Since launching in May , more than million people have visited FamilySearch. Online Records Visitors to FamilySearch. These records include government and church records for births, marriages, and deaths; censuses; probate records, land records, draft cards; and so forth.
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Millions of new records are published on a weekly basis. Many of the records on the FamilySearch website are indexed, making them easier to search. The indexes are created by volunteers.
Currently, there over , active indexers around the world who complete about one million names a day. Anyone can help with this effort, regardless of their age, religion, or technical background; all that is needed is a computer and an Internet connection. The free online application is available in seven languages. Research Help FamilySearch.
Free Genealogy Websites for a Free Ancestry Search
For example, the FamilySearch Wiki is an interactive online encyclopedia for family history research. This site contains research helps, guides, and advice from FamilySearch experts, but is also a place where anyone can share what they know about genealogy. Today, with ready smart phone access, it can feel like all we have to do is pull out our screens, type a few names into a search engine and our pedigree charts will fall into place.
Amazingly enough, with a rare or well-recorded branch of the family that has been known to work. Yet for most of us — and most ancestral branches — a more targeted approach is required. Just as you can search within websites using the address bar, so you can search within catalogue holdings of specific archives.
The British Library is perhaps the best example of this, but it is worth experimenting with other online catalogues. FreeBMD , for example, is easy to use and its results are clearly laid out.
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Unlike some civil registration index databases, FreeBMD can be searched without a surname. FreeREG is excellent for finding transcribed details of parish register records that may not be online. And FamilySearch — the site I first used to research my genealogy online — remains an essential resource for every family historian. Sadly, not all the data we need can be found on free sites. In these instances, we need to access subscription sites.
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Before signing up, though, check whether the material can be found elsewhere the aforementioned Forebears site can help with this. Save money by using free indexes before using the paying sites to download copies of records and identify whether you can access any of the sites for free at your local library, archive or family history centre. You may be missing some basic data if you neglect the general search engines. Google is perhaps the most famous, but also check:. Focus your search with more specific options, such as Google Scholar — this enables searches within articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.
The Google News Archive allows newspapers from all over the world to be browsed while Google Books is popular for free digitised books. Besides Google Books, there are other sites digitising a wealth of published material. Terms and phrases from within digitised books do not always appear in general searches and so it is worth searching within the following:.
Find your family. Discover yourself.
It is important to keep focused on your aims of research. Have a plan of what exactly you would like to find for each ancestor. One way to focus research is to check one of the step-by-step guides featured online. Some of the best for UK research are:. Sadly, not everything is online. Use indexes and archive catalogues like The National Archives Hospital Records Database to establish what you are seeking. Search published material in books, journals and dissertations using academic search engines such as Refseek and Copac.
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Online newspapers are wonderful for learning about the personalities and lifestyles of our ancestors. You can discover details on inquests, divorces and other court cases — or you may learn something new about your ancestor, such as their talent at sport, music or drama.
Once you have found records of your ancestors online, you may have trouble reading them. Old handwriting can be impenetrable to modern eyes and even with experience from schooldays, it can take time to become used to the Latin used in genealogy. This is where online tutorials can help: try this free palaeography course from The National Archives.