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Best Genealogy Websites of 2012: Part 2
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Best Genealogy Websites of 2012: Part 2


Presentation given in September, 2012. Updated presentation rounds up and examines the best genealogy websites of 2012 available for researchers to use. List includes paid and free websites.

Presentation given in September, 2012. Updated presentation rounds up and examines the best genealogy websites of 2012 available for researchers to use. List includes paid and free websites.

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  • Scroll to the bottom of FamilySearch.Org homepage and click on the link to Canada. If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you will come across the record sets for Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Provincial Records, 1879-1987 -> includes Homestead Files (images only) Saskatchewan Judicial District Court Records, 1891-1954 (images only) Saskatchewan Probate Estate Records, 1887-1931 -> fully indexed thanks to SGS volunteers in 2011
  • **Ongoing project for LAC to digitize its microfilm & microfiche collection; often new records sets such as school files can be found; IMAGES only – no nominal index
  • Free BMD – transcribed index books for civil registration for England & Wales; spans the period from 1837-1983 DeathIndexes – directory of links to websites that offer online death indexes listed by state & county
  • SGS Burial Index – equally valuable is their Index to Cemeteries Interment.net – free site offering millions of records submitted by volunteers
  • Find a Grave – 44 million volunteer-contributed grave records from over 250, 000 cemeteries in the US and around the world
  • Peel’s Prairie Provinces – Calgary & Edmonton (complete) – 1900s to 1952/3; select years for Winnipeg & Saskatoon
  • Distant Cousins – some online access to US directories; more valuable about which institution holds the print versions Historical Directories of UK – local & trade directories for England & Wales from 1750-1919
  • Ellis Island – list of immigrants who arrived in New York between 1892 to 1924 Castle Garden – New York’s first immigrant receiving station in 1855 but the records go back to 1830 and stretch till 1892 Bremen Passenger Lists – Bremen was one of the most important ports of departure for Europeans; however many of Bremen’s records have now been lost so don’t expect to see any earlier years than 1920; Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild – volunteer-run site offers 11,000+ transcribed passenger lists The Ships List - Since 1999, this site has been serving up passenger lists, now numbering some 3,000 pages and growing every month. It’s also a good source to learn more about the ship your ancestors arrived on; it might even include a picture. Ship Index – to learn about the ship your ancestor may have travelled on
  • Swiss Refugee Database: contains the names of 25, 000+ individuals who fled to neutral Switzerland during WWII. Info about each individual includes name, date of birth & nationality (day-month-year) **note: Site is in French!!!
  • Heritage Quest – local histories/family histories – search by name & geographical locale; also has PERSI (Periodical Source Index) – tracking down articles published in genealogical/historical magazines Google Books – public domain books are fully digitized; those books under copyright restriction, will allow you to see a preview and link to WorldCat which can enable you to do a library search; full run of the Ancestry magazine
  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online - Those Getty billions pay off in this searchable database of more than 1.1 million locales, including historical places (with dates) and alternate spellings. Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection – offers a variety of historical maps from different time periods David Rumsey – contains over 22, 000 maps with a main focus on 18 th -19 th century North American and South American maps
  • Atlas of the German Empire by Ludwig Ravenstein – map was printed in 1883; The atlas helps in tracing the roots of families with origins in any part of the German empire from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Besides Germany, the maps of this atlas also cover the bordering portions of present-day Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
  • Sask Virtual War Memorial – Saskatchewan-centric; ability for you to add photos & stories to existing data Commonwealth War Graves Commission - We commemorate the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars; Our cemeteries, burial plots and memorials are a lasting tribute to those who died in some 150 countries across the world; Our Register records details of Commonwealth war dead so that graves or names on memorials can be located. NARA’s Military Resources – covers conflicts from the American Revolutionary War to modern times; free online databases for WWII & Korean War research; place to order military service & Federal military pension files
  • Newly released digitized War of 1812 records: War of 1812: Board of Claims for Losses, 1813-1848, RG 19 E5A War of 1812: Lower Canada Nominal Rolls and Paylists , RG 9 1A7 War of 1812: Miscellaneous Records War of 1812: Upper Canada Returns, Nominal Rolls and Paylists , RG 9 1B7
  • Chronicling America (LOC) – this collection makes this an even more important bookmark for delving into the nation’s past—now exceeding 3.3 million digitized pages from nearly 450 titles. ICON – multi-institutional cooperative effort to raise the profiles of newspapers published outside of US; listing of what newspapers were published when & where
  • FindMyPast - $50 value add membership with SGS/annual; $10 day pass; Site offers tons of British records including the complete English Census from 1841-1911 as well as passenger lists Origins Network – site specializes in hard-to-find records including National Wills index; 1841, 1861 and 1871 censuses; Griffith’s Valuation tax census and 1841 & 1901 Dublin city censuses – Irish genealogy London Lives – fully searchable database of 240, 000 manuscripts from 8 archives & 15 datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names from 18 th century London; focuses on plebeian Londoners – eg. Criminal justice records, poor relief institutions, etc.
