogical Research System lets you search for Revolutionary War patriots, their descendants and DAR members’ links to them. You can also explore more than 80,000 Bible records, the DAR library catalog, and back issues of American Spirit magazine.


Fold3

Focused mostly (though not exclusively) on military records, this subscription site ($79.95 per year) covers every US conflict, including Revolutionary War and War of 1812 pensions, Civil War muster rolls, and (newly completed in 2020) WWII draft records.


Nationwide Gravesite Locator

If your military ancestors were buried on this side of the ocean, this site will find them and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and other US locations.

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Best State Genealogy Websites

Calisphere

This gateway to digital collections from California’s libraries, archives and museums features more than 1.7 million images, texts and recordings, on topics from hotels to holiday postcards, early pioneers to Japanese American internment camps.


Digital Library of Georgia

Powerful search tools make it easy to explore your Georgia ancestors among more than a half-million digitized documents.


Florida Memory Project

Among the more than 300,000 individual records from select collections housed in the State Library and Archives of Florida and digitized here are militia records, Spanish land grants, early auto registrations, Confederate pension applications and WWI service cards. You can also peruse old Florida maps, listen to old-time radio, watch hundreds of videos, and search more than 2,000 historical photos.


Illinois Digital Archives

Learn all about the Land of Lincoln at this handsome site from the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State’s office (which has its own data-filled site at). Collections include oral histories, newspapers, manuscripts, photos, letters, postcards and more.


Indiana Digital Archives

Hunt for your Hoosiers in 1.2 million searchable records. Collections cover military records, naturalizations, court documents and institutions, as well as photos.


Michiganology

Fans of the Seeking Michigan site, don’t panic: This new site has all the digital records from that past 101 honoree, including death records, state censuses and newspaper indexes—more than 10 million records in all. Keep a lookout for an additional 7 million indexed naturalization records that are in the works as of writing.


Minnesota Historical Society

The one-click People Records Search makes it easy to explore birth, death and state census records, veterans’ graves and the Gold Star Roll. Even if you don’t have Minnesota roots, check out the collection of over 300,000 digitized newspaper pages from 25-plus different Swedish American newspaper titles published across the United States.


Missouri Digital Heritage

This impressive collection of databases totals 9 million records—searchable all together or separately—including military records, births, deaths, naturalizations, censuses, city directories and even local historical society newsletters.


Ohio Memory

This collaboration between the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio boasts more than a million digital images ranging from newspapers to atlases, yearbooks to old photos.


Virginia Memory

Click on Digital Collections to explore an ever-growing array of military records, land records, wills and recent additions including yearbooks, African American biographies and even travel brochures.


Wisconsin Historical Society

One click searches more than 3 million records including birth, death and marriage record indexes; newspaper clippings; photographs and other visual materials; and property records.


Wyoming State Archives

We realize not too many folks have Wyoming roots, but this friendly, easy-to-use site stands out for its index to death records from 1909 to 1969, digitized newspapers from 1849 to 1923, oral histories, county record inventories and helpful how-to’s.

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Best Genealogy Apps and Tech Tools

Behind the Name

Check the histories of thousands of first names and surnames and their changing popularity over time, including related names and variations you might not have thought to look for.


Cyndi’s List

Still the essential list of links—more than 337,000 in 222 categories—this site has been leading genealogists to helpful sites for more than 20 years.


GEDmatch

Acquired by Verogen in 2019, this San Diego-based company that provides equipment for high-tech sequencing of DNA remains free (at least for now). Register to start matching your DNA results with others who’ve shared their results from AncestryDNA , 23andMe or Family Tree DNA’s Family
Finder
.


Kindex

Store and catalog your records, old documents and family photos in the cloud with this service created specifically for family historians. Searching others’ public archives is free; set up your own for $5 per month ($10 for private archives).


One-Step Webpages

Let Steve Morse show you how to dive into passenger lists, vital and census records and more with a single click. You’ll also find handy tools for deciphering old maps, calendar twists and foreign alphabets.

