Sunday, May 3, 2009

Top Ten Genealogy Sites

Randy at Geneamusings for his weekly Saturday Night Fun asks for our Top Ten Genealogy Sites
Record databases, data portals, how-to sites, family trees, software, entertainment, blogs, etc. Your choice, your opinion - what educates, helps, or entertains you in your genealogy quest for a big GEDCOM file?
1. Ancestry

Ancestry will be on the top of many lists, and deserves it in my opinion. I have heard some comments that beyond the census reports (which are appearing elsewhere) others have found very little there. But this isn't the case for me. I have found ship manifests, war documents, and more. I also used to use their Public Records Index to find living cousins - which has been replaced by an older and less useful set of public records. My ranking of Ancestry might drop in the future if I find less information in the new databases they continue to add, but I am eternally grateful for what I have found.

2. FamilySearch

Linking to FamilySearch Labs - this is the part of FamilySearch I am following with glee as they upload and index their extensive holdings - making it accessible for free.

3. Rootsweb

Randy lists Rootsweb separately from Ancestry, so I will as well - even though the two sites have merged. I have made several useful contacts in the Rootsweb communities. Some of my Surname discussion groups are more active than others, but I have learned a lot there, and I have received help from a few community boards.

4. Footnote

I found all the Dawes Commission testimony of my Hartley ancestors at Footnote, and also found my second great grandfather Ebenezer Denyer's Civil War papers there as well.

5. GenealogyBank

A great resource for finding obituaries. They also have a good collection of scanned/searchable newspapers.

6. JewishGen

Databases focused on Jewish communities throughout the world. While they are now housed on Ancestry's servers, and Ancestry has most if not all of their database holdings, JewishGen is completely free, and there are a few community features of JewishGen that make it worthy to include separately. I expect to go into detail on one of these in a week or two after I test it out.

7. Missouri Digital Heritage

Those whose family tree has roots in Missouri need to check out this website.
"The Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative includes records of enduring historical value from institutions throughout the state of Missouri. These historical resources, including documents, photographs, maps and other materials of interest, are grouped here by general topic."
Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1958 is among these collections, but there is so much more.

8. NewspaperArchive

A great collection of scanned/searchable newspapers.

9. iFamilyForLeopard

My genealogy database software of choice. Development of the software has slowed down as the original developer, Keith Wilson, passed away at the end of last year. His son, Warwick, has taken over the development, but has to split his time between his career and what had been his father's 'hobby'. I may test out future releases of other software, but I feel currently this is the best software out there for my purposes on the Mac, and one of the least expensive.

10. MediaWiki

MediaWiki is where you can download the code for the software that runs WikiPedia and other WikiSites. You can then install it on your own website, if you have your own domain. I have used it to create several family wikis that are username protected so only family members have access allowing me to upload images and documents I wouldn't normally share with the world.

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