Genealogy Links

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  • Find in a Library
  • Find books and other materials in virtually any library in the world.
For many years I've know that Ancestry.com offered for free these blank forms. Since then, the URLs have changed, so I had to track down the current (2017) one. The Charts and Forms and Census Forms links will take you to all of these below, but I thought I'd list each separately, too, to make it easier to see what all is included. These links below will open automatically in PDF. You can print the chart directly from there or download the PDF and use for future printing.

CHARTS AND CORRESPONDENCE FORMS

CENSUS FORMS — US

CENSUS FORMS — UK

CENSUS FORMS — CANADA

$$ PAY$$ Sites:


FREE Sites:

  • FamilySearch
  • Find A Grave
  • Rootsweb has a good range of links and sites.
  • The US GENWEB Project was begun in 1994 by a group of KY genealogists who wanted to link all their county information into one state site. It later grew to include the entire U.S. Accessing this site takes you to the States page, where you can continue on to the Counties page. It's basically a genealogist's "potluck," where volunteers submit data to share regarding that specific location. These vital records can range from marriage, birth, and death records, old newspaper transcriptions, cemetery listings, and sometimes even images of original documents including cemetery stone pictures. What is available varies by county and submitters, and there's always something new to be found so check back often. The USGenWeb Archives Search Engine makes it easy to search the pages by state or by all of U.S. After this project grew nationwide, it was followed by the The WorldGenWeb Project. This expands resources to other countries.
Many U.S. public libraries offer card holders FREE access to "Library Editions" of otherwise "pay" genealogical databases, such as:
  • Ancestry
  • HeritageQuest
  • Ebsco Host and/or Newsbank
  • Fold3
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers
  • Newspapers.com
  • Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970
  • ProQuest Sanborn Maps Geo Edition (has GPS coordinates)
  • NewspaperARCHIVE

Most libraries will offer free access to certain titles whether you have a current library card or not, if the titles are only available for use in the library. For example, accessing Ancestry for free is only available when using the libraries' own computers. HeritageQuest is available to view on home computers, provided the library patron accesses HeritageQuest through the library website and gives library card number and library account password/PIN number for login.

Depending on a library's budget, in addition to the in-library-only Ancestry subscription, it might offer additional subscriptions, such as HeritageQuest and digital newspapers for at-home access. The most common offering is HeritageQuest and offerings may change each year, depending on library budget. For example, after a few years of offering several subscriptions for at-home access, my local library cut back to just HeritageQuest. At time of this writing (2017), I did notice that the lucky people with library cards in the Knoxville, TN area have access to nearly all these databases.

Currently, HeritageQuest holdings include the 1790-1940 U.S. Census, Mortality Census Schedules, Agricultural Census Schedules, Revolutionary War Pensions, City Directories, and others. Quite a bit, but not as vast as Ancestry.com. HeritageQuest is a subsidiary of ProQuest. A few years ago, ProQuest began partnering with Ancestry, to have Ancestry's products available in library editions to libraries. Also, HeritageQuest's census database was changed, so to be "powered by Ancestry." As a result, HeritageQuest's census search allows better results than before (considering Ancestry allows users to "correct" any name errors they encounter in Ancestry's search results). Although these days, FamilySearch is my "go-to" for free census lookups, there are times when a name is so badly rendered in its index, or a certain census page that only contains a transcript, with a "no image available." When that happens, I usually have better results using my "backup" HeritageQuest for a second search.

Ebsco Host and Newsbank's newspaper databases have a wealth of archived obituaries, running as early as the 1970s. The two libraries where I had cards offered both databases for use on home computers. But since the recession, it seems some libraries, including mine, have scaled back in subscriptions. They currently only offer local editions of papers, with archives back to about 1990. As a side note, at time I could access it free with library card, Newsbank's Obitsarchive.com seems to have more obituaries in their pay (non-library edition) database. Since then, Newsbank began marketing a version of its services to genealogists, under Genealogybank.com. At a time when I could afford it, I had a paid subscription to Genealogybank. Genealogybank's obituaries database s-e-e-m-s to be the same as Obitsarchive.com, unless the latter has been gleaned from a few more newspapers, being taken from Newsbank.com. The obituary results are just transcripts, not an image of actual obituary, so you can get the same results for free by using FamilySearch.org's GenealogyBank Obituaries 1980-2014.

