100 Places to Start

100 Places to Start

Take your research from coast to coast from the comfort of your computer with our guide to the Top 100 Web Sites for finding your ancestors in the United States and Canada.

Finding your ancestors is inextricably bound up with questions of place: Where did they live and where did they go? Where are those records? Understanding a region’s settlement patterns and the records created as its history unfolded is vital to answering those questions. Next, you need to know where to look, especially as the Internet has brought resources out of dusty archives and put them at your fingertips (if only you knew where to click online!).

Wherever across North America your ancestors called home, the editors of Family Tree Magazine have an exciting new resource that will orient you, put your past in context and tell you where to go — in person or online — to explore your family tree. It’s the Family Tree Guide Book, more than 300 information-packed pages covering the essentials of research in the United States and Canada. This book includes expert advice on getting started, state-by-state and province-by-province resource directories, plus in-depth guides to genealogy and history in 38 major cities from coast to coast. It also features spotlights on African-American and Native American research. Authors include many of the biggest names in genealogy, among them Emily Anne Croom, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Maureen A. Taylor and Paula and James Warren.

What sets the new Guide Book apart from any other genealogy reference is its focus on Internet research. Here at Family Tree Magazine, we embrace the Internet as a key tool for today’s family historians, and we scour the Web to bring you the best resources. Of course, you still do have to go out of the house eventually to find your family tree, but the Internet can jump-start your genealogy and help you plan your research trips.

As a sample of the Web-savvy information the Family Tree Guide Book puts at your fingertips, we’ve picked 100 of the thousands of sites in the book. This “Top 100” list represents some of our favorite sites targeted to finding your ancestors in the United States and Canada. Wherever possible, we’ve concentrated on sites that connect you with real records. Our list includes at least one site for every state and province, plus key national and regional Web destinations.

We suggest using this “Top 100” as a jumping-off point for your online genealogical research. For more Web sites — and information about libraries, archives, Family History Centers, organizations, living history destinations, books, CD-ROMs, Internet mailing lists, even places to stay and dine near favorite genealogy destinations — look to the Family Tree Guide Book. Published by Betterway Books, the Guide Book is on sale now at your favorite bookstore, or you can order it directly from <www.shopfamilytree.com> or by calling toll-free (800) 258-0929. We modestly think it’s the best investment you’ll ever make in tracing your roots (after a subscription to Family Tree Magazine, of course).

State Sites

Alabama

Alabama Civil War Roots

<www.rootsweb.com/~alcwroot/>

Links to all Alabama units and tips on tracing your Civil War ancestor.

Historic Alabama Maps

<alabamamaps.ua.edu/alabama/historical>

Follow the evolution of Alabama counties with these historical maps from the University of Alabama.

Alaska

Alaska GenWeb Project

<www.akgenweb.org>

Begin your Northern exposure at this resource-rich site.

Arizona

Arizona State Genealogical Society

<www.rootsweb.com/~asgs>

Links to statewide genealogical resources, a surname registry for members and a handy guide to getting started in Arizona research.

Arkansas

Arkansas History Commission

<www.ark-ives.com>

This handsome site includes searchable photo, newspaper, county records and Confederate home-records databases.

California

California Federal Land Records

<www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ca/ca-land.htm>

A guide to California land records by county.

California Pioneer Project

<cpl.cagenweb.com>

Find your early California ancestor on this list of settlers who were born in or migrated to California before 1880.

Foreign-Born Voters of California, 1872

<feefhs.org/fbvca/fbvcagri.html>

Search records extracted from each county’s Great Register of Voters — 61,691 in all.

Colorado

Genealogy Data Files, Denver Public Library

<www.denver.lib.co.us/ebranch/whg/datafile.html>

Search Denver obituaries (1939 to 2000), Colorado mining fatalities (pre-1963) and Civil War veteran lists.

Ghostseekers

<www.ghostseekers.com>

A great resource for your Colorado research, this site includes timelines, maps, research tips and vital-records indexes.

Connecticut

New England Genealogy

<pages.prodigy.net/kathyb/home.htm>

Start your Connecticut research off right with these links to transcribed records.

Delaware

Delaware GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~degenweb>

Excellent source of statewide genealogical resources.

Delaware Public Archives <www.state.de.us/sos/dpa> Online naturalization records and searchable probate records database.

Florida

Florida Genealogy Resources

<thesouthernedge.com/gen/flmisc.htm>

Link to online databases of land and obituary records, and read up on early Florida history.

Florida GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~flgenweb>

Locate county-level resources, and link to surname registries, tombstone transcriptions and marriage records.