  • Scotland’s People - The 1911 census joins earlier enumerations from 1841 to 1901, parish records and statutory registers; you can start searching for about $11. Sections on wills and testaments (1513 to 1901) and coats of arms (1672 to 1907) are free.
  • National Archives of Ireland – fully digitized 1901 & 1911 census records; really good source of info about what gov office to contact
  • Digital Archives of Norway – offers census and parish records; the place to begin your Norwegian genealogy research; The 1910 Norwegian census is now available at this record-packed site from the National Archives of Norway, joining the enumerations from 1801, 1865, 1875 and 1900 Swedish National Archives – offers the 1880, 1890 & 1900 census records Genline – nearly complete collection of Swedish parish records Finnish Family History Association – images of original church records (communion books) Danish Demographic Database – “Emigrants” section offers searchable list of Danes who left Denamkr from 1869 to 1908; site also offers census records - Here you can search nearly 13 million census records and 400,000 emigration records, 1868 to 1908, all without spending a krone.
  • HalGal - Genealogy of Halychyna/Eastern Galicia; starting point for anyone doing genealogical research in Western Ukraine/Eastern Galicia EastEuropeGenWeb – free online data repository for queries, family histories & source records Federation of East European Family History Societies – organized in 1992; website contains a resource directory with links to organizations, databases & an extensive online map library (free to view) PolishRoots – site offers info from 16 th century up to the later 20 th century; offers maps, history, immigration & other useful info
  • German Roots – Make sure to check out the “Emigration & Immigration Records” section where a researcher can expect to find extensive lists & explanations of German departure records as well as US arrival records of immigrants The German Genealogy Network – click on the “Regional” link to find descriptions of your ancestor’s German state of origin; similar to Genuki (lists of resources) GeneaNet - Over 2 million user-contributed civil and parish records are available online through the French site GeneaNet.org, plus subscription-based access to additional records, including civil and parish registers, digitized books and additional French genealogy sources. Genelias –collaborative efforts of a number of archives in the Netherlands; project aim to index all the open civil registers (post 1811); searching is free while copies can be ordered for a fee Italian Heritage and Home Page – good “jumping off” point for Italian genealogy research, including a name translator, a list of Italian immigrants and links to Italian genealogical societies
  • Mocavo - Mocavo is a web search engine that speedily crawls hundreds of thousands of genealogy sites—especially great if you’re researching a surname that’s also a common word or corporate name. One-Step (Steve Morse) - No Flash animation or fancy design here, but creator Steve Morse excels in the underlying tech of the web—building better ways to search the Ellis Island and Castle Garden websites, other immigration databases and online census collections.
  • RootsWeb - The world's largest online genealogy community with over 17 Million posts on more than 161,000 boards. Google Earth - The downloadable Google Earth version 6.0 lets you zoom around the world on your computer or mobile device in 3D, and now includes historical imagery. Or check out the street views—the next best thing to visiting your ancestral places in person. Evernote: Another general-purpose tool, Evernote makes saving your online finds as easy as clicking a button; then you can tag or search saved pages and sync them across platforms—on your PC or Mac, on the Web or on your iPhone. You can even e-mail items to yourself at a special Evernote address, or save shots of textual records from your phone’s camera that you can run through optical character recognition. 
  • Genealogy Guys – George G. Morgan & Drew Smith produced the “longest-running, regularly produced genealogy podcast in the world” – over 230 programs


  • 1. May P. Chan Email: maychan@reginalibrary.caPrairie History Room, Regina Public Library ©September 2012
  • 2. OutlineBrief Introduction “The Usual Suspects” “By Record Type” – e.g. BMDs “Crossing the Pond” – eg. English“Handy Research Tools”
  • 3. Why do you need such a list?Not all genealogy websites are the sameSome require a paid subscription (per view or monthly) or are free; some provide only images, an index (points you to the original source), etc.; some are created by libraries/archives/genealogical societies while others are done by volunteersList of online resources is not meant to replace “traditional” formats like books & microfilm. Rather the list is meant to be used “in addition to”List features both paid $ and free web resources
  • 4. Criteria Offers the most authoritative and trustworthy websites to use for genealogy How did I select the best genealogy websites for you to use?  Annual “Best of” featured on the Family Tree website: http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/101- best-websites-2012  Magazines such as Internet Genealogy & Family Chronicle  Various genealogy blogs  Tips from other genealogists  Personal experience helping patrons
  • 5. “The Usual Suspects” These websites consistently top the “Best of the Best” online resources to use:  Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com or http://www.ancestry.ca) - $ (ALE is free to access at all RPL branches)  FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org) – FREE  Cyndi’s List (http://www.cyndislist.com/) – FREE  World Vital Records (www.worldvitalrecords.com) - $  Canadian Genealogy Centre (Library& Archives Canada; http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/) – FREE
  • 6. Tips #1 & 2 – FamilySearch.org Sign-up for a free account! Take advantage of its free research guides!
