Top 10 Genealogy Websites

Today, Randy Seaver post­ed to his blog Genea-Mus­ings his list of top 10 favorite geneal­o­gy web­sites.He men­tions that he’s tak­ing off from a trend we’ve seen on Face­book, of the “5 items I have” known, seen, met, and so on. And, of course, list mak­ing is a long and hon­ored tra­di­tion.

With­out too much fur­ther ram­bling, I’ll share my own top 10 list of geneal­o­gy sites.

This list, like any “best of” list will change from day to day. What it looks like today will cer­tain­ly not be iden­ti­cal to how it would look tomor­row or would have looked last week. All the rel­e­vant list caveats apply. So, here goes:

  1. Ancestry.com ($, por­tions free) (includ­ing rootsweb.ancestry.com ) — The amount of data here is vast. As are the tools, from their geneal­o­gy soft­ware, Fam­i­lyTreeMak­er, to DNA research.
  2. Footnote.com ($, por­tions free) — The folks at Foot­note sim­ply under­stand Web 2.0 and pro­vide some­thing between Ances­try, Flickr, and Face­book. Mean­while, their part­ner­ship with the Nation­al Archives con­tin­ues to reap rewards for users of the site.
  3. FindAGrave.com (free, with a dona­tion mod­el) — This site is weird­ly com­pelling. It’s a pow­er­ful way to gath­er data, with the vast major­i­ty of infor­ma­tion con­tributed by “care­tak­ers” of the fam­i­ly records, and yet these adding up to viru­tal grave­yards.
  4. FamilySearch.org (free) — An amaz­ing and ambi­tious por­tal into LDS records and geneal­o­gy tools.
  5. Steve Morse’s One-Step Web­site (free) — I find the search algo­rithms here very help­ful to break through prob­lems where I don’t know enough to search a site direct­ly (or don’t know what par­tic­u­lar mis­spelling is in my way). Steve’s site runs mul­ti­ple search­es behind the scenes so that you don’t have to do them all in a man­u­al fash­ion.
  6. EOGN — Eastman’s Online Geneal­o­gy Newslet­ter ($, por­tions free) — Dick East­man inhab­its the cen­ter of the space where geneal­o­gy and tech­nol­o­gy inter­sect. If you’re inter­est­ed in that over­lap, and you hap­pen not to have seen this blog, you real­ly ought to take a look. East­man keeps me up-to-date on tech­nol­o­gy I can use in geneal­o­gy.
  7. GNIS (free) — The USGS Geo­graph­i­cal Names Infor­ma­tion Sys­tem. This is very handy for find­ing out the loca­tion of streams, church­es, and so on. If it was ever list­ed on a US Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey map as a fea­ture or place, it’s in this data­base.
  8. Linkpendium.com (free) — This is a locale-based list­ing of avail­able sites. I find it help­ful to look here when I start work­ing in a new coun­ty or state. The site helps me find loca­tion-spe­cif­ic online resources I might not find any oth­er way.
  9. WorldVitalRecords.com — Like Ances­try, this is a great site, full of pow­er­ful data­bas­es.
  10. GenealogyBank.com ($, por­tions free) — I’m real­ly impressed with how the folks at Geneal­o­gy­Bank do sim­ple things. For exam­ple, their free Secu­ri­ty Death Index results you the birth and death dates, just as many oth­er sites do, but they also cal­cu­late the age at death. Addi­tion­al­ly, they use the “Last Res­i­dence” zip code to pro­vide lat/long data you can use to quick­ly map the loca­tion.

But I’d be inter­est­ed in know­ing what’s on your list, and learn­ing about new sites that will end up being on my list next time I com­pile one.