Saturday, September 6, 2008

What web sites help you with your research?

I know that my Genea-Musings readers are some of the most astute and savvy persons when it comes to online genealogy. I need your help with an upcoming presentation that I'm making on Saturday, 20 September at the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting. My task is to cover "Computer Genealogy 101" in one hour. The audience will be members of CGSSD who are all past CG 101!

My tentative presentation outline looks like this:

* Educational opportunities - magazines, articles, tutorials, podcasts, webinars

* The mega-sites - Ancestry, FamilySearch, Rootsweb, USGenWeb, WVR, Footnote, GenealogyBank, etc. A summary of what they have and how much they cost

* Family tree and social network sites - volume, capabilities and value

* Lists of web sites, by topic (i.e., vitals, military, census, probate, land, tax, obituaries, newspapers, cemeteries, etc.)

* Newsletters and blogs

* A list of my top 25 useful sites

My intent is to show a screen shot of many of these sites and not go into much detail about their content. The exception is the mega-sites, where I'll probably have several slides.

I did this talk a year ago at the CVGS seminar, and I looked at it recently - holy Genea-man, things have really changed in one year!

I want to emphasize newer web sites or newer databases, since many of the audience will be familiar with the old standby web sites.

I need your help in these ways:

* What relatively new (say, the last 6 months) web site is really useful to you in your research?

* Which web site on a specific topic is most useful to you in your research? For instance, I find FamilySearch Labs Record Search really useful for census records.

Thank you for any advice or help you can provide. You can respond either in comments to this post or in email to I will probably publish many of the slides from my presentation in the coming weeks.


Anonymous said...

Hm, that entire list in just one hour? That's going to be a whirlwind tour.

Anyway, International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen is essential for research on all victims of Nazi persecution.
They opened up to the general public late last year. There is an online request form.

Deb said...

I'm teaching this same class in November, but I think I have the luxury of TWO hours to do it. I've taught the basic class on internet research before, and I'm sure those links all look just like yours. My class in November will be called:

"Using the Internet for Genealogical Research: Beyond the Basics". The group had suggested that the talk be called "Internet Genealogy", but I saw Cyndi's comments at: and had them change it - she said it better than I could.

I plan to cover the things you have listed, but there are a couple you might think about adding. (1) I'll show them how to use Google for genealogical searches; and (2) I'll probably have Rootstelevision in the "educational" section.

Your list looks like mine, in that it seems to be mostly US links. Seems that all my ancestors came here in the 1600's, so I've been working for 31 years to just fill in the tree on THIS side of the Atlantic, with just a few jumps over the water along the way. I haven't done a lot with overseas research, although I've attended some good sessions on English research and others, but I probably won't add many overseas sites.

One thing I probably will emphasize is that many state archives and local genealogical societies are adding more and more unique material to their websites. Some of this material is in the form of indexes, and then they want you to come to their local genealogical library to see the original material. This is the case with our Tennessee Genealogical Society site: but those are resources often missed.

Another site that is specific to Tennessee, but again it emphasizes the things that are being added for MANY localities is:
That's a little jewel of a site, where, in the third column, you'll find copies of original birth and death records online - most for Shelby County Tennessee.

I was trying to remember what bookmarks I had added most recently and I think they were all related to specific things I was searching for - Civil War soldiers in Kentucky, Iron Furnaces in Kentucky (ancestors traveled to work in these), and new state specific archives - Arizona, Georgia, Missouri birth certificates online etc.

You're right, things have changed over the last year. Sites like findagrave,
wouldn't have been on my list a couple of years ago. Things change fast and I always remind the students to revisit sites often as new things are added.

Good luck on your talk. I'll forward you my materials when I finish developing them, and any help is appreciated this way too!!