Hey everyone, welcome back!
Today's post is one that many will find useful, especially if they are new to genealogy. Even if you are a research veteran, perhaps you can add some of your favorite sites and ideas in the comments below. I have also given this post it's own page with a link at the top.
Also, if you haven't already, please check out a previous blog post How To Start Researching Your Family Tree
The following is a list of a few of my favorite resources for researching my ancestry. There are many other sites out in the "web of internets," but these few have been the ones that I have used consistently over the years.
Naturally, first on my list is ancestry.com. Over the years they have built their company up to be the premier site when it comes to genealogy. In order to view most records, a paid subscription will be needed. Ancestry offers a few different tiers and options for their subscriptions. If you are just doing research in the United States, then I would recommend getting the basic U.S. membership. However, if you are like me, you will quickly research your lost kin and find out that your family emigrated to America and you will want to find out more. When you get to that point, you will want to upgrade your subscription the the World membership. This will unlock a plethora of information from all over the world.
I would like to point out, though, you do not have to have a subscription to build and maintain a family tree on ancestry.com. So don't be afraid that if you cancel your subscription, for whatever reason; all of your hours of hard work and your tree will still be safe and accessible.
Second on my list is familysearch.org. familysearch is a site owned and operated by the LDS Church who are well known for keeping tons of documents in relation to genealogy. I typically use this site for my searches when i can't seem to find something with ancestry's search engine, as familysearch's search engine is arguably the best for any genealogy site. I also use familysearch for looking up probate records and wills. The best part about this site is the fact that it is free. You can build a tree on it, but... the tree will be public and anyone can make changes to it. Save some headaches and just use ancestry for building your tree.
Third on my list is findagrave.com. This is a community based site that is now owned by ancestry.com. This site is great for finding ancestors graves, headstones, cemeteries, and other information that a user might publish. Keep in mind, however, that much of the information on this site is submitted by users and errors can be made. So use this site as a reference and do your due diligence in proving the information is correct. Sometimes if I get stuck on an ancestor, I will try findagrave and see if anyone else has found info on that person and if they have, it gives me a lead to follow. As of the writing of this, the graphical user interface (GUI) has recently changed on findagrave. I have not used the new layout enough to completely form an opinion as to whether I like the changes or not.
Fourth, when all else fails, use Google. I mean, why not? It is the best search engine on the internet. By using Google, you can find other websites that pertain to you family specifically, forum posts, or even find books written about your family. Again, just like with findagrave, don't just take anyone's word; prove it. There is a lot of false info, guesses, and theories out there and many times you will see it posted as fact. Use that info as a guide and see if you can figure out how they came up with that information.
There you have it. These are my go-to's when it comes to my research. I hope you can find this list useful. If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations; send them to me. I look forward to hearing from you!