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20 Free Websites for Genealogists

Updated on June 28, 2018

1 - Access Genealogy

Access Genealogy is a diverse website that has databases and links to databases such as census records, cemetery records and vital records for each state. What makes this site stand out is it’s African-American records.

2 - Allen County Public Library

The Allen County Public Library is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana and has the largest genealogy collection available to the public in North America. The library has many databases and special collections featuring Family Bible Records and Native American Gateway.

3 - Chronicling America

Newspapers are an integral part of genealogy research. The Library of Congress has made available it’s vast collection of newspapers dating back to colonial times on this site. Browse this vast collection and you’ll surely find some of your ancestors.

4 - Cyndi's List

Cyndi Ingle started this website way back in 1996 and it has become a go-to site for genealogists all over the world. Cyndi’s List has links to resources that you couldn’t even imagine. If you hit a brick wall, this is the site you need to come to. It can point you in a direction you didn’t even know about.

5 - Facebook Groups

Facebook just isn’t for social media. Hundreds of genealogy groups can be found on Facebook, most of them is location specific. If you have ancestors from a small town, do a search of the town’s name and add the words, genealogy, historical and/or society. Chances are there is a group for you. You might even be able to connect with a cousin or a line of your family that you didn’t know about. Also don’t overlook the files that group has, there could be valuable information you need.

6 - FamilySearch

FamilySearch is the granddaddy of free genealogy information. The resources are extensive with lots of obscure databases. The wiki is worth checking out to further your knowledge. You can also put your family tree on the site and add records and citations to it. If you want to further your genealogy education, go to the Learning Center and view the many lessons that the site holds, all for free!

FamilySearch Tutorial

7 - Find a Grave

Find A Grave is a database of cemetery records that the public can search, edit and add to. You can find vital information, burial locations, biographies and obituaries. The site grows everyday.

8 - FreeBMD

This is website to find entries in the vital record indexes from the British Isles. The records stretch from 1837 to 1983 and is continually updated by BMD volunteers

9 - Fulton History

Tom Tryniski, of Fulton, New York started scanning postcards of Fulton around 1999. From there he started scanning the local newspaper and hasn’t stopped since. Tom now has a searchable database larger than the Chronicling America database that the Library of Congress holds. A good chunk of his collection is of New York state newspapers, but he has since expanded to out-of-state papers.

10 - Genealogy Trails

Around since 2000, this site has extensive, hard to find databases. From Native American to African American, the databases here are plentiful. Genealogy Trails also has databases posted from volunteers for individual states.

11 - Google Advanced Search

Google is a valuable resource for research, if you use it right. Advanced search allows you to narrow or expand your search results in many different ways. This can be a valuable tool to find resources.

Tutorial - Maximizing Google for Genealogists

12 - Google News Archive

Google’s newspaper archive is an extensive collection of papers from around the world. The database is no longer updated, but Google has left the collection available to the public. There is lots of available information here, but it can be hard to find so you must have lots of patience.

13 - Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has a vast array of information for genealogists. Books, manuscripts, and family trees are available for download. The Allen County Library has added many titles from their collection and so has a few universities.

14 - Library and Archives Canada

Canadian records can be hard to find. The best starting point for those with Canadian roots is Canada’s Library and Archives. Censuses are available along with immigration records and newspapers. Digitized images and maps are also available on this website.

15 - Olive Tree Genealogy

American and Canadian transcribed records can be found here. Passenger lists seems to be the main focus. The site also offers an array of tutorials and resource guides. Definitely worth bookmarking.

16 - Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

This is a wonderful site run by volunteers. Each volunteer on this site has agreed to do research in their local area once a month pro bono. This might involve doing a record search at the local courthouse or finding a gravestone in a nearby cemetery. If you’re not able to travel to a destination this is a good option.

17 - UK National Archives

The National Archives of the United Kingdom has millions of records in their collection but only a fraction of it is available online. As disheartening as this sounds, the records that are available might be beneficial to your research. Some of the records that can be found are wills, military records and other various government datasets.

18 - USGenWeb Archives

This amazing website has resources unavailable anywhere else. Volunteers contribute records and data from local areas. When these records are uploaded they are then organized by state and county. Some of the records are digitized and some are transcribed. Some of the records are from personal collections.

19 - US National Archives

The National Archives has an abundant amount of United States resources. The website can be overwhelming but the Archives has tutorials and guides to help you out. The biggest draw to this website is probably the 1940 U.S. Census. The 1950 Census will be available in 2022 and this will probably be the first place you’ll be able to view it when it’s available.

20 - WikiTree

WikiTree is free but you have to sign up to use it’s benefits. After you sign up you are then able to make or upload your family tree which then gets “plugged in” to one big family tree. That’s the purpose, to make one big tree. The benefit to you is that once you are “plugged in” you might find connections to other people and lines in your tree. You could even have a breakthrough on that elusive ancestor of yours.

© 2018 James Roberts

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