Georgia

The Civil War in Georgia

<www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/civilwar.htm>

Learn more about your Civil War soldier with online diaries, photos, regimental histories and rosters.

Documenting Family History in Georgia: How to Begin

<www.sos.state.ga.us/archives/rs/dfhg.htm>

Tips for beginning your Georgia research, with information about types and locations of Georgia records.

Georgia History

<www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/gahist.htm>

Excellent starting point for historical research.

Hawaii

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, Hawaii

<www.raogk.com/hawaii.htm>

Ask these volunteers to assist with your Hawaiian research.

Idaho

Idaho Gen Web Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~idgenweb>

Look here for county-level resources, including archives, message boards and queries.

Illinois

Illinois State Archives

<www.ilsos.net/departments/archives/databases.html>

Excellent collection of more than a dozen searchable databases of land, military, marriage and emancipation records.

Indiana

Indiana Genealogy

<www.ipfw.edu/ipfwhist/indiana/genealog.htm>

Look for your family in the database of Indiana marriages through 1850.

Iowa

Iowa Documents: History & Genealogy

<www.kinyon.com/iowa>

This great guide to county histories also links to online census transcriptions.

Kansas

Kansas Heritage Server

<www.ukans.edu/heritage/heritage_main.html>

Jump into your Sunflower State research with this guide to early Kansas books, documents, settlers and places.

Kentucky

Kentucky History and Genealogy Information

<Iouisville.edu/~easchn01/kentucky/1hist.html>

Great jumping-off point for finding your Bluegrass ancestors.

Louisiana

Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

<www.acadian-cajun.com>

This site provides histories of the Cajuns and Acadians, as well as links and highlights from the how-to book Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step by Step.

A Guide to African-American Genealogical Research in New Orleans and Louisiana

<nutrias.org/~nopl/info/aarcinfo/guide.htm>

Great first-step Web site for finding African-American ancestors.

Louisiana Confederate Pension Applications Index Database

<www.sec.state.la.us/archives/gen/cpa-index.htm>

Search this database of more than 49,000 pension applications.

Maine

Marriage History Search Form

<thor.ddp.state.me.us/archives/plsql/archdev.Marriage_Archive.search_form>

Search by a bride’s or groom’s surname for Maine marriage records dating from 1892 to 1996.

Maryland

Immigrant Communities in Maryland

<www.raven.umd.edu/~mddlmddl/791/communities/html>

A first-class source for learning about your immigrant Maryland ancestors of Asian, Hispanic, Irish, German, Italian, Jewish or African descent.

Maryland Genealogy Resources

<mdgenealogy.com>

Your first stop for Maryland research, this site includes articles on history and genealogy, plus online resources.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Cemetery Directory

<mass-doc.com/mass_cemetery_guide.htm>

Locate Massachusetts cemeteries by county and location on US Geological Survey maps.

Massachusetts Civil War Research Center

<fitzware.com>

Search the database of more than 150,000 soldiers, sailors and Marines who served in Massachusetts regiments during the Civil War, and read 64 regimental histories.

Massachusetts Genealogy Links

<genealogylinks.net/usa/massachusetts>

Click here for links to marriage records, pioneer and slave-owner indexes, and vital records.

The Mayflower Web Pages

<members.aol.com/calebj/mayflower.html>

If you think you’re descended from a Mayflower passenger, this is the site for you.

Michigan

Genealogical Death Indexing System

<www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/gendisx/search2.htm>

This ongoing project, with data entry by volunteers across the state, currently covers 1867 to 1897.

Michigan Genealogy Sites on the Internet

<flint.lib.mi.us/fpl/resources/genealogy/misites.html>

A good place to start your Michigan search, this site links to archives and military and census records.

Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society Death Certificate Index

<people.mnhs.org/dci/5earch.cfrn>

Searchable online index of the first, middle and last name of each individual, including date of death, county of death and certificate number, from 1908 to 1996.

Mississippi

Mississippi GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~msgenweb>

Look for archived data, African-American and Native American resources and county links.

Missouri

Local Records Inventory Database

<www.sos.state.mo.us/CountyInventory>

County by county, here’s where you’ll find the Missouri records you’re after. Search one at a time or all at once.

World War I Military Service Cards Database

<www.sos.state.mo.us/archives/ww1>

Find Missouri servicemen in this searchable database of 145,000 Army and Marine service-card abstracts and 18,500 Navy card images. The abstracts give residence, place of birth and age or date of birth.

Montana

Montana GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~mtgenweb>

Begin your Montana research at the county level by searching photo archives, online newspapers and queries.

