Sunday, January 15, 2012

Out of the Past

Recently, I decided to research our family history.  I had quite a bit of information on my mom's side, so I decided to go for it and see what I could find.  I was really surprised!  Not only did I find history on almost all sides of my family back to the 1700's; I also found records on some of my family that go back to the 700's.  We are (oddly enough) related to French, British and Scottish royalty.  Who forgot to mention that?!  

There are many good online resources that can help you piece together the past so that you can leave a legacy for the future.  I'm going to go ahead and list the sites for you so you can start your own research.  Be aware of the sites out there that offer you free birth records, free census records, etc. - when (and if) they tell you they have found a possible match, when you click on it they will ask you to sign up for their service.  Some of the sites will give you a 3 day or 7 day trial (you have to give a credit card number for the free trials) and I have found that a lot of these don't have records that are that good anyway.  I went to and even though they want you to either sign up for a 14 day free trial or subscribe, they have the best, most comprehensive information.  I used them almost exclusively and found out more than I ever thought I could.  Even if you don't know a birth year, you can put abt. 1900 (for example) and it will show all the closest matches for the information given.  You can also look in old newspaper announcements (birth and death), county records, military records, passenger lists on ships with the name, date and location, etc.

Here's your first step to successful fact finding: - What I really like about this site is that you can print out your family tree by sections.  A 14 day free trial is all you need to get a wealth of information all in one place.

Family - They have billions of names across hundreds of collections.

Family Search Research Helps - Just like the name implies.

International Genealogical Index - You can research family from Europe, the UK, etc.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors - They have a lot of great information here.

Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild - If you know the name of the ship your family sailed on, this can give you even more information.

Roots - They give you search engines, databases, websites, research tools and more.

Norway Digital Archives - If you have family from Norway (and go figure, part of my family is from Norway), this is a good place to start.

Native American-Indian Genealogy - This gives listings of all the tribes and also the regions.

Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites - She lists dozens of sites for you to investigate; not all of them are free to research, however, so read carefully.