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Best UK and Irish Genealogy Websites

British National Archives

From online exhibitions to guides to genealogical record types, online collections to links to records elsewhere, this is the place to keep calm and carry on your British research.


The British Newspaper Archive

Look for your British ancestors’ stories in this collection of 36 million pages dating as far back as the 1700s. One year’s full access costs about 100 USD, or you can pay as you go.


FamilyRelatives.com

Some of the 1 billion UK- and Commonwealth-centric records here, such as censuses, are available elsewhere. But less-familiar sources such as probate registers and trade directories might hold the answers to your ancestral puzzles. One year costs just 49.95 USD.


Gazetteer of British Place Names

Locate your kin in this exhaustive place name index of over 280,000 entries. Each lists the historical county and the main administrative areas in which each place lies, both before and after the 1844 Counties Act.


National Archives of Ireland

A veritable pot of gold for Irish researchers, this free site features Irish censuses (1901, 1911 and surviving fragments), tithe applotment books, pensioner records, will collections, marriage records and Catholic convert rolls.


National Library of Ireland

Once you’ve browsed the 373,000 images of Catholic parish records , check out these collections of old photos and searchable newspaper and manuscript catalogs.


ScotlandsPeople

This National Records of Scotland site is sure to please with its more than 100 million church registers, censuses, valuation rolls and other documents. Access to wills is free (as is searching generally), but other records are pay per view.

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Best Scandinavian Genealogy Websites

ArkivDigital

Swedish researchers should watch for sales on this pricey but invaluable subscription site (about $180 per year). Its more than 86 million digitized images—in full color—include not only essential parish records, but also court and tax records, estate inventories
and military rosters. The Population of Sweden, a searchable name index expanded in 2020, covers all the household/congregation books from 1840 to 1947.


Danish Demographic Database

Find your Danish ancestors in censuses back to 1787, plus research in probate indexes for Thisted, Viborg, Aalborg and Randers kommune (municipalities).


Digital Danish Emigration Archives

Find your emigrating Danes (and others departing via Copenhagen) in this searchable database of nearly 400,000 records, 1869 to 1908, kept by the police to prevent passengers from being defrauded. The site is also home to more than a half-million digitized emigrant letters and photos.


Digitalarkivet

This English-friendly site from the National Archives of Norway has plenty of searchable databases as well as a global person search. Or browse even more offerings among the church books, censuses, emigration lists and land and probate papers.

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Best European Genealogy Websites

Bremen Passenger Lists

Now topping 738,000 entries, this database mostly covers 1920 to 1939, but some records are earlier. This site isn’t much to look at, but its search and browse options are powerful; you can even view by hometown.


Compgen.de

A little German will help you make the most of this deep site from Germany’s largest genealogy group, packed with family trees, digital documents and research how-to’s. (See our guide in the October/ November 2018 issue .)


Foundation for East European Family History Societies

Maps, links, journal back-issues and how-to tips make this a key starting place for research in the region.


Genealogy Indexer

Search for Central and East European ancestors in 1.85 million pages of more than 3,000 historical directories, plus memorials to Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust (Yizkor books), military lists, community and personal histories, and school records.


Geneanet

Even if you don’t parlez français, you can make headway in fi nding your
French ancestors here, starting with 1.25 million user-submitted family trees. Stepping up to premium features runs about $50 a year.


Geneteka

This volunteer-created site from the Polish Genealogical Society searches more than 10 million records. Click the UK/US flag icon on the home page to switch to English and make initial searching easier.


GenTeam

Register for free, then dive into this collection of more than 20 million user-submitted entries about ancestors in Austria and neighboring lands.


Hungaricana

This English-friendly Hungarian Cultural Heritage Portal puts more than 4 million pages of digitized publications, 100,000 old maps, and 300,000 pages from the Urbarium census of 1767 at your fingertips. The Budapest Time Machine here is also simply cool.


