Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 8 Websites to Start Your Genealogy Research

2.17.2020

8 Websites to Start Your Genealogy Research

Starting off your family research can be crazy overwhelming. When I started looking through all that Dad had accomplished with our family history I got really overwhelmed and I work with these types of records every day! Knowing where to start can be tough. Like anything out there these days you'll find tons of options and resources to use.

Some options you have to pay for. Some you might have to travel for. It can be hard to know what resources are contained in a website. Is this the best website to find resources? It's crazy how overwhelming it can be.

Today I'm pulling together online resources to help you get started with your genealogy family research.

8 Websites to Start Your Genealogy Research by Musings of a Museum Fanatic


Ancestry.com
Cost - Starts at $99

This is probably everyone's first go to choice when it comes to starting off your genealogy research. You have an insane amount of research right at your finger tips. They're always working on adding records to their system and you'll get all the details about those resources in emails and hints relating to your trees. 

A plus for Ancestry.com is that you are able to link the research to your family tree. You don't have to pay to create a family tree on Ancestry. I was adding stuff to my tree on Ancestry before I subscribed which was great to have it in one spot.

FamilySearch
Cost - Free

FamilySearch is an amazing non-profit website that has millions of records. I don't think it's quite as big as Ancestry but for a volunteer run website it's amazing. One of my favorite parts of FamilySearch is their Wiki pages. They're full of great info that will help you in your research.

I think the best part are the wiki pages by country. They give you information on where you can find records in a country, maps throughout history relating to records, and so many other resources. If you're stuck trying to find ancestors overseas this is a must look at!

CyndisList.com
Cost - Free

I hadn't heard of Cyndi's List until about a year ago. Cyndi's List describes itself as a "comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online." and it's so true. 

Say you're looking at cemeteries. In that list item you'll find information linking you to funeral museums, links to social media about cemeteries, and links to fraternal organizations cemetery information. This is just to name a couple out of dozens of links to resources. 

Google Books
Cost - Free

Many families have books written about them or there are books relating to their history. Google Books is a great place to look for these books. A couple years ago when I was creating an exhibit about a Salvation Army family I found two books that talked about them! I used some of the information in the exhibit itself. You never know what you'll find.

Find a Grave
Cost - Free

Find a Grave is one of my absolute favorite resources. Another volunteer run website that can be a wealth of information. In lots of cases they've connected obits to photographs of headstones which can lead to other leads. If you don't see a stone you can actually request that someone get a photograph of it and the volunteer who is in charge of that cemetery will add it. You are also able to upload information too.

US GenWeb
Cost - Free

This is the perfect resource if you're looking for specific state related information. Especially helpful when it comes to specific county related information. I am a fan of the maps throughout the years that a lot of the states have. This is helpful if you're tracking a piece of land in the family that you can't find. It might be because the county or even state borders changed.

Fold3
Cost - Premium Membership $79.95 per year

Looking for military history Fold3 is where you need to look. I would recommend this membership only after looking through Ancestry.com. There are some duplicates that you can see with your Ancestry membership.

Newspapers.com
Cost - Starts at $44.95 for 6 months

Another resource that is one of my favorites to use. I haven't used it as much for my own personal genealogy work but for my work projects it's been amazing. You'll find thousands of newspapers right at your finger tips. I've even just looked around at specific topics that have always interested me. Like the newsboys strike in New York. Can we say Newsies anyone?!

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!

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