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. ($, portions free) (including ) — The amount of data here is vast. As are the tools, from their genealogy software, FamilyTreeMaker, to DNA research.
  2. ($, 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. (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. (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 ($, portions free) — Dick Eastman inhabits the center of the space where genealogy and technology intersect. If you’re interested in that overlap, and you happen not to have seen this blog, you really ought to take a look. Eastman keeps me up-to-date on technology I can use in genealogy.
  7. GNIS (free) — The USGS Geographical Names Information System. This is very handy for finding out the location of streams, churches, and so on. If it was ever listed on a US Geological Survey map as a feature or place, it’s in this database.
  8. (free) — This is a locale-based listing of available sites. I find it helpful to look here when I start working in a new county or state. The site helps me find location-specific online resources I might not find any other way.
  9. — Like Ancestry, this is a great site, full of powerful databases.
  10. ($, 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.