Genealogy Web Links

The following links can all be access for free.

$ by a name means it’s a subscription service but is free at Family History Centers.  Ancestry and Heritage Quest are free at all Allegheny County libraries.

Searchable databases

Ancestry  $ www.ancestry.com  One of the two largest repositories of genealogy records.  Automatically finds results close to the entered name and displays other records that match the one you’re looking at. Free access only allows viewing of U.S. and U.K. records

Familysearch   familysearch.org/search   The other large repository, free to use from any PC.  Has a large collection from all over the world. 

Fold3   $ www.fold3.com  Focuses on military records for the U.S.

Heritage Quest   $ www.heritagequestonline.com  Most useful for U.S. census records which are separately indexed from Ancestry and Familysearch.  Exact name spelling required.

World Connect   http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/  User submitted genealogies with millions of names and family connections.  Beware – as with all submitted genealogies, quality varies and some are very incorrect.

Familysearch catalog   familysearch.org/catalog-search  A catalog of the millions of microfilm tapes collected from repositories all over the world.  Organized by town, county and country, must be ordered from Salt Lake City and viewed at a Family History Center.  Some have been electronically converted for online viewing.  Popular local films are kept onsite.

 

Search assists

Google   www.google.com  The most popular and best search engine.  Search by full name and/or location.  Combine search terms and include names in quotes to find anything posted on the web related to your ancestor.

Steve Morse   www.stevemorse.org  Provides flexible search capability for many of the most popular genealogy web sites.  Allows use of partial names and wild carding within names if you aren’t sure of the spelling of the name. 

 

Gravestones

Findagrave   www.findagrave.com  Over 100 million gravestones recorded by volunteers.  Worldwide, but mostly has gravestones from the U.S.

Norm Meinert   freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/tombs.htm.    Similar to Findagrave but limited to Western Pennsylvania, with gravestone information collected by local volunteers.

 

Maps

Google maps   maps.google.com  Find and view any location in the world, with both a map and satellite view.  Sometimes knows old names of towns that have changed in recent times.

Mapquest   www.mapquest.com/  Previously the most popular map site.  Satellite view is less granular image than google maps. 

David Rumsey Map Collection   www.davidrumsey.com/  Large and searchable collection of old maps from all over the world.  Zoom in and see all the detail of the original map and the area where your ancestor lived.

 

Immigration

Ellis Island   www.ellisisland.org/  Searchable collection of immigrants into New York City from it’s opening in 1892.  You can view the original ship record, which might have the place they came from when they arrived in America.  Use Steve Morse for a more flexible name search.

National Archives Access to Archival Databases   aad.archives.gov/aad/series-list.jsp?cat=GP44  Has immigration records for arrivals from several countries, mostly notably Germany from 1850 – 1897.  Use Steve Morse for a more flexible name search.   

Castle Garden   www.castlegarden.org/    Has arrivals in the port of New York for years before Ellis Island opened.  Steve Morse useful here too.

 

Message Boards

Rootsweb   boards.rootsweb.com/  Has posts organized both by last name and location.  Find what others have posted or post an entry for your own ancestor to connect with others searching for the same family.

Genforum   genforum.genealogy.com/  Has posts organized both by last name and location.  Find what others have posted or post an entry for your own ancestor to connect with others researching the same family.

 

Local Resources

Family History Center in Green Tree  familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Pittsburgh_Pennsylvania_Family_History_Center  Staffed three days a week by volunteers who can provide research assistance, there are PC’s for free access to multiple paid sites and viewers for microfilms ordered from Salt Lake City.

Carnegie Library Pennsylvania Room   www.carnegielibrary.org/research/genealogy/  The main repository for genealogy information on Western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas.  Experienced librarians provide research assistance.  Microfilms ordered from Salt Lake City can be delivered and viewed there. 

Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society   www.wpgs.org/  Their office is co-located with the Pennsylvania Room, and offers a paid service to do individual searches.  Has a quarterly journal and offers seminars regularly.

Mt. Lebanon Genealogy Society   www.mtlebanonlibrary.org/306/Genealogy-Society   Our local society with over 100 members, it has eight meetings a year on topics of interest to our members.  There’s no fee to participate and all are welcome to attend. 

 

British Sites

Findmypast   $ www.findmypast.co.uk/  U.K. based site has U.K. census, birth, marriage, death and other records.

Genuki   www.genuki.org.uk/  Lots of information on towns and counties, also has many links to local and regional searchable databases.

Freebmd   www.freebmd.org.uk/  Searchable site for birth, marriage and death records for the U.K. starting in 1837  Information is only recorded by quarter of the year.  Once you have located a record, you can order the original from the General Register Office.

General Register Office   http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/  The holder of official records for the U.K.  You can order originals of birth, marriage and death records from them for a fee.

Rootschat   www.rootschat.com/  Message board for U.K. locations.  Searchable for  information posted about ancestors, and with volunteers who will look up information for free.

 

Books

Archives.org   archive.org/  Many local histories from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s contain biographies written by the person.  Quite a number have been scanned and are viewable and searchable.

Google Books   books.google.com/ Many local histories from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s contain biographies written by the person.  Quite a number have been scanned and are viewable and searchable.

Worldcat   www.worldcat.org  A repository of catalogs from libraries all over the U.S.  If you know a title, you can look it up and all libraries that hold it are displayed, organized by distance from your location. 

 

Education and Tools

Ancestry Learning Center   www.ancestry.com/cs/HelpAndAdviceUS  Many tutorials and research aids for the beginning and experienced researcher.

Familysearch History Research Wiki   familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Main_Page  Many tutorials and research aids for the beginning and experienced researcher.

Youtube Ancestry channel   www.youtube.com/user/AncestryCom  Hundreds of short and informational videos on topics of interest to the beginning and experienced researcher.  Very oriented to the Ancestry site, but worthwhile beyond that.

 

Cyndi’s List   www.cyndislist.com/  Last but certainly not least and in a category of its own, a site with links to every meaningful genealogy site.  If you’re interested in areas beyond the general U.S. and U.K. links listed on this page, this is the first place to go.  There is a search capability to locate and display just the sites for whatever place you’re interested in.  The links are very well maintained.