Beginner Genealogy

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Did Your Ancestors Come Through Ellis Island? Here's How to Find Out

The Ellis Island records website has long been a great place to find free ancestry information. Providing instant access to more than 50 million immigration records, it's a vital resource for anyone with US immigrant ancestry from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (earlier records can be found here). A couple of years ago Ellis Island revealed a brand new website, including a revamped and improved family history records section. In fact, all of the Statue of Liberty...

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Thank you to the free family history research site Crestleaf for sharing this guest post by genealogist Lisa Lisson.  “No one is interested in my story.”  -- “Me? I was just a housewife.” -- “Our family did not do anything special.” -- “Our family never had much.” These are some of the responses I received when I began asking my grandmother (at the time in her late 80s) about her life and family history. So, I got a little sneaky....

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There are few things more frustrating or discouraging than spending days, weeks or even years looking for a specific detail about an ancestor and coming up with nothing. And while it is certainly possible that what you are looking for simply does not exist, it's also possible that a few changes to the way you search may turn up surprising results. Whether you're using a huge family history resource like FamilySearch or Ancestry, or digging around on smaller...

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UK and Ireland genealogy sites

Researching ancestors from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland? Here's a list of free genealogy sites for the UK and Ireland where you can find everything from census returns and military service records to birth, marriage and death indexes. We have included only sites that offer mostly or completely free records in our list, but you should also read our Guide to UK and Irish Research for many more resources and help with your research. Once you've checked these...

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Well, rules might be a bit strict, but we do have some pretty tight guidelines that we like to follow when we're doing genealogy research. We promise we use them most of the time. You likely have your own set of rules and we'd love to hear them. What would you add to this list? Want to keep this list handy or share it with others? Download an infographic at the bottom of this page. 12 Genealogy Research Rules 1.  Always...

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American woman, half-length portrait, facing left, reading book, bet 1890-1920

Genealogy reference books have long been a valuable part of family history research. Providing help and how-to on a huge range of topics, the best selections will take any genealogist on a journey of discovery. But with an ever-growing assortment of online reference information for family historians it is easy to overlook the many fascinating and well researched genealogy books on the market today. So, we've done our research and put together a list of the some...

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free genealogy sites

Looking for a list of free genealogy sites to search? Here are 50 no-cost family history resources where you will find birth, marriage and death records, obituaries, cemetery listings, newspaper articles, biographies, research tips and so much more. We had a lot of fun compiling this list of excellent websites. Remember, most free genealogy sites have been made available by the hard work and dedication of many volunteers! Don't forget to thank them and give back when...

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free genealogy sites

As some of our regular readers may know, we get many questions each week about how to find free genealogy sites on the web. New family historians can get overwhelmed looking for research options, and end up only using sites like Ancestry to research their ancestors. And while Ancestry.com and other paid sites are certainly very valuable resources for genealogists, they are only a small part of the picture. There are many free genealogy sites available to help you...

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genealogy glossary

Family history research is full of terms that you may never have encountered before you began constructing your tree. Every genealogist, no matter how experienced, will find themselves pulling out the dictionary as they dig deeper into history. One of our favorite resources to draw from when encountering a word or phrase that we have not heard before is the Glossary of Genealogical Terms, an incredibly helpful wiki on FamilySearch. The glossary does an excellent job of providing a wide variety of definitions for common and unusual...

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