Crossing the Pond

Crossing the Pond

101 Best Websites for 2011: Researching immigrant ancestors

Castle Garden
Though 2 million records await digitizing, this searchable database nonetheless boasts 11 million records of arrivals through Castle Garden, America’s first official immigration center from 1820 through 1892. So if your ancestors arrived before Ellis Island, this should be your first stop in tracing them.

Danish Demographic Database
No need to play Hamlet and dither over your Danish roots. Here you can search nearly 13 million census records and 400,000 emigration records, 1868 to 1908, all without spending a krone.

The 1910 Norwegian census is now available at this record-packed site from the National Archives of Norway, joining the enumerations from 1801, 1865, 1875 and 1900 and a growing collection of digitized parish records.

Ellis Island
See why Ellis Island is synonymous with coming to America in this searchable database of 25 million records of passenger arrivals through the port of New York (1892 to 1924).

Federation of East European Family History Societies
Founded in 1992 and online since 1996, this genealogy group has kept up with the times—sporting a redesigned website with a clickable map of resources and an extensive digital map library.

Find My Past $
This burgeoning site has surged into the lead in the crowded UK genealogy field, offering complete census coverage (1841 to 1911), vital records, parish records, passenger records and more. A new project with the British Library will digitize post-1832 UK electoral registers and records of baptisms, marriages and burials from the archives of the India Office. And don’t overlook its free Family Tree Explorer tree-building tool. Complete access runs about $178 per year.

Lucky is the genealogist with Dutch ancestors, because this free site serves up 15 million records covering about 61 million people, primarily from post-1811 civil registers—a key source for tracing roots in the Netherlands. Earlier parish records are being added to the roster, along with inheritance declarations dating from 1808.

Origins Network $
About $90 a year buys you full access to this set of sites, or you can pick either the British Origins collection (including the National Wills index and 1841, 1861 and 1871 censuses) or Irish Origins for about $15.50 per month. The latter includes the 1851 Dublin City Census, the Irish Wills Index (1484 to 1858) and 1890 passenger lists.

This completely revamped site covers all the areas historically part of the Polish Commonwealth, with a getting-started guide, maps, links and archives of the Gen Dobry! e-zine.

ScotlandsPeople $
If ye canna find yer Scottish ancestors among the 80 million records here, ye’re just not tryin’, laddie. The 1911 census joins earlier enumerations from 1841 to 1901, parish records and statutory registers; you can start searching for about $11. Sections on wills and testaments (1513 to 1901) and coats of arms (1672 to 1907) are free.

Browse Family Tree Magazine‘s 2011 Best Websites for genealogy research:

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