Check what researchers may have already published about the surnames in your family tree.
- Family History Library, HeritageQuest,~ PERSI, Genealogy Today,~National Genealogical Society,~New England Historical Genealogical Society, WorldCat, Library of Congress, libraries and~historical societies in the area where your ancestors lived, Google Books, Internet Archive & Family History Archives Brigham Young University and online message boards.
- Wikipedia provides a list of search engines.
- Free online records
- Library Catalog
- Order Microfilm
- Find a Family Search Center
- 150 Free Classes
- Research Wiki
- Help them index (to make more free records available)!
- Their Favorite websites
- Library of Congress – Many materials may be borrowed via interlibrary loan.
Its collection of approximately 141 million items makes it the largest library in the world. Online Catalog at www.loc.gov. The Library of Congress also has an online Digital Collection that includes maps, images, and historic newspapers.
- DAR Library
The DAR Library in Washington, DC, contains a collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications. Its website is at www.dar.org/library/. The catalog of the DAR Library is online. Books in this library do not circulate but the Library has a Search Service – information in a book can be located and photocopied.
- Allen County Library
Its PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) is a comprehensive surname, locality, and subject index to genealogical and historical periodicals, covering articles published from the 1700s to the present – 10,000 different periodicals, and more than 1.8 million records in the index.
- Godfrey Memorial Library (subscription)
The Godfrey Memorial library has many old newspapers, good for finding obituaries. They have a lot of family histories and genealogies.
- National Archives
Nation’s record keeper for the Federal Government – census, naturalization, military, immigration, land records – most of these records are not online. Free military for next of kin.
from Google Your Family Tree, Daniel M. Lynch
- When searching for your ancestor in Google, use the OR command and quotes.~ For example:~ “Brian Hall” OR “Hall, Brian”~you can also use a * as a wild card:~~”Brian * Hall” OR “Hall * Brian”, that way if he is listed with a middle name your search will pick it up.
- Adding a tilde before a word, like ~genealogy basically tells Google to search using all synonyms of genealogy. You can use the ~ with any Google search and it will find synonyms of that word.
- Use a minus (-) sign to exclude records – i.e. if you are searching on the surname Franklin but want to exclude Benjamin Franklin: Franklin -Benjamin ~genealogy
- Search with~the (numrange) feature.~ “Brian Hall” 1727..1789 will limit your search results to “Brian Hall” with dates between 1727 and 1789 or try using the timeline (under Show Options).
- Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
- USGenWeb (free)
- NEHGS (subscription, some free)
- Ancestry.com (subscription, some free)
- Fold3.com (subscription, some free) 50% off
- GenealogyBank.com (subscription, 30 day trial)
- Ellis Island (free)
- Library of Congress (free)
- DAR (free)
- Random Acts Of Genealogical Kindness (free)
- Cemetery Photos (free)
- Online death information
- JewishGenWeb (free)
- Facebook.com, Scribd.com, Veromi.com, Pipl.com
- .pdf my URL
- Wayback machine (and online books)
- Steve Morse site: Finding people on the census and ship manifests free
- National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections
- Find Birth, Marriage, Death Records at the Center for Disease Control or vitalrec.com
- David Rumsey Map Collection
- Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Elizabeth Shown Mills (how to write source citations for every conceivable source – buy a searchable .pdf on Footnote.com)
- The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, Val D. Greenwood
- The Family Tree Problem Solver, Proven Method for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Walls, Marsha Hoffman Rising
- The Source, A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Edited by Arlene and Johni Cerny
- Ancestry’s Red book: American state, county & town sources, Ancestry Publishing, 2004 (google books, Ancestry.com Wiki)
- Land and Property Research in the United States, By E. Wade Hone (free on google books)
Free Online Courses
- Genealogy.com geared mainly to the beginner
- FamilySearch (beginner to intermediate) at FamilySearch.org
- Brigham Young University (beginner to intermediate)
- About.com (beginner)
- Board for Certification of Genealogists, skill building columns (free – Intermediate/Advanced) and their publication Onboard ($15/annually)
- Cyndi’s List –Information for Beginners in Genealogy
- Family Tree Magazine
- Ancestry.com’s Learning Center
Publications of Genealogical and historical societies and surname groups
- The National Genealogical Society Quarterly was first published in 1912.
- The New England Historic Genealogical Society began its~Register~in 1847. There are indexes to most of the volumes. These are in print form, on CD, and on the Society’s webpage.
- Dear Myrtle
- Eastman’s Online Newsletter
- Randy Seaver’s Genea Musings
- The Genealogy Guys Podcast
- Genealogy Tip of the Day
- Passage to the Past by Linda Little Jackson, NH
- Yahoo & Google Groups
- Attend conferences – NERGC in Manchester, NH
- The Bachelor excellent video on focused in depth research on an individual
Free charts and more
- US records – every 10 years.
- From 1790-1840, only the head of household name is listed.
- From 1850 to 1930, details are provided for all individuals in each household.
- Virtually all the 1890 census records were destroyed by fire.
- The 1940 census will be released 2 April 2012 (72 years) – no index initially.
- Information about an individual contained in censuses for 1940–2000 is made available only to that person on the record.
- Look for State Censuses (various), Non-Population (1850-80), Veterans (1890 – DC, half of KY & LA-WY), Slave (1850-60) , Indian (1900-10), and Mortality Schedules (1850-80)
- Review the enumerator instructions
- Explore some of the information that the National Archives has posted
- Download a blank census form for each year census was taken (Ancestry.com)
- Ancestry.com and Heritagequest.com have digitized and indexed many of the Federal Census records, many are also available on FamilySearch.org, Footnote.com and USGENWEB.
Ancestry Search Tips
- First always start in “old search” Go to the main search screen and on the top right hand side there will be a link that reads “old search”. Go right to the database you want to search, for example the 1900 census. Pick the advanced search.
- Use a wild card to search (this requires at least three letters)
- Try Joh* for Johansen
- When using wildcards you can also use them at the BEGINNING of a name. For example when searching on the Johansen you can try *ansen or *sen
- You can also use them within the word, as long as you have three characters total. So for Johansen try: Jo*en OR *han*en OR J*h*n.
- Sometimes you get a weird error message from ancestry.com, but for the most part it works.
- Expect to find your ancestor listed by their middle name, nickname, initials, or some crazy spelling!
- Check name variations like: Reed, Reid, Ried;~ George, Goerge, Gorge; Joseph, Joesph, Josef.
- Try spelling the name phonetically. For Clough try Cluff.
- Leave the last name blank, and search on first name only or a few letters in the first name with a wildcard (*) if it’s an unusual or uncommon first name.
- Leave the first and last name blank. By doing this, you will get hundreds of hits. Try to narrow down your results by adding additional information. Add~State, County, City, birth year (+/- 2 years or more), place of birth, etc. You also have choices like head of household, wife, son, daughter, white, black, etc.
- Another great thing to do is look at neighbors. Say you find them in 1920 but can’t find them in 1930. Look at their census page in 1920, find some neighbors with “easier” names. Search for them in the 1930 census. Chances are that your relatives will still be nearby.
- You may also want to try checking other census~indexes. If their name was improperly indexed on ancestry.com, it may be properly indexed on HeritageQuest. Remember that the indexes were created by humans, they can be wrong too!
The references above were provided by Linda Hall-Little.