Find your ancestors on the Internet with this comprehensive guide to finding and using genealogy websites and resources, from how to use megasites like Ancestry.com to utilizing non-genealogy sources like Facebook, YouTube and digitized historical newspapers.
Genealogists have no shortage of online resources available to them. In fact, a search for genealogy websites results in more than 15 million hits. Online records and key information about your ancestors have never been more available, but how can you know which genealogy websites are worthwhile and which you should pass on? This guide provides the answers and resources you need to maximize your research on the Internet, with comprehensive lists of genealogy websites that can provide clues for expanding your family tree. The eBook also features in-depth guides to performing specific research tasks, such as how to use Ancestry.com’s card catalog and how to get better results using Google and genealogy search engines like Cyndi’s List and Findmypast.
Whether you’re surfing the web for the first time or you’re a seasoned Internet pro, this eBook will help you make the most of the thousands of online genealogy resources.
Who Should Get This eBook
You’ll love the Ultimate Genealogy Websites Guide eBook if…
- You’re looking for new and better ways to use the latest genealogy web resources—including some you haven’t yet heard of
- You want to dig deeper into your most-visited genealogy websites, such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org
- You’d like to know how to find and use other resources on the Internet (such as digitized maps and historical photos) in your research
The Ultimate Genealogy Websites Guide eBook features:
- Links to hundreds of genealogist-approved websites to use in your research, from big names like Ancestry.com to sites operated by state archives
- Directions for finding 50 free databases hosted by genealogy subscription sites
- In-depth articles detailing how to use online resources you may have missed, such as FamilySearch’s collection of digitized books and Ancestry.com’s card catalog
- Tips for using “non-genealogy” resources like social media outlets, digitized maps, historical newspapers, social-history sites and Evernote
- Detailed quick guides for the web’s nine most useful genealogy websites, including Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com and Newspapers.com
Excerpt: Sample Tips
Here are some tips you’ll find in the Ultimate Genealogy Websites Guide eBook:
- Find your ancestors with a keystroke. On web pages featuring text, use the find function (control-F on a PC, command-F on a Mac) to keyword search for your ancestor’s name or hometown on a web page or in a document. This will spare you from having to read the whole page or document for your ancestors’ name, saving you valuable research time.
- Revisit databases. The Internet is constantly changing, and many genealogy websites continue to add records to databases as they become digitized and/or indexed. If you suspect new records may appear in a database, periodically repeat your searches there, as newly added data, user contributions or changes to the search engine’s algorithm may yield new results.
- Find free databases. Many genealogy websites are fee-based, but subscription sites will often offer access to certain databases for free. In addition to using the free genealogy sites and resources listed in this eBook, watch out for deals that open up access to databases over holiday weekends or for special anniversaries. Follow sites’ social media accounts or sign up for their newsletters to receive the latest information on upcoming deals.
- Investigate your ancestor’s life and times. In addition to searching for your ancestors’ records in archives, research the places and institutions important to your past family members as well. Search for information about your ancestors’ schools, churches, neighborhoods, military units and ethnic groups to more deeply understand their day-to-day lives.
Contents of the Ultimate Genealogy Websites Guide eBook:
General Search Strategies and Web Resources
- Searching Smarter: Genealogists, start your search engines and speed to the online ancestor information you need.
- Sweet 16: Discover the 116 genealogy websites that take the cake.
- Making the Cut: Any way you slice it, these 75 top state-focused websites are must-visits for tracing your ancestors across the country.
- Free Samples: Just like the grocery store tempts you with those yummy free tastes, genealogy websites offer tantalizing freebies to whet your research appetite. Try these 50 delicious databases for free!
- Triple Threat: How do the “big three” genealogy websites measure up to each other—and to your research needs? We’ll compare the sites’ records, search features and more.
- Ancestry Answers: Learn how to use the Card Catalog on Ancestry.com, the web’s best-known genealogy site.
- Social Media Mavericks: Get to know these 40 to-follow: top genealogy bloggers, Tweeters, Facebookers, Pinners and YouTubers who’ll keep you in the know.
- Ancestors in the News: Extra! Extra! Digitized historical newspaper sites let you uncover family stories in just a few clicks.
- Going by the Books: Learn how to mine the record, indexes, local histories and more in FamilySearch.org’s free, digitized collection of family history books.
- Photo Opportunities: The web is full of chances to find photos for your family tree. Search these 14 sites for pictures of your ancestors and the places they lived.
Foreign and Ethnic Research
- A World of Good Websites: Discover 23 top websites to retrace your ethnic and immigrant ancestry to all corners of the earth.
- Foreign Affairs: Old newspapers’ genealogical bounty isn’t limited to US kin. We’ll show you how to research ancestors in online papers of your family’s homeland.
- Speaking Their Language: The language barrier can really put a crimp in your German genealogy research. Get help tracing your Deutsch ancestors’ names and places with these online tools.
- Breaking Out: Reap the rewards of expanding your online family research to these 23 not-just-for-genealogy websites.
- Social Studies: Why settle for dry, lifeless ancestors? Add context and color to their stories with these 32 robust, free social history websites.
- Working Your Map Muscles: Discover five powerful ways online maps can help you solve research problems and envision your ancestors’ world.
- Map Happy: Historical maps give you a unique view into the places your ancestors lived. We’ll let you in on the secrets to searching the web’s largest free map collection.
- A Good Clip: Evernote has become genealogists’ go-to note-taking tool. You’ll know why when you see how easily it lets you clip and save your online research finds.
Tricks of the Trade: Don’t go online without our essential guide to nine key websites for genealogy research.
- Ancestry.com Quick Guide
- FamilySearch.org Quick Guide
- Findmypast.com Quick Guide
- Fold3.com Quick Guide
- GenealogyBank.com Quick Guide
- Geni.com Quick Guide
- MyHeritage.com Quick Guide
- Newspapers.com Quick Guide
- WorldVitalRecords.com Quick Guide
The articles in this eBook were originally printed in issues of Family Tree Magazine. Learn more about the magazine on its website.