  • 7. Tip #3 – “Browse by Location” feature Click on “Canada” and scroll down  SK Provincial Records, 1879 - 1987 - this link takes you to the Homestead Files!  SK Judicial District Court Records, 1891-1954  SK Probate Estate Records, 1887- 1931
  • 8. Tip #4 – CGC’s Guides • Really helpful guides on how to locate and use specific records
  • 9. Tip # 5 – CGC’s New Records Microfilm Digitization Page http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-di  Browse by topic or by record type
  • 10. “By Record Type” Births, Marriages & Deaths Indexes (BMDs)  Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics (https:// novascotiagenealogy.com/) – FREE  British Columbia Vital Events Indexes ( http://search.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/sn-5B37DD3/gbsea ) - FREE  Manitoba Vital Records ( http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Query.php) – FREE  Free BMD (UK; http://www.freebmd.org.uk/) – FREE  DeathIndexes (US; http://www.deathindexes.com/) – FREE
  • 11. “By Record Type” – continued Census Records  Automated Genealogy (Canada; http:// www.automatedgenealogy.com) - FREE
  • 12. “By Record Type” – continuedNational Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) 1940 website - ( http://1940census.archives.gov/) - FREE
  • 13. “By Record Type” – continuedCemetery Records  SGS Burial Index (http:// www.saskgenealogy.com/databases/indexes.a )-$  Canada’s GenWeb Cemetery Project ( http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/search.html ) - FREE  Deceased Online (UK; http:// www.deceasedonline.com) – $  Interment.Net (Global; http://www.interment.net/) - FREE
  • 14. “By Record Type” - continued Find A Grave (Global; http://www.findagrave.com ) - FREE
  • 15. “By Record Type” – continuedCity Directories  Peel’s Prairie Provinces (AB, MB & Saskatoon; http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/henderson.html) - FREE  British Columbia’s City Directories, 1860-1940 (http://www.vpl.ca/bccd/index.php) - FREE  Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) (Quebec; http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/collection_nume ) - FREE
  • 16. City Directories - continued Toronto City Directories 1833-1899 ( http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/digital-archive/ ) - FREE Distant Cousins (US; http://distantcousin.com /Directories) - FREE Historical Directories of UK (http:// historicaldirectories.org/hd/) – FREE Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) ( http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives ) - FREE
  • 17. “By Record Type” – continued Immigration & Passenger Lists  Ellis Island (New York, US; http:// www.ellisisland.org/) - FREE  Castle Garden (New York, US; http:// www.castlegarden.org) - FREE  Bremen Passenger Lists, 1920-1939 (Germany; http://www.passengerlists.de/) – FREE  Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) (Global; http://www.immigrantships.net/) - FREE  The Ships List (Global; http:// www.theshipslist.com/) – FREE  Ship Index (Global; http://www.shipindex.org/) - $
  • 18. Tip #6 – Really Interesting Database… Swiss Refugee Database 1942- 1945 (Switzerland; http://etat.geneve.ch/dt/archives/a_votre_service-liste_ ) – FREE
  • 19. “By Record Type” – continued Local/Family/General Histories  Heritage Quest - $ (FREE access through RPL)  Our Roots (Western Canada; http:// ourroots.ca) - FREE  Canadiana (http://www.canadiana.ca/en/home ) - FREE  Google Books (http://books.google.com/) - FREE  Internet Archives (http://archive.org/index.php) - FREE
  • 20. “By Record Type” – continued Maps  Canadian County Atlases (Ontario; http:// digital.library.mcgill.ca/countyatlas) - FREE  Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online (global; http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn) - FREE  Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection (global; http://lib.utexas.edu/maps) – FREE  David Rumsey (global; http:// www.davidrumsey.com/) – FREE
  • 21. Tip # 7 – Really Cool Map!!! Atlas of the German Empire by Ludwig Ravenstein (Europe; http:// library.wisc.edu/etext/ravenstein) – FREE
  • 22. “By Record Type” – continued Military Records  Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial ( http://www.svwm.ca) – FREE  Commonwealth War Graves Commission (British Commonwealth; http://www.cwgc.org/) - FREE  National Archives & Records Administration: Military Resources (US; http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/militar ) – FREE War of 1812 Resources  Olive Tree Genealogy: War of 1812 (http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/mil/1812/) - FREE
  • 23. War of 1812 resources – continued Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com/) - $ except for War of 1812 pension files which are free!!!
