Monday, February 23, 2015

My Top 10 Online Genealogy Research Resources

Cyndi Ingle asked a question on Facebook for discussion: 

"One of the new lectures is "Ten Resources I Use Every Day." Top 10 lists seem to be a popular thing. I remember being asked on many occasions to create top 10 lists of sites to present in lectures at conferences. Thus, this lecture idea was born. I've been adding to an outline for a while now. It is all the things I do and all the things I use during the day that make me more efficient, organized, and a better researcher. I have a lot more than 10 of them. It's 55 so far. So, I organized them into 10 categories. Ha! What are your favorite 10 resources?"

I responded on Facebook, but didn't limit my list of 10 to just Online Genealogy Research Resources.  After some reflection, I think these are my top 10 Research sites (in approximate order of use):

1) ($$) - Searching for records of persons in my tree in indexed databases, and finding Record Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree.

2)  FamilySearch (Free) - Searching for records of persons in indexed and browse only (especially land and probate) record collections, and finding Record Hints for my persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Also the FamilySearch Books.

3)  Find A Grave (Free) - Searching for burial (and occasionally other) records of persons in my tree database.

4)  AmericanAncestors ($$) - Searching for records of persons in my tree database, including periodicals, historical newspapers, and original probate records in some counties of New England.

5)  Google (Free) - Search websites, Books, and News Archive for information about persons in my tree database.

6)  GenealogyBsnk ($$) - Searching for newspaper articles, obituaries and death notices for persons in my tree database.  Also Social Security Death Index records.

7)  FindMyPast ($$) - Searching for  records of persons in my tree database in England, and finding Record Hints for my persons in my FindMyPast tree.

8)  MyHeritage ($$) - Searching for records of persons in my tree database, plus Record Matches for my persons in my MyHeritage tree, which includes NewspaperARCHIVE.

9)  Mocavo ($$) - Searching for records of persons in my tree database.

10)  Library and Archives Canada (Free) - Searching for records of my Canadian family members.

That's not all of the sites I use for my own genealogy research, but they are the ones I use more often.

Of course, my research needs are different from almost everyone else's research needs, hence the inclusion of English and Canadian sites.

I didn't include:

*  Data portals like the FamilySearch Wiki, the Ancestry Wiki, Cyndi's List, Linkpendium or the Joe Beine sites because I don't do research on them - I gather information about resources from them.

*  Sites I don't have subscriptions for, like, or other subscription sites.

*  Family tree websites like WorldConnect, Geni, WikiTree, WeRelate and others because I don't use them for research, except occasionally when someone wants to collaborate on or discuss (or messes up the information for) an ancestor.

*  Educational sites like FamilySearch Learning Courses, Webinars, YouTube Channels, etc.

I try to add new resources that I find to my Randy's Genealogy Links page at

I may do other Top Ten lists for other categories.  What other categories would my readers like me to cover?

What are my reader's Top 10 online research resources?  What other research resources should I add to my Links page?  Please tell me in comments or email.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver


Michael said...

You pretty much nailed it Randy.

I am trying GenealogyBank but I have had better luck on NewspaperArchives, but nothing of late.

I am a hugh fan of Wikitree but you are right that it is not a research site or what I call a records database site. It is great for collaboration and getting help with Genealogy Research.

Dana Leeds said...

Nice list! I agree with Michael that I have more success with than GenealogyBank. But, I think it all depends on where your ancestors lived!

Unknown said...

Hi Randy,
So far I'm using 6 out of the 10 listed, with genealogybank the most recent (trying it for 1 month and have found some helpful articles). Thanks for sharing!

Nancy Simmons Roberson said...

I also still use I know Ancestry owns them but it is buried inside a search so I go directly to it. Great place to find someone to collaborate with on your family lines. Also is another old site but when I am struggling sometimes I can find some great records here.