Nebraska

Nebraska School Records

<idreamof.com/school/ne.html>

If your ancestor attended school in Nebraska, check here for records dating from 1871.

Nevada

Nevada Historical Society

<dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/docs/museums/reno/his-soc.htm>

Virtual exhibits of your Nevada ancestors’ past, links to sites about Nevada history and information on collections.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Civil War History and Genealogy Project

<www.usgennet.org/usa/nh/topic/civilwar>

Locate regimental histories and rosters for your New Hampshire kin.

New Hampshire Genealogy Project

<www.rootsquest.com/~usgwnhus>

Dozens of genealogical and historical records can be accessed directly from this site.

New Jersey

Civil War Rosters

<geocities.com/Area51/Lair/3680/cw/cw-nj.html>

Begin your Civil War research with this site’s links to New Jersey regimental rosters.

Genealogical Resources on the Web

<www.njstatelib.org/cyberdesk/genealog.htm>

Follow the links to the state of New Jersey’s online resources.

New Mexico

New Mexico Genealogy

<newmexicogenealogy.org>

Jump into New Mexico research with this site’s surname and query pages and cemetery and Latino research links.

New York

American Family Immigration History Center

<www.ellisisland.org>

The site for locating ancestors who arrived at Ellis Island, no matter where in the United States they wound up.

New York Biography Project

<www.nybiographies.org>

If you have New York ancestors, check for their biographies on this site.

New York Family History

<geocities.com/~agiroux>

Link to New York City churches and cemeteries, and download free research forms and software.

North Carolina

Genealogical Research in North Carolina

<statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/iss/gr/genealog.htm>

A family history beginner’s guide from the State Library of North Carolina.

North Dakota

State Historical Society of North Dakota

<state.nd.us/hist>

Timeline of state history and guide to getting started in genealogy research.

Ohio

Cleveland Necrology File

<www.cpl.org>

Database of Cleveland obituaries dating from the mid-1800s to 1975.

Ohio Death Certificate Index

<www.ohiohistory.org/dindex/search.cfm>

Searchable index covering 1913 to 1937.

Revolutionary War Pensioners Living in the State of Ohio in 1818-1819 <ezinfo.ucs.indiana.edu/~jetorres/ohiorev.html>

Search this 1818 list for mention of your Revolutionary War ancestor.

Oklahoma

Your Oklahoma: Facts & History

<www.oklaosf.state.ok.us/7c=8&sc=95>

Learn the history of your Sooner ancestors’ state.

Oregon

Oregon State Archives

<arcweb.sos.state.or.us/banners/genealogy.htm>

Search Portland birth and death indexes, and scan the Oregon Historical County Records Guide for maps, county histories and scenic images.

Pennsylvania

Brenda’s Guide to PA Genealogy

<www.key-net.net/users/oron/palinks.htm>

Kick off your Keystone research with these guides to biographies, court records, maps, photos and more.

Pennsylvania State Archives

<www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us>

Search more than 200,000 records, including those for soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Spanish-American War and World War I.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~rigenweb>

This is an excellent source for Rhode Island research; search the database for the Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project.

South Carolina

South Carolina Marriage Records

<www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/sc/sca_marr.html>

Searchable indexes of marriages from 1641 to 1929.

South Dakota

South Dakota Birth Records

<www.state.sd.us/doh/VitalRec/birthrecords>

Search more than 99,000 birth records for people born at least 100 years ago.

Tennessee

Index to Tennessee Death Records

<www.state.tn.us/sos/statelib/pubsvs/death2.htm>

Searchable index to 98,000 death records from 1908 to 1912.

Tennessee Marriages

<members.tripod.com/~rosters/index-8.html>

Transcriptions of Tennessee marriages arranged by county.

Texas

The Handbook of Texas Online

<www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online>

Search 23,000 articles on Texas people, places and history.

Lone Star Junction

<lsjunction.com>

Searchable online database of more than 10,000 early Texans; records begin in 1835.

Republic Claims Search

<www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/repclaims>

Find your Texas ancestors in this index of more than 48,500 names of citizens who submitted payment, restitution or reimbursement claims between 1835 and 1846.

Utah

Tracing Mormon Pioneers

<www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/pioneer.htm>

Step-by-step guide to tracing Mormons traveling to Utah from 1847 to 1868.

Vermont

Vermont in the Civil War

<vermontciviIwar.org>

If you have Civil War ancestors, this site provides information about everything from artillery units to women in the war.

Virginia

Library of Virginia Digital Library Program

<www.lva.lib.va.us/whatwedo/digital.htm>

A Virginia treasure! Search 2.2 million original documents, photos and maps in more than 80 databases.

