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101 Ways to Research Your Family Tree for Free

Alternatives to Pay-For-Use Genealogy Sites on the Internet


Is free genealogy a thing of the past? With the constant addition of subscription genealogy databases on the Internet, people often wonder if there will soon be an end to free genealogy research via the Web. For those of you with this concern, take heart - free genealogy databases aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Web sites from all over the world contain free genealogy information of use to family tree researchers which has been contributed by individuals, companies and even governments. Birth records, marriage records, military records, ships passenger lists, surnames, census records, immigration records, wills, photos and much, much more are available on the Internet for FREE if you just know where to look. These 100 free genealogy sites, in no particular order, should keep you busy searching for weeks!

1. Rootsweb - World Connect Project
Out of all of the online databases of submitted family tree information, my favorite is the World Connect Project which allow users to upload, modify, link, and display their family trees as a means to share their work with other researchers. The reason why this particular project is my favorite is it is one of the largest, and it also allows people to add to, update or remove their information at any time. While this by no means ensures that the information you will find here is correct, it at least increases the probabilities of finding current contact information for researchers with information which interests you. This free genealogy database currently contains over 3 billion names in over 300,000 family trees, and you can search them all online for absolutely no charge! You can also submit your own family tree information in GEDCOM format for free.

2. FamilySearch Record Search
This free research site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a veritable treasure for all genealogists, with plenty of free family history records for those concerned about the budget, and excellent image quality and indexes for researchers looking for alternative access options. Records are available from numerous countries.

3. HeritageQuest Online
The data on this site is only available through subscribing institutions, but free online access is available to many with a membership card from their local library. The databases are fairly US-centric, including digital images of the complete federal census, 1790 to 1930 (with head of household indexes for most years), thousands of family and local history books, and Revolutionary War pension files, plus PERSI, an index to articles in thousands of genealogical journals. If your local library doesn't offer online access, many genealogical societies offer free or low-cost access as a membership priviledge.

4. U.S. Federal Land Patent Records
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provides free online database access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, as well as images of more than two million Federal land title records issued between 1820 and 1908 for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. This is not just an index, but images of the actual land patent records. If you find the patent for your ancestor and wish to also have a certified paper copy, you can order these directly from the BLM.

5. Interment.net - Free Cemetery Records Online
You're likely to find details on at least one ancestor in this free genealogy database containing over 3 million records from over 5000 cemeteries worldwide. Internment.net contains actual cemetery transcriptions as well as links to other cemetery transcriptions available on the Internet from cemeteries around the world.

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