If you're fortunate — and your library has a larger budget — you might find more accessible databases. Upon checking ProQuest's library offerings, I see there are now more than just Ancestry, HeritageQuest, and Ebsco and Newsbank newspapers. Libraries may also subscribe to Fold 3, which at one time was a "standard" military database in an Ancestry.com subscription, as were Ancestry's historical newspapers. About 2010 the military holdings were rebranded as "Fold 3" and marketed on its own. Similarly, Ancestry's historical newspapers were rebranded as "Newspapers.com" and marketed on its own. Newspapers.com is another subscription available to libraries, with over 3,000 newspaper titles. ProQuest also offers two versions of its newspapers to libraries. Their "ProQuest Historical Newspapers" with 35+ million pages and their "NewspaperARCHIVE" with 130+ million pages from over 6,000 newspapers around the world. The Sandborn Maps, according to the ProQuest website, are "property and land-use maps of everyday life from 1867-1970...of 12,000+ U.S. towns and cities." The Sandborn Maps Geo Edition is similar, only it allows searches to be made by using GPS coordinates.

How do you know if your town's library, or any out-of-town library, will provide these services?? Check the Libweb-Directory of USA Public Libraries site and click on the state, then go to the link for your library site. If that library provides genealogical database access, there should be a link stating something to the effect of "online databases." From that link, it will list what the library makes available to its patrons, and whether it can be used at home or at the library only. If your library doesn't provide these databases, check sites of other libraries near you. Some libraries offer cards to out-of-towners if not for free, at least for a small fee which still would be cheaper than a pay database subscription.

By the way, to view websites of libraries in other countries and the non-public libraries, such as university and state libraries in the U.S., the main gateway of this site is LibWeb Library Servers via WWW.

Don't have the money for a Newspapers.com or a GenealogyBank subscription? Should their search engines reveal a tantalizing result preview of a news mention of an ancestor, see if that paper is available *for free* at one of these sites below:
Did you know that many genealogy materials, costing $$ in their hardcopy forms years ago, are now available free online??

  • Although FamilySearch is a very popular site, there's one section that doesn't get as noticed. That is their Family History.org Books Section. Although many titles are limited to viewing only in an LDS Family History Library, there a great many, mainly in .pdf format, that in addition to online viewing may be downloaded onto your computer's drive, for free. This includes compiled family history books, genealogical society marriage-wills-land-death publications/ quarterlies, and county histories, to name a few. Note: You will probably need to register (for free) at the FamilySearch site before you can access this area.
  • The Internet Archive (archive.org) has a great deal of public domain genealogy materials in digital form. Plan on setting aside a good amount of time to digest all that's available. Just to name a few: movies; audio, such as Old Time Radio shows and 78 RPM-era music; "vintage" computer programs now entered into public domain; and digital format of books, great for reading on a tablet/e-reader. (A small percentage of their books are courtesy of GoogleBooks. GoogleBooks offers current books for sale and free public domain books. Most times Google's public domain books are in addition to same title files The Internet Archive already has in their database. Google's book images appear as b/w photocopies instead of true images of the book pages, so I always prefer to use Internet Archive's own uploads.)

    There are too many book subjects to mention, published in numerous languages, and dating back to even the 1400s. Besides genealogy, my favorites have been the old cookbooks, canning and home economics, gardening, and children's books and school books, All the video, audio, and books can be viewed/listened to online or downloaded to your computer.The "texts" (books) section has a genealogy section. Holdings include 19th and early 20th century county histories, family genealogies also published in that era, and U.S. Census microfilm reels that have been digitized into books. This is a little difficult to navigate when just browsing. The best way to find something is to be specific, such as a search for the surname, subject, or locale you're researching. A search for just "census" might bring up thousands of results, relevant or not.

    As a guide, here are links to their Microfilm Census Collection, which you might still need to narrow down to specific year and location. For local histories, which includes county histories, you can try Local History Search. Still there quite a few non-relevant items in the results. So a better search would be local history for the state or state and county you have in mind.

    Once you find a desired book title, you have the option to read it online, download it from a selection of various digital formats (I always choose .pdf, but you might prefer a format to suit your e-reader), or embedding it into your blog/webpage. An example of how embedding works is at my Loy Online Books page on this site.

  • Find A Grave has now become the best-known "go-to" for cemetery records.
  • Prior to the arrival of Findagrave.com was a nifty little search engine by The Genealogy Register, Cemetery Records Search, that searches the internet for cemetery transcriptions. Some sites even include actual photographs of the stones. Just enter surname and toggle down to pertaining state. There's not an "all states" search method! Instead of doing a search, the data may also be browsed by state and cemetery name. Although Find A Grave contributors have been known to add new Find A Grave memorial listings derived from earlier collections of cemetery transcriptions, it is possible some transcriptions might have been missed and are not on Find A Grave. So it might be worthwhile to consult Genealogy Register's search as well. Many earlier cemetery transcriptions (prior to Find A Grave) found their source in actual cemetery records, which recorded even graves with no markers. There is a possibility that some Find A Grave cemeteries might only record the graves that had grave markers, depending how thorough the Find A Grave volunteer(s) was/were who documented it.

