Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?
This is another one that will require more than one answer. There are so many free resources out there, many of which depend heavily on volunteers to keep their sites free. Have you thought about volunteering for one of them?
Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):
This tool has been invaluable in finding stuff that I can’t find on Ancestry, and even stuff that I can find on Ancestry, but the image is hard to read. I pretty much use the two interchangeably as far as that goes. Aside from the research tools, and the wonderful learning tools provided, the one thing about FamilySearch that makes it that go-to site is the wiki. Lately I have been using the U.S. census wiki, which lists all the census enumerations that were done in a particular state, whether indexes/images exist, and where you can find them. Complete with links.
Without a doubt, the go-to site for me when I’m looking for a photo of an ancestor’s grave or other information about an ancestor. This has helped me fill in some blanks, get clues, and saved me a ton of money in travel expenses alone. I also happen to volunteer for this site.
Bureau of Land Management
Land records are a very good source of information about your ancestors. You never know what you might find in some land records. I requested my 2nd great grandfather’s land records (they had not yet been digitized, but there are a lot of records that have), and it turned out that his declaration of intent to become a U.S. citizen was in the file. I felt like I hit the jackpot! The site also provides the location of the land, which can be plugged into the calculator at EarthPoint (also free), and plotted with Google Earth. Note: if your records have not been digitized, there is a fee to request those records from NARA.
Steve Morse’s One-Step Webpages
There are many useful tools on Steve Morse’s website. The one that I have been using lately is the Enumeration District converter for the 1940 census. It was recently updated with a quiz that makes it even easier to perform the conversion from the 1930 census EDs in preparation for April 2. I can’t even wrap my head around how much time this mighty tool has already saved me, much less how much it will save me once the 1940 census is released!
Historical, academic, non-fiction, and pretty much every other kind of book you can think of is at your fingertips and available on the internet. Don’t just stop at the books … you can find videos, census images, governmental reports, and more! Books can be saved to your computer in many different formats (including PDF, EPub, and Kindle), or you can read them online.
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.
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