Professionally Preferred Websites for Family History
by Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA
A survey of several members of the Association of Professional Genealogists, as well as many genealogical librarians, during January 2004 asked them to name their favorite genealogical websites. The respondents identified about 115 different sites, with most naming about seven to ten favorites.
The following list identifies, in rank order, the top 13 sites identified in this survey. Brief annotations accompany each site.
- Ancestry.com - The data site with the most data; the only site named by almost 75% of respondents. This is a fee-based site, but worth the investment if you have plenty of time to do your own research.
- FamilySearch - This site has plenty of free data and an excellent interface, so of course it is popular.
- Rootsweb.com - More free data, and a with free server space, this is a great place for hobbyist genealogists to publish their work.
- Cyndi’s List - A large With 233,000 links and growing, it is still genealogy’s largest website supermarket.
- U.S. GenWeb - A vast network of data and information for research in virtually every county
- Heritage Quest Online - Census images and indexes, along with images of 25,000 books are at this subscription site primarily available through many local libraries.
- Genealogy.com - They may only be number two in genealogical subscriptions, but it’s still data, and that’s what genealogists want. This fee-based site has important data, most of which is not available at other sites.
- Google - An expansive Internet search engine, it is rapidly becoming a favorite of genealogists.
- General Land Office Records (BLM) - Images of more than two million federal land patents, with an improved interface.
- Ellis Island - The largest collection of passenger lists on the web, and covering an important immigration era (1892-1924).
- National Archives and Records Administration - Holdings lists for all the federal records of genealogical value. Also, check out their "Access to Archival Databases" page.
- Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database Interfaces - A handy and efficient way to search the Ellis Island records, Ancestry census records (with your subscription), and many other web sites in one step.
- Illinois State Archives - One of a growing number of state archive sites of increasing importance and value to genealogist. Here the statewide marriage and death indexes are the biggest draw. Other online databases include Illinois veterans, and a growing number of county records.
If you would like to participate in this dynamic survey, or share you favorite sites, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.