Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Utilizing Free Online Resources

I've been very lucky to within a few hours drive of the LDS Family History Library for much of the past 18 years.  However, being a mother of five kids doesn't lend itself well to genealogy expeditions, even if they're only an hour or two away.  I've been so thankful, especially in the last few years, for an increasing number of websites and records that are available for free search online. This might be pretty basic for old pro's, but it's always nice to get tips.  Some of the ones I've frequented (in no particular order) are:

  • FamilySearch - As more records are digitized and transcribed, this increasingly becomes a great resource for me.  I'm not totally happy with the organization of results from a search, yet, but I've been able to find important information that I hadn't found in years of research, because I didn't know where to look.  
  • Utah Digital Newspapers - I LOVE newspapers!  I have a Newspaper Archive subscription that I utilize regularly, but it's not comprehensive.  Having a lot of ancestors that lived in Utah at some point, the Utah Digital Newspapers site has been a wonderful resource for me.  I've found clues, obituaries, scalliwags, and funny stories that flesh out the bare facts and make my ancestors personal.  
  • Utah Death Certificate Index - Death records and more for the State of Utah for the years 1904 - 1958.
  • Find A Grave - I think most of us has used this.  Many thank you's to the amazing volunteers who make this site possible.
  • Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - This is a free and great way to have someone in the area that you're researching (and can't get to immediately) do some legwork for you.
  • West Virginia Vital Research Records - Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for West Virginia.  I love when states put these resources online.  HUGE help!
  • USGenWeb - One of the original resources for online genealogy, volunteer-driven, this has been a great resource over the years.  Some county pages are better than others, but it's been a helpful website for me.
  • Ohio Online Death Certificate Index - 1913 - 1944.
  • Google Books and Images - I always run these searches on someone I'm researching - I've found pictures, digitized county histories, business directories and almanacs, etc.  
  • Family Tree Magazine's 2010 Best State Websites for Genealogy - Self-explanatory, and very helpful.  I just found this.  :)
Anyways, these are just a few of the ones I've found over the years.  I know there are more.  Many universities have digitized records for their state, including photography collections.  

Please comment with other websites you've found to be helpful, I'll add them to the list!

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