AncestorNews: Free Ancestry Databases
Everyone knows that Ancestry.com www.ancestry.com has millions of genealogy databases available to subscribers. But did you know that several of those databases are free to all site visitors? These include goodies such as Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Michigan Historical Society Records, Salem Witches and World War I Civilian Draft Registrations.
One of the most important free databases at Ancestry is the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI). The AGBI includes millions of records of names mentioned in printed genealogy records or family histories. Each of the records contains the person’s name, state of birth (if known) and the name of the reference work. In some instances, the name of the reference work can be a clue for future research, as in the case of “persons still living who traveled from Germany to America.”
Finding all of Ancestry’s free databases can be tedious, but worth the effort. From the home page, click Advanced Search. On the next page, scroll toward the bottom and click on List All Databases. Next, you’ll find an alphabetical listing of every database and notations next to those that are free. Because there are thousands of databases, you’ll have to navigate page by page through each letter of the alphabet to find all of the freebies.
Included in the free selections are first-person narratives of an 1849 trip to California and pioneering days in Minnesota. If you ever run across a hard-to-find town, be sure to search the free database Geographic Reference Library. Happy Hunting!
If you have problems navigating the list of databases, click here: ancestry.com/search/rectype/alldblist.asp
Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of the upcoming book, Finding Your Roots Online, on sale May 2003. Her Web site is at www.ancestornews.com. E-mail her at [email protected]