Have you bookmarked these free genealogy sites?
Of course we all have our favorite sites to retrieve the records that let us fill in the blanks on our family trees, but eventually you want to go deeper and learn more about the people and their communities. Here are some of the best free genealogy sites in my toolbox.
Your First 10 Minutes of Online Research
A Day in the Life
Chronicling America « Library of Congress: It’s possible everyone else has known about the Chronicling America project for a long time, and I’m the last to know. That’s okay. Free searchable online newspapers for tons of US cities? I’ll take it.
Day of the Week Calculator by Ancestor Search: Since historic newspapers often recount events by day of the week, it helps to know both publication date and day. However, the date header doesn’t always include both. This day of the week calculator tells you the day when you plug in the date, determining the correct date for any item which mentions only the day.
IPS – Record of Climatological Observations: Historic weather records become especially relevant when you’re ready to write your family history and you need setting details. Want to know if your great-grandparents had rain or shine on their wedding day? Here it is! (Special thanks to Sheryl at A Hundred Years Ago for finding this one! Her instructions on how to use the site can be found here: How to Find the Temperature on Any Date in Any City in US.)
Faces & Places
Free genealogy family history photo search by surname – Dead Fred .com: Honestly, you probably won’t find a photo of your favorite ancestor. But I dare you to resist trying. You can search by name or location. Go on, go play a while. I’ll be here when you get back.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: Locating your ancestor’s property on a historic map is almost as exciting as finding a photo. (Probably more significant, too.) This collection contains over 42,000 historic maps and images.
Not technically free genealogy sites, but…
eBay: I’m not a big online shopper at all, but I’ve been known to spring for historic postcards on eBay. Try looking through Real Photos Postcards for slice-of-life, or search the US States, Cities, and Towns collection to imagine places as your ancestors saw them.
Wikipedia: While Wikipedia usually gets a bad rap, I love it for where-and-when timeline of military missions and battles. When you find military information such as Regiment/Company or Squadron, plug it in for an up-close look at your ancestor’s experience.
If you’ve got plenty of resources but want to enhance your knowledge base, think about participating in the next #genchat.
This fun, vibrant online community shares insights among researchers through a Twitter-based chat, hosted by genealogist Jen Baldwin. It’s opened my eyes to research issues and resources I never knew about. Take a look at the feed to get an idea of what it’s all about, check out the 2016 schedule, and make plans to join in! (I’m not affiliated with #genchat–I just really enjoy participating!)
If my chatter about NY-PA border counties (Cattaraugus, Allegany & Steuben in NY and McKean, Tioga & Potter in PA) brought you here, then I have resources you shouldn’t miss!
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Death Indices, 1906-1964
- Pennsylvania Online Historical Directories – listed by county
- Bradford Era Obit Index, 1935-1995 (Bradford, McKean, PA)
- Digital Archives of Green Free Library via NewspaperARCHIVE.com (Wellsboro, Tioga, PA)
- New York, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963
- Steuben County Obituaries Index (Steuben, NY)
- Old Cattaraugus County Pictures and The Olean New York Fan Page (Facebook)
- Frank S. Rowland Church Register, 1889-1917 via FamilySearch.org (includes Hornellsville, Hartville, Rochester, Buffalo and Olean NY records)
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Thanks for reading!