Friday, September 28, 2012

My Top Ten Genealogy Websites

James Tanner posted his My Top Ten, Can't Miss, Websites last week and I've been thinking about my own.  James concentrated on non-commercial sites, and did not include Google sites or social network sites.

Which websites do I rely upon to pursue my genealogy work, which ones do I use the most, and which ones do I get the most information from?  Here's my list:

1) ($$):  A no-brainer.  I'm in Ancestry every day looking for historical records to add content to my database.  I check for new collections almost every day and explore some of them.  I get messages every week about my Ancestry Member Tree.  I don't use the Learning Center much.  I download record images to my computer and attach them to my genealogy database rather than accept the green shaky leaves.

2) (Free):  Another no-brainer.  I use FamilySearch every day looking for historical records to add content to my database.  I check for new collections every day and explore some of them.  I watch the online videos and use the Research Wiki occasionally.  I use the Family History Library Catalog almost every day.   I've been monitoring the progress of the FamilySearch Family Tree.

3) (free):  Absolutely essential for my day-to-day work.  Calendar, Search, Maps, Books, Blogger (all day!), Reader (all day!), Translate, Images - what's not to like?

4) ($$):  With so many Massachusetts ancestors, I am in this website searching their historical records and periodicals almost every day as I add content to my genealogy database.

5) ($$):  The combination of historical newspapers and current obituaries is wonderful, and they added the historical San Diego papers this year.

6) ($$):  The Record Matches feature on this site has popped it onto this list.  I'm using it to find matches in record collections (especially Find-A-Grave, NewspaperARCHIVES, and social Security Death Index) for persons in my genealogy database.  note that MyHeritage uses historical record collections and links.

7) (free):  I am in this site almost every day finding content for persons in my genealogy database.

8) ($$):  I'm using this site several times a week to capture English records and add content for persons in my genealogy database.

9) (Free):  I use this site almost daily for California Death Index, the WorldConnect tree database, and check the message boards occasionally.

10) (Free):  I watch one or two webinars every week, either live or after the event.  This is a wonderful genealogy educational site, in addition to the software.

Obviously, my selections are calibrated to the needs of my own genealogy research.  My major research needs are in New England, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and England.

Family Tree Magazine recently published their 101 Best Genealogy Websites for 2012 in 13 categories - check it out.

What websites are absolutely essential for your genealogy research?  What websites should I be using for my genealogy research needs?

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Linda said...

Thank you for this! I'll have to look into Genealogy Bank. Ever since graduating from school, I no longer have access to a certain historical newspapers site I used to use for my genealogy. It's been bugging me because I didn't save every image and I'm hesitant to spend money on a random site.

Magda said...

Randy , I have had GenealogyBank for a couple years, a great resource & found many loose ends relatives on it . However ,they changed the search aspects so much . They used to have an " old style " link on it but now I can not find it . Any suggestions on how to work with the new GenealogyBank ?? Or is it just me ?

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Great list, Randy. Your number 1 & 2 would be my number 1 & 2. I also use the following a lot:
1. for Missouri: Missouri Digital Heritage. They have death certificates!
2. for California: California Digital Newspaper Collection.
3. for other newspapers: Chronicling America.

Unknown said...

Great list Randy,

Agreed our Top 10s are driven by our personal research.

Linda, I would tell you that GenealogyBank is essential because it has been for me. But, there are gaps in their coverage. Check out the trial subscription to vet whether they have the papers you need before signing on to the full subscription. Me, I can't live without it.

Lisa, Chronicling America is also a great resource for newspapers. Google News Archives has also been very productive for me on my Charleston South Carolina folks. It's not easy to access or search but if you know what you are looking for you can finId it.

I just wrote a post on FamilySearch for beginners. I love that site. It has saved me so much time and money personally and professionally. I'm always surprised to find people who aren't using it.

Lastly I have to show some love to If you have ancestors in major cities such as Philadelpia or Chicago the access to city directories are invaluable. Civil War civilian files and other soldiers records are wonderful. I've found some really unique info in their FBI files. I could go on.

Regionally speaking, if you have family from Birmingham Alabama, BPL Online local databases cannot be beat.