JewishGen

Beautifully redesigned, this site affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Ancestry.com covers 54 countries but is especially useful for European research, including surnames, towns, Holocaust victims, the Family Tree of the Jewish People , and the JewishGen Family Finder.


Meyers Gazetteer

Search every place name in the German Empire (1871–1918) in this simple-to-use, wildcard-friendly database.


Routes to Roots Foundation

This website provides a town-by-town inventory/index (in English) to surviving Jewish and civil documents in the archives of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Moldova.


Wie Was Wie

Find your Dutch family in civil registrations and other records—more than 200 million records in all. You can power up your searches with a premium membership (about $22 per year), but basic searches and results are free.

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Best Mapping Websites for Genealogy

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

This essential site from Chicago’s Newberry Library can solve your research riddles with its interactive maps of shifting county lines.


Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

Even better than the original 1932 atlas, which chronicles the American story from 1492 on, this site enhances the nearly 700 maps with animation to show change over time or views of the underlying data.


Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records

Start your land-records research here, with a database of more than 5 million federal land title records from 1788 on. No luck? Move on to the images of survey plats and field notes, control document index records and land status records.


David Rumsey Map Collection

Pick your viewer (Google Earth? Insight Java Client? The list goes on) and dive into more than 95,000 historical maps and related images from Ankara to Zeeland.


Historic Map Works

Peruse 1.6 million historical maps—many of them compatible with the “geographic time machine” of Historic Earth that overlays them with a modern map. Prints and full-size downloads are available for purchase.


Mapire

Gorgeous color maps, viewable side-by-side with modern maps or in 3D, bring 18th- and 19th-century Europe to life. It’s strongest on the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, but now extends to Scotland and Norway.


US Geological Survey

Generate a map using the National Map, find obscure ancestral places, and explore satellite and topographic views.

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Best Genealogy Library Websites

Allen County Public Library

The country’s second-largest genealogy library (after Salt Lake City’s Family History Library) also has an impressive digital presence. Check out the military collection, surname file, African American and Native American records, and all things Hoosier.


Genealogy Gophers

Searching is simple at this gateway to 80,000 digitized family-history books.


Library and Archives Canada

Even if you don’t have Canadian kin, your ancestors might have arrived via Canada and be mentioned in the passenger records here. Those with roots up north will also want to dig into databases of censuses, vital records, land records and military records.


Library of Congress

Look for published family histories, explore old photos and Sanborn fire insurance maps, and even listen to the music your ancestors enjoyed—no library card required.


Midwest Genealogy Center

This stylish site from the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Mo., is strongest on regional data and oral histories. But it also features an index to 1.5 million U.S. Railroad Retirement Board pension records.


New York Public Library Digital Collections

This iconic library has been on a digitizing binge, with more than 880,000 prints, photos, maps, manuscripts, videos and more.


WorldCat

Unlock the holdings of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide—billions of items—then locate the closest library where you can access your finds.

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Best Historical Newspapers Websites

Chronicling America

This Library of Congress project now numbers 16 million digitized pages (and counting) from 3,000-plus newspapers dating from 1789. The U.S. Newspaper Directory will help you determine what papers were published in your ancestor’s hometown.


GenealogyBank

Boasting the world’s largest online obituary collection, GenealogyBank features 13,000 newspaper titles spanning more than 330 years of American history—most unavailable elsewhere. Your subscription (roughly $70 annually) also grants access to censuses, historical books and government publications from the past.


GenDisasters

If your ancestors’ story ended disastrously—in a train wreck, fire, flood, shipwreck, plane crash or other accident—you can find the newspaper account of their colorful end here. Browse by state, year or type of disaster.


Newspapers.com

This site from Ancestry.com offers more than 580 million pages from 15,000 newspapers dating from the 1700s to the 2000s. Full access, including nearly 400 million pages licensed from publishers, costs $19.90 per month; basic subscriptions cost $7.95 per month.

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