1835 Federal Pension List for Virginia

<www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/va/vapensio.htm>

Find your ancestor in this list of 4,000-plus pensioners. The entries include age, rank, county of residence, type of service, date, pension amount and amount paid.

Washington

Tacoma Area Obituaries

<search.tpl.lib.wa.us/obits>

Search more than 367,000 individual index records of obituaries published in the Tacoma News Tribune/Morning News Tribune from 1930 on.

West Virginia

Genealogy Helplist West Virginia

<www.cybercomm.net/~freddie/helplist/wv.htm>

Get help finding your West Virginia ancestors — use the county-by-county list of volunteers and the sources they can search.

Wisconsin

Delayed and Affidavit Birth Registrations

<www.rootsweb.com/~wsgs/delayed_birth.htm>

The Wisconsin State Genealogical Society serves up an online index to Wisconsin delayed and affidavit birth registrations for births before Oct. 1, 1907. These were largely filed between 1940 and 1942 by people seeking to establish Social Security eligibility.

Wisconsin Historical Society

<www.shsw.wisc.edu/wlhba>

Searchable local history and biography articles from 1860 to 1940.

Wyoming

Wyoming GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~wygenweb>

Begin your county-level Wyoming research here with queries, archives, biographies and histories.

Canadian Sites

Alberta

Our Future, Our Past

<www.ourfutureourpast.ca>

Digitized historical documents, including newspapers.

British Columbia

British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency

<www.vs.gov.bc.ca/genealogy>

Search online indexes for summaries of birth, marriage and death registrations.

Manitoba

Western Manitoba Genealogy Project

<www.westmanitoba.com>

Search marriage records and cemetery and pioneer listings.

New Brunswick

Canadian Archival Resources on the Internet — New Brunswick

<www.usask.ca/archives/car/nbmenu.html>

Search several databases of vital statistics, directories, military records, land grants, cemeteries and more.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Historical Directory of Newfoundland and Labrador Newspapers, 1806-1996

<www.mun.ca/library/cat/newspa pers/papers.htm>

Indexes to newspapers, with information on ordering print copies.

Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Genealogy Resources Page

<www.chebucto.ns.ca/~ab443/genealog.html>

Excellent resources arranged by county.

Ontario

Ontario GenWeb Project

<www.geneofun.on.ca/ongenweb>

A step-by-step guide to tracing your Ontario ancestry, this site covers every facet of genealogical research.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island: Genealogy

<www.gov.pe.ca/infopei/Arts,_Culture_and_Heritage/Genealogy>

Links to ship lists, cemeteries and census data.

Quebec

Genealogy in Quebec

<www.francogene.com/quebeo

A valuable resource that includes a history of French immigration.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan GenWeb Project

<www.rootsweb.com/~cansk/Saskatchewan>

Search the 1901 online census, and follow links to databases, mailing lists and online lookups.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon

Canadian Archival Resources on the Internet — Northwest Territories

Search online databases, including one of 20,000 images.

Canadian Genealogy and History Links — Nunavut

<www.islandnet.com/~jveinot/cghI/nunavut.htmI>

A gateway to the history and culture of Nunavut.

Canadian Genealogy and History Links — Yukon

<www.islandnet.com/~jveinot/cghl/yukon.html>

Links to Yukon histories, publications and organizations.

National & Regional Sites

Christine’s Genealogy Website

<www.ccharity.com>

Research your African-American ancestry on this link-filled site, which includes related articles and databases.

Index of Native American Resources on the Internet

<www.hanksville.org/NAresources>

Research your Native American ancestors through links to cultural and historical resources.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Online

<freedmensbureau.com>

An excellent resource for researching slave ancestors, this site includes records on marriages, crimes and labor, as well as land abandoned by Confederate owners after the war.

Native American Genealogy Resources

<www.distantcousin.com/Links/Ethnic/Native>

This getting-started guide to Native American research links to personal home pages and tribal and cultural sites.

NewEnglandAncestors.org

<www.newenglandancestors.org>

The New England Historic Genealogical Society’s site provides searchable databases, helpful articles and research guides.

New England Archivists: Archives in New England

<www.lib.umb.edu/newengarch/nearch.html>

Locate record repositories online.

New England Genealogy by Ray Brown

<freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~rbrown>

A comprehensive site of vital records, town histories and links.

USGenWeb

<www.usgenweb.com>

This is one of the most valuable sites for United States researchers. There’s a site for each US county, with links to archives, queries and county histories.

Vital Records

<vitalrec.com/usmap.html>

State-by-state guide that outlines how to order vital records.
 

From the February 2003 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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