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.

Leave a Comment