Thursday, January 4, 2007

Genealogy Database Searches

I'm occasionally asked "what steps do you take to perform a search for a person in databases available on the Internet?" This usually occurs during or after one of our society's Research Group meetings.

In response, several years ago I prepared a checklist of Internet databases to visit and investigate. The updated list includes:

1) The WorldConnect database (includes Ancestry World Tree submissions) at www.rootsweb.com.

2) The LDS IGI, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File databases at www.familysearch.org.

3) The Family Finder database at www.genealogy.com. The only free part is the Family Web Pages and the links to Genforum message boards.

4) The MetaSearch facility at http://resources.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/metasearch .

5) Surname and locality archived mailing lists at http://archiver.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/search .

6) Surname and locality message boards at http://boards.rootsweb.com/.

7) Surname and locality message boards at http://genforum.genealogy.com.

8) The USGenWeb archives at http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/.

9) Find online web pages with specific names using Google (www.google.com) or other search engines (e.g., put names in quotes, use husband and wife like "Isaac Seaver" "Lucretia Smith" to find pages with those names).

All of the above are free of charge and don't link to a subscription site. Some are easy to use, some more difficult - you have to learn the best way to work on each site.

If you have access to an Ancestry.com subscription, whether your own at home or a local library's Ancestry Library Edition subscription, www.ancestry.com offers a wealth of data, especially census, military, passenger list, newspaper, member submitted data, etc.

However, let the researcher beware! The Internet does not have all the genealogy data in the world - yet!! Far from it, actually, although more and more digitized information is available every month. You still have to track down vital records, probate records, land records, military records, naturalization records, etc. for your ancestor, using traditional resources in libraries, archives, courthouses and local or state genealogical/historical societies.

What other genealogy databases, especially free ones, do you recommend? Please help me update my list.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Randy,

I have been looking for a list such as this for a long while and never asked. Thank you for beating me to the punch! Pat

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