Genealogy Resource Guides

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Ancestry.com Now Offers Free Access to 800+ Record Collections

When most of us think of Ancestry.com, we think of paid resources. And, of course, the vast majority of Ancestry's billions of records are behind a paywall. However, you might be surprised to hear that the site does offer a relatively large assortment of completely free collections--and they are 100% searchable. When you attempt to locate a record on Ancestry via their main search function the free collections do get mixed into the results. If you don't have a paid membership,...

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Having Trouble Researching Your Female Ancestors? Here's Some Help

By Alice Plouchard Stelzer The dictionary tells us that being invisible is being inconspicuous, unobtrusive, and unnoticeable. From a researcher’s point of view, tracing the life movements of invisible women creates many challenges. In the Preface to Notable American Women, editors Janet and Edward James said, “Biographies of women, especially little-known ones, pose special problems of research and interpretation. For women’s lives generally, documentation tends to be scanty.” Here are a couple of examples of lack of...

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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 family history research site Crestleaf for sharing this fun take on why people didn't smile in old photographs. Ever wonder why your ancestors aren’t grinning from ear to ear in those faded black and white family portraits? Though there are many speculations and theories as to why people donned such serious looks in photographs during the 19th century, we’ve decided to debunk the myths to provide you with the truth behind those stern...

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sites like ancestry free at library

Looking for a totally free way to access a variety of paid genealogy records, like those provided by Ancestry or MyHeritage, from your own computer? Well there's good news, you most likely can. And you might be surprised to hear that the solution is probably only a few clicks away. An increasing number of libraries are now providing access to genealogy resources free of charge. Many can be accessed directly on their websites -- meaning that you can take advantage of the...

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Whether you're looking for an elusive obituary or a family scandal, free newspaper archives are an excellent resource for filling out your family tree. In fact, many online archives make it so easy to search decades of 'dusty' old papers, you might find that it's awfully easy to lose yourself in the past. We've gathered together a list of three of our favorite places to find free access to old newspapers. Each is worth checking out since they all have...

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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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It's an often overlooked fact that a vast amount of FamilySearch's collections can not be found via the search on their site. Millions of free family history records are waiting to be discovered but have not yet been indexed and are, therefore, somewhat hard to find. These records are invaluable tools for genealogists and cover a wide range of locales and time periods so we thought we'd offer a quick rundown on how to access them. But first a note about searching...

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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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Unless you're a professional genealogist you've probably learned most of what you know about family history research from...well...doing research. Most of us dove into our family trees when we began our genealogy journey and never looked back--learning the ropes as we went. And the truth is, if you're a hobby genealogist, you probably don't need an online class or webinar to build a strong family tree. You will discover most of what you really need to know as you...

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