Genealogy on the Web

Knowing your family’s history is useful in understanding your ancestors and how some of the decisions that they made long ago may have an impact on your life today. Genealogy is the official name for studying or researching family history and, with the Internet at most people’s fingertips, it’s easier than ever to gain access to a family’s genealogy.

Before turning to the web, it’s advisable to begin genealogy research by interviewing living relatives and gathering information such as names, geographical regions, and any other pertinent information relatives can recall about family history. Recording these conversations is a good idea so that the information is available for review at any time. Writing down and filing all important names and dates is also a good idea as this information is the foundation upon which all of the subsequent research will be built upon.

One of the first steps in researching genealogy on the web is to gather a list of free genealogy websites. One of the easiest to use is RootsWeb, but others are just as useful.

Here's a list of other free genealogy research websites:

KindredKonnections (offers a free 14-day trial)

People Search

USGenWeb Archives

Social Security Death Index search (for searching the Social Security Death Index in one step)

Legacy Family Tree Genealogy free sofware

For those with ancestors that served in the Civil War ,or with family members who were prisoners of that war, the Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System may prove to be a very valuable free genealogy resource.

The Native American Genealogy website also offers a free research tool for those with Native American ancestry. The site is a wealth of information for tribal records that are searchable by geographical location, census records, land patents, and more.

Cindi's List for African Americans also offers quality search guides for African Americans interested in researching their genealogy. Another useful resource for African American's seeking genealogy information is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Often, individuals who are adopted long to know the genealogy of their biological families. Even those who grew up with wonderful adoptive families, find themselves at times curious about their birth parents and the generations of relatives that came before them. An excellent resource for people who were adopted to begin their genealogy search is Cyndi's List which offers a wealth of genealogy search options as well as forums, tips, and articles centered around unique genealogy searches for individuals who were adopted.

It's estimated that approximately 40% of all Americans have ancestors who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island, New York. To search this unique database for free, visit the Ellis Island - Free Port of New York Passenger Records Search. For ancestors who may have arrived through Castle Garden in New York, the Castle Garden website also offers free genealogy searches.

More information on foreign ancestors, especially those who immigrated to the United States, may be found at one of the following sites:

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

The Danish Emigration Archives

JewishGen Family Finder

Anyone who visits any of the above websites for a genealogy search is encouraged to also add their information to help in the genealogy research of future generations, as well as assist in the genealogy research of adopted individuals and others who are searching the web for personal family information.