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Genealogy Research: Top Ten Resources

Hints & Tips

  • Start your genealogy research with these megasites! 
  • Locate your families in each US census (try starting with 1930 and find them in each census year.  Different questions were asked in different censuses.  This info will help to link families together.
  • Revisit these sites periodically and search again.  These sites are always adding new databases.
  • Document your sources.
  • Look for historical documents that can verify your information, rather than relying only on other people's submitted family trees. 

Top 10 Websites

 1)  FamilySearch

Provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) this is  a great site with tons of information. It contains the Family History Library Catalog, local library contact info, extensive research guidance, and searchable databases such as Ancestral File, International Genealogy Index (IGI), Pedigree Resource File, 1880 Census, Social Security Index, and Vital Records Index for Mexico and Scandinavia. A free site.

2)  RootsWeb

One of the oldest and most comprehensive websites for genealogy. Many other worthwhile websites are linked from the RootsWeb pages. A free site.


This is a commercial genealogy site that provides free access to some databases such as the Social Security index and user submitted pedigree files.  Most included databases can be searched for free, but you need a subscription to access the full records. Allows for the free creation of family trees. 

4)   Cyndi's List of genealogy sites on the Internet

An extremely comprehensive collection of links to genealogical web sites. Strongly recommended by genealogy researchers. 

5)    Social Security Death Records Index

You can send away for your ancestors application for a social security card.

6)    The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

The Ellis Island database provides access to the passenger arrival records of about 22 million people whose names appear in the original ships passenger manifests for the Port of New York from 1892-1924. Need to register (for free) to view the full passenger record. 

7)   Vital Records Information

This site contains information about where to obtain marriage, birth, divorce or death records from each state and county in the US and a few international locations.

8)    Census Finder 

Census records are among one of the best and most often utilized tools for genealogy research. Locating free census records online can present a challenge.  With a bit of patience, you will find thousands of census links to free census transcriptions, census indexes and census images in this categorized directory. Includes records for the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada which have been categorized all the way down to the county level.

9)  USGenWeb Project

A volunteer coordinated web site of state and county projects dedicated to putting full text genealogical materials online. Includes cemetery records, census data, family histories, diaries, church records, obituaries, etc. Queries may be posted to local counties. 

10)  National Archives and Records Administration Genealogy Page (NARA)

Provides information about the kinds of records held by the US National Archives,  icluding information about US military records, census, immigration and naturalization records.  Some materials are now online such as the WWII Army Enlistment Records, the Dawes Rolls of American Indians, and the arrivals in NY during the Irish famine. The National Archives and are working as partners to digitize their resources.