  • FamilySearch U.S. Social Security Death Index is now the best method in searching without a paid subscription to Ancestry.com. Still, SSDI databases are not as detailed as they were several years ago. Due to privacy concerns, these types of databases are no longer showing Social Security Numbers, so I 'm unsure how a copy of the original SS# application could be ordered without knowing the deceased's SS#. Another recent policy change was that, instead of the database reflecting deaths from previous months, new databases can only show deaths as current to the past few years. (To search in 2017, the most current is 2014.)
  • Ancestry's Social Security Death Index (SSDI) cannot be accessed fully without a paid subscription. There is a free search feature, but dates of birth and death are blocked (just years are shown) and locations area also blocked. Years ago, when it was free to use (and might still have these features in a paid subscription), it offered two types of searches — a basic search, by first and last name, and an advanced search which could limit criteria based on first and last names, birth and death dates, Social Security number, state card was issued, and state (or city, county, and state) of last residence. It also had an automatic form for sending for the SS# application. Due to privacy concerns, I understood these types of databases are no longer showing Social Security Numbers, so I 'm unsure how a copy of the original SS# application could be ordered without knowing the deceased's SS#. Another recent policy change was that, instead of the database reflecting deaths from previous months, new databases can only show deaths as current to the past few years. (To search in 2017, the most current is 2014.)
  • Until it was discontinued, Rootsweb's Social Security Death Index (SSDI) was my favorite of the Social Security database sites. It was known for being the most full-featured and up-to-date CGI search on the Web, updated monthly. I had noticed it was current to the previous month's deaths. Information for each person in the database included: name, birth date, death date, SS#, place of last payment, place of SS# application, and when card was obtained. There was even a link on the result page that generated a form letter request to obtain copies of the original Social Security card application. This form automatically contained name and number of SS# card holder, along with address where the form and payment for a copy of original application were to be snail-mailed. (The original application would include such information as the name of applicant's parents and other valuable information.) Another good feature of this database was a clickable county resource link for each county and state named on the above database result. These links directed one to another page that listed URL links to web pages about the said county. This includes the GenWeb site for this county and the Genforum site, if available, for that county, besides other links. The third feature of the database site, which I thought really neat, was the "Post-it" feature. Any memo can be posted regarding the person mentioned in the database. For example, my paternal grandfather Jesse Walls used name "Jack" as a boy, but never officially used it until after his 1914 marriage. After that, his WWI papers, pension, obituary, and even cemetery stone--not to mention the entry in the SS# database--only gave him as "Jack." I used the post-it section to mention his real full name was "Jesse Walls."
  • Some Social Security results list only zip code of last residence, rather than city, county, and state. For help in determining the exact location, consult the US Postal Service Zip Code and Address Information site.
  • Rootsweb Mailing Lists. There are email lists on any genealogical subject, in addition to surnames and locales.
  • Ancestry.com's Message Boards, also mirrored at Rootsweb Message Boards.
  • Genforum was Genealogy.com's query board for surname, locality, and subject. It can also be accessed using the Genealogy.com URL. Until its demise, this used to be my favorite query board. Genealogy.com was the original producer of Family Tree Maker. In 2001 Genealogy.com was purchased by A&E, then sold two years later to MyFamily.com, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com. In 2014, Ancestry shut down MyFamily.com. Rather than shut down Genealogy.com/Genforum.com entirely, it was placed in a read-only mode and all users' accounts were deleted. Recently, a comment section was added to each archived post, for those with Discus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts. However, as all the original user accounts were deleted, and the comment section runs on a separate mode, the original Genforum posters would have no way to be notified of any new replies.
There are probably many online nationwide telephone directories on the internet, but the Verizon People Pages is a phone directory for finding someone in the United States. This has been helpful to me for tracking down distant cousins who were listed as survivors in obituaries.
  • The Epidemics list is from an email someone sent me. It gives periods when certain epidemics occurred, which may be probable cause of death for persons in your tree who died during these time periods.
  • Cyndi's List offers the researcher great resources of genealogical information of all types, including links to free databases.
  • Looking for a date? No, this isn't a link to a single's site, but an online utility that calculates birth dates based on age at death: Birthdate Calculator.
  • American Memory from the Library of Congress is a good place to visit, with online photographs in their collection dating from the Civil War and after--some even before. The archives also include music and other subjects as well as photographs.
  • Try out the Black Forest Genealogy Page. It's a great site for rediscovering our German roots.
  • Bettie Rehling from the Lay Family Genealogical Association website told me she was going to link this site to hers, and hoped I'd do the same for hers. That was well over a decade ago. (In 2017 I updated the link after finding the Lay site's Geocities link dead and locating new URL via Google search.) At the time, she said some Loy information has been listed on her site, so Loy researchers might want to stop by and visit. I know personally that some Loy records have been transcribed as "Lay," due to the original's illegible writing, or just the way the information taker (such as census) interpreted the spelling.