  • 24. War of 1812 resources - continued The War of 1812 at Library and Archives Canada ( http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Pages/war-1812-library ) – FREE
  • 25. “By Record Type” – continued Newspapers  Google News Archives (US & Canada; http://news.google.com/newspapers) - FREE  Chronicling America (US; http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) - FREE  British Newspapers, 1800-1900 ( http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs) - $  Trove – National Library of Australia (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper) - FREE  International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) (global; http://icon.crl.edu/digitization.htm) - FREE
  • 26. Tip#8 – Handy Leader Post indexes Saskatchewan Newspapers Index (http://library.usask.ca/sni/) – FREE SaskObits (http://www.saskobits.com) - FREE Regina Leader Post Index (1992-2007) – FREE but in-house use only at Regina Public Library!
  • 27. “Crossing the Pond” English Genealogy  FindMyPast (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/) - $ (available through SGS)  Origins Network (http://www.origins.net) – $  UK National Archives ( http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) - FREE  The Genealogist (http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk) -$  The National Library of Wales ( http://cat.llgc.org.uk/probate) - FREE  Genuki (http://genuki.org.uk) – FREE  London Lives 1690-1900 ( http://www.londonlives.org) - FREE
  • 28. “Crossing the Pond – continued” Scottish Genealogy  Scotland’s People ( http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) - $
  • 29. “Crossing the Pond – continued”Irish Genealogy  The National Archives of Ireland ( http://nationalarchives.ie) – FREE  Find My Past (Irish version; http://www.findmypast.ie) - $  Ireland Gen Web (http://irelandgenweb.com) – FREE  Irish Family History Foundation (http://www.rootsireland.ie/) – $
  • 30. “Crossing the Pond – continued” Scandinavian Genealogy  Digital Archives of Norway (http://arkivverket.no /eng/Digital-Archives) – FREE  Swedish National Archives (http://www.svar.ra.se ) – FREE  Genline (Sweden; http://www.arkivdigital.net) – $  Finnish Family History Association (FFHA) (http:// www.sukuhistoria.fi/sshy/index_eng.htm) – FREE  Danish Demographic Database ( http://www.ddd.dda.dk) - FREE
  • 31. “Crossing the Pond – continued”Eastern European Genealogy  HalGal (Western Ukraine & Galicia; http://www.halgal.com) – FREE  EastEuropeGenWeb ( http://www.rootsweb.com/~easeurgw) – FREE  Federation of East European Family History Societies (http://feefhs.org) – FREE  PolishRoots (http://www.polishroots.org/) - FREE
  • 32. “Crossing the Pond – continued” Western European Genealogy  German Roots (Germany; http:// www.germanroots.com/) – FREE  The German Genealogy Network (http:// www.genealogienetz.de/genealogy.html) - FREE  GeneaNet (France; http://www.geneanet.org/) – FREE  Genelias (Holland; http://www.genlias.nl/en/page0.jsp) – $  Italian Heritage and Home Page (Italy; http:// www.daddezio.com/) - FREE
  • 33. “Handy Research Tools”Search Engines  Mocavo (http://www.mocavo.com/) - FREE  One-Step Web Pages (http://stevemorse.org/) – FREESoftware & Hardware Reviews  GenSoftReviews (genealogy software; http:// www.gensoftreviews.com) – FREE  CNET (software and hardware; http:// www.cnet.com/) - FREE
  • 34. “Handy Research Tools” Message Boards  Roots Web (http://www.rootsweb.com) - FREE Tech Tools  Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/) – FREE  Google Earth (http:// www.google.com/earth/index.html) - FREE  Evernote (online notes ; http:// www.evernote.com) – FREE  XnView (screen capturing & basic photo editing; http://www.xnview.com/) - FREE
  • 35. “Handy Research Tools”Staying Up-to Date  Dick’s Eastman’s Newsletter ( http://blog.eogn.com/) – FREE  Dear Myrtle (http://blog.dearmyrtle.com) - FREE  Ancestry Insider ( http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com/) - FREE  Genealogy Blog Finder ( http://blogfinder.genealogue.com/) – FREE  Genealogy Guys (http://www.genealogyguys.com) - FREE
  • 36. Tip #9 - Canadian-based Newsletter!!! GenealogyinTime Magazine (http://www.genealogyinti me.com/index.html) – FREE • Offers Genealogy Search Engine and a Family Tree Search Engine • Updates on new genealogical resources • Archives of handy research articles