Caitlin is my newest genealogy friend. We were talking about what she and her friends would look for in helpful genealogy information. “Free sites.” Being able to research non-pay sites was her number one answer. From home would be even better. I immediately said “FamilySearch.” But then all kinds of other sites I have used came to mind, so this will be just a few I think could be helpful, not all the free sites there are. If you know of one you would like to add, by all means, please let me know. I have previously declared my fondness for free stuff, so writing about genealogy and free sites is a labor of love.
A Library Card
If you don’t mind going out to do your research, many libraries have Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.com available at the library. Some even have home access as well. Check with your library what databases or collections are available to card holders.
So not everyone wants to pay for Ancestry.com, no matter how great a site it is! My answer to that would be to try Familysearch.org. Familysearch.org has indexed and digitalized records from pre 1700 to the present and from all over the world. You need to sign up with them in order to research, but it is free. I highly recommend exploring the entire site and reading their Wikis, but the simplest thing to do is to sign up, and click right on “Search.” You can refine the search by life events and relationships and of course, the more information you have on your person, the more refined your results will be. Explore the site. It has many of the same records as Ancestry.com although not all, and it has some that Ancestry.com does not. I am not familiar with creating a tree on the site, so would definitely suggest reading the information for that. If you are looking for U.S. census records or records from other countries, as well as many state censuses, check it out. It is a great site.
“What exactly is Cyndi’s List?
A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
A list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.
A free jumping-off point for you to use in your online research.
A “card catalog” to the genealogical collection in the immense library that is the Internet.
Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet.”
In a totally different way from Familysearch, Cyndi’s List is a great site for information on most genealogy sites on the internet for anyone, beginners or experienced. It is a free site, although donations are welcome. I just went, and clicked on “Categories.” There is a vast list of categories from sites as well known as Ancestry.com to sites on specific topics, such as “Numbering Systems,” “Prisons, Prisoners & Outlaws,” “Podcasts for Genealogy,” or “Free Stuff,” to name a few. Each time I go, there are more things to explore, and I recommend checking it out when you have plenty of time to browse. Definitely go to Free Stuff and check out the Ancestry.com databases which as of this date were FREE! I will admit that I had not known any databases were free. I would guess that you have to sign up, but don’t take the free trial.
Sometimes pay sites will have free weekends. One of the best ways to find out is to follow the National Genealogical Society’s Facebook Page. In February, they announced a day with free access to the Irish Newspaper Archive. This past weekend, FindmyPast.com had a free weekend. Just last week, there was a post about “20 Free Genealogy & Family History Resources, Part 4.”
As soon as I finish writing this, I will look for parts 1-3. Here are Parts 1, 2 and 3. I think I will go check out some of the newest free resources on those lists!
20 March 2015 There is more!!!!! – 20 Free Genealogy & Family History Resources – Part6!!!
Next time, maybe more local resources or how to find them.