If you’ve traveled abroad, you know it’s not easy to adjust to a new land. Unfamiliar languages, customs, laws, food, currency and maps can trip you up. Smart travelers often consult trusted locals on where to visit, eat and sleep.
Starting family history research in another country is like traveling there for the first time. You don’t know the nuances of record-keeping, the ins and outs of repositories, or even how to read the country’s records. It can help to have a friendly local as your guide.
Where can you find such a guide? Try the international geneablogging scene. Amateurs and experts from Argentina to Australia, British Columbia to the British Isles note their successes, tips and techniques in genealogy weblogs, or “geneablogs.” In this whirlwind world tour, we’ll introduce you to 40 fantastic international blogs, and help you find, read and use them in your research.
We chose these blogs based on their overall quality of content and design, potential interest to other researchers, and relatively current status. There are dozens more with advice on finding your international ancestors—see our blog readers’ Q&A for advice on how to find and get the most out of international blogs relevant to your genealogy search.
Because genealogy research often strays beyond national boundaries—both modern and historical ones—we’ve categorized these blogs according to their geographic regions: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceana and Africa, and even a multilingual one covering regions worldwide. If you have Hispanic heritage, you might want to check blogs covering Spain and the places in the Americas your clan landed. Wherever your roots might take you, a genealogy blog just might hold the keys to finding your ancestors.
Los Abuelos de mi Historia captures stories of the diverse peoples of Argentina. The largest number of posts are about Buenos Aires, the nation’s capital and by far its largest city. A Google Translate button on the left side of the site lets you read posts in English.
My Portuguese Gen is a fairly young blog, written by Isabella Baltar in both English and Portuguese. Most entries are about her family research, but some include advice for others researching similar topics. Her writing style is straightforward and easy to follow.
Alberta Family Histories Society Blog is polished and professional, a provincial society’s channel for sharing news, events, library holdings and other resources for researching in and about Alberta, Canada.
Olive Tree Genealogy Blog is maintained by veteran blogger and genealogist Lorine McGinnis Schulze, who freely shares the wisdom and creativity gained by 30 years as a researcher in records-poor early Ontario. Click on videotaped cemetery walks and fun personal history posts.
Prairie History Blog is a genealogy and heritage newsletter for the Regina Public Library in Saskatchewan province. A nice feature for any family historian is a regular roundup of genealogy magazines’ contents (including Family Tree Magazine).
US Virgin Islands
UK and Ireland
British and Irish Genealogy is a newsreel that reports on new online sources for genealogical research and education. Most posts feature several—or more—links to resources.
Grow Your Own Family Tree is the work of Alan Stewart, also the author of Gathering the Clans: Tracing Scottish Ancestry on the Internet (Phillimore & Co). His newsy posts update you on online records; click on categories such as Railway Records or Immigration for English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh research.
Tracing Ancestors in the UK delivers help starting your UK family research. Part of the website of professional researcher Ros Bott, this blog includes topics ranging from parish registers to surname spellings to wills and probate in England.
‘On a flesh and bone foundation:’ An Irish History is beautifully and expertly written by Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman, a Canadian of Irish descent. She weaves personal insights with detailed research tips, images and plenty of history. Bonus: Click on Interviewing Family for questions to ask Irish immigrants.
Spain and South America
Swedish Thoughts has shared posts on “genealogy, old photos, recipes and other things from Sweden” since 2009. Yvonne Henriksson’s voice is friendly yet matter-of-fact. And whether or not you’re Swedish, check out the recipe for Rhubarb Muffins with Sweet Ginger, posted April 21, 2011.
Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia
Czech Genealogy for Beginners offers exactly what blogger Blanka Lednicka promises: a great introduction to research for those with ancestors in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. There’s a lot of material on archives, parish registries and translation issues.
Croatia and Hungary
100 Years in America is about Croatian and Hungarian families, records, languages and online resources. You’ll find expert advice and personal insights on this beautiful site by a long-time blogger.
Village Life in Kreis Saarburg, Germany shares a librarian’s well-researched and illustrated history of her Rhineland ancestry. She draws heavily on local sources but also on her imagination as she wonders what life must have been like “back then.”
Siyi Genealogy isn’t as current as others on our list (as of press time), but the site is beautifully laid out and contains a lot of information on Chinese family history research—specifically on the “four counties” area of Guangdong. It feels like a gift to find this information in English.
Israel Genealogy Research Association aims to share “new technology, new energy and new excitement” about genealogy in Israel. You’ll also see resources for most of the world because of the worldwide historical migration of Jews. This is a no-nonsense blog: all news, events, research and resources.
Japanese Genealogy Blog provides valuable insight into Japanese family history research—a field for which resources in English are scarce. American blogger Valerie Elkins has lived in Japan and worked at the Family History Library as a volunteer consultant for Japanese research. She talks about records, language issues, customs, immigration and more.
My Pakistani Ancestry is written by an anonymous “20-something British Pakistani” in the hopes of inspiring others to trace their Pakistani roots. Posts include the writer’s own research, memorials to Pakistani soldiers and how-tos for Pakistani records.
Africa and Oceana
Family History Across the Seas author “Cassmob” describes herself as a “dyed-in-the-wool Queenslander” who now lives in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Her detailed, expert entries will help those new to Aussie research, especially a series of posts called “Beyond the Internet” that describe traditional genealogical records from an Australian perspective.
Auckland City Libraries Kintalk Whanau Korero updates followers on genealogical happenings and records access at the library and beyond. Find links to events, online resources, the library’s genealogy collection, and family history forums.
Samoan Genealogy Group shares family research, Samoan resources and wider topics of interest to all genealogists in an enthusiastic tone with a fun sprinkle of Samoan sayings and photos.
Mole’s Genealogy Blog is written by an experienced researcher who specializes in the area of Natal, but also takes interest in historical photographs and the larger history of the British empire in India and South Africa.
You can read the MyHeritage Blog, written by employees of the eponymous genealogy company, in English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish. Though some content overlaps, each blog posts unique stories of interest to a particular language group (i.e., click on Português for resources related to Brazil or Portugal). Can’t read the language but want the content? Click on the language you need, then run the page through a web translator.
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