BLOGS

  • My RSS List of Genealogy Blogs Limited to blogs from Alltop's RSS
  • Family Tree Magazine Genealogy Blogs The three listed from this link are Genealogy Insider, Photo Detective, and Family Tree Firsts
  • Dear Myrtle This site has been going since 1995.
  • Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter In the late 1990s, I submitted The Complete Loy History's URL to the Dick Eastman genealogy page; while they linked this site on theirs, I was to list Eastman's links on my site. They gave two URLs: one to Dick Eastman's Weekly "Online Genealogy Newsletter" (now a dead link), and also to Roots Computing. After a recent check on these links (August 2005), I found the Eastman newsletter is only current to 1999, archived along with previous newsletters at Ancestry.com, who had featured his newsletters. Though by 2005 Ancestry replaced his newsletter with Ancestry Daily News (which now is extinct), the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter is still going strong at its own website, which can be accessed at the above rootscomputing URL that automatically redirects to the eogn.com URL.

PODCASTS

For those not familiar with podcasts, these are audio .mp3 files (or .mp4 if it's in video, which is called a "Vcast" or "Vodcast") that most times have radio (or video) shows. To listen to (or watch) these, you can either find them in iTunes and subscribe, OR go to the URLs listed here and click on the iTunes link, OR go to the URLs listed here and listen to each episode directly from the website. Best of all, if you really like a program, you don't have to get out a tape recorder and record the show (like we did in the "olden days") but, instead, just download the file to your phone, tablet, or computer. And, yes, it's all free!!

  • Family Tree Magazine Podcast This monthly (average) 40 minute podcast is hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, who also does the Genealogy Gems podcast. Each podcast is packed with great tips and resources in tracing your family tree.
  • Genealogy Gems Podcast is the other podcast hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke, who also does the Family Tree Magazine Podcast. .
  • Genealogy Gold Podcast, by Ancestral Findings, is a short (average) 5 minute program. There are good tips on this show, but one podcast awhile back somewhat put a damper on it. In it, he spoke about Oklahoma records and kept saying over and over that Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" was in Oklahoma!! Any well-seasoned genealogist knows that "Indian Territory" applied to both southern Kansas and Oklahoma at one time. I was also disappointed to find no place on the Ancestral Findings website to contact the podcaster. No, the Little House was in Montgomery County, KS, where the family was in 1870 census and where Laura's sister Carrie was born, whose date and place of birth was listed in the family Bible.

VIDEOS

  • In addition to her two podcasts, Lisa Louise Cooke also has a YouTube channel for Genealogy Gems videos.
  • Debra Clifford, of Ancestorville rescues "family photos & paper from US & UK flea markets and shops" and, at her site, originals of these historical items may be available purchase, or a digital copy of them.
  • Joe Bott's site Dead Fred displays vintage photographs from its own archives and those from contributors around the world, dating 1960s and earlier. There is a section for unidentified photos as well as those that contributors have identified but just want to share. Electronic copies are available for free, but there is a charge for higher quality scans and printouts. Originals of orphaned photographs may be available as well.
  • American Memory from the Library of Congress is a good place to visit, with online photographs such as photographic prints and portrait photographs in their collection dating from the Civil War and after--some even before. Besides photographs, the archives also include music and other subjects.
  • Cyndi's List has 61 links to sites that also feature lost or identified family photos.
  • Free Genealogical Databases By State (work in progress)

    • Seeking Michigan has online death records 1897-19210 and 1921-1952, as well as other digital holdings.
    • Guilford Co., NC Ancestry Courtesy of the Greensboro, NC library. Includes records of Marriage and Death 1771-1899 and more.
    • Login for Guilford Co., NC Register of Deeds online birth/death/marriage index. (This link has been updated from the obsolete gcms0004.co.guilford.nc.us address.)

    • When first available, anyone could access this database. Then about 2011, access was limited to only local residents. Now, it seems access is again available to anyone who is a registered user. According to their website, "You may search and print copies of Guilford County birth records for genealogy research in the Register of Deeds’ research center. The fee is 5 cents per photocopy. Birth records in this office go back to November 1913." Their death records page says "Death records in this office go back to September 1911." No mention is made on their marriage records page concerning the marriage database that was available at their old site. Still, it might also be included in the registered birth and death databases. As yet, I haven't registered, so will not know for sure until I do.
    • North Carolina Civil War Soldiers
    • North Carolina Family Records Collection, a project of the State Library and State Archives of North Carolina.
    • Oklahoma State Vital Records Index from the OK2Explore database has index for both birth and death. It's a basic index, where parents' names aren't included. And you must narrow down your search if you have more than about a dozen search results in a query. Otherwise, it's a great tool for finding an exact date of birth or death.
    • FamilySearch.org has a good collection of vital records databases, covering many states.
    • MapofUS.org gives interactive maps of each state, showing county formations over the years.