Major Genealogy Web Sites

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Contents

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Introduction

Genealogy web sites come in many varieties and sizes. This page can do no more than indicate the scope and draw attention to what appear to me to be some of the more important one's.

Many genealogy sites specialise in a particular surname, or the ancestors or descendants of a particular individual. Part of this site comes into this category, dealing with my children's ancestors and the places where they lived. I have not listed any such sites here, because it's too big a job, and in any case it's being done very well already by others, notably Cyndi's List.

While most genealogy sites (like this one) provide links to others, a few specialise in providing links to other genealogy sites. The first section below introduces some such sites.

Another group of web sites specialise in all genealogical matters pertaining to some geographical area, which may be a country, a state or province within a country, a small group of counties, a single county or some even smaller unit. Some relating to areas of genealogical interest to me are shown on the relevant pages of this site, but none are included on this page. To find sites of this nature, look at the specialist link sites below.

For beginners, and those still finding their way around the resources available to genealogists, tutorial sites are an invaluable aid.

Finally, I have included in a miscellaneous section the site of the Guild of One-Name Studies and a few other useful resources which don't fit into the other categories.

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Link Sites

Cyndi's List

Cyndi's list of Genealogical Sites on the Internet, with a list of over 31,000 categorised genealogy web sites and much other useful information, is reckoned by many to be the best genealogical site on the web. Not to be missed.

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Alan Tupman's List

Alan Tupman has put together a useful set of direct links to on-line genealogical resources under the categories Australia, Canada, UK, USA, Emigrants, search engines/facilities, maps and miscellaneous, plus a small page for new material not yet incorporated in the proper pages.

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John Fuller's List

John Fuller gives links to a great variety of on-line genealogical resources, including a link to his mailing list pages.

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Compuserve

A genealogy web site run by Compuserve contains a fair bit of useful information and links on the subject, and includes a list of a vast number of genealogical home pages. You can submit your page for inclusion (and a possible mention in the Eastman newsletter) at the appropriate page.

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The International Genealogical Directory (AGI)

The International Genealogical Directory (AGI) is a French based site, but most pages are duplicated in English. The general rule when looking at it is, if you want the English version of a page, add the number 2 to the end of the name, immediately before the ".htm". It is a growing site with a variety of genealogical links. You can have your site added to the list by filling in a form giving the details.

A.G.I.
Membre de l'Annuaire Généalogique Internet

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Family Treemaker List

Broderbund's Family Tree Maker Online has joined forces with Helm's Genealogy Toolbox. The two have announced their new Genealogy SiteFinder, which is a directory of links to approximately 33,000 genealogy Web sites. Adoption, Libraries and Archives, Maps, and Places are just a few of the many categories that the Genealogy SiteFinder lists. It is well organised, making it easy to find a (sometimes still quite long) list of links to the specific subject you want. For each list you are told how many entries there are before you go to it.

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Tutorial Sites

There are hundreds of free online genealogy lessons and tips. From Cyndi's List you can find many such sites. A few sites I have found elsewhere are:

Treasure Maps

Treasure Maps - The How To Genealogy Site, produced by Robert Ragan, is strong on tutorials, starting with beginners and going on to cover such subjects as deciphering old hand-writing, how to use the LDS Family History Library, a tour of a Family History Center and much more, plus projects for the family, old recipes, a bulletin board. Rather a USA bias, but much of wider interest. Voluntary donations of any amount are invited to help defray costs, in return for which a complete set of back numbers of the associated monthly newsletter will be supplied - and it started in 1995.

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"How to Trace Your Family Tree"

An excellent article called "How to Trace Your Family Tree" written by Jeanne Bunting of the (U.K.) Society of Genealogists is now available on the World Wide Web. It is an introductory text, written for the person with zero experience in researching his or her family tree. Jeanne gives an overview of how to get started along with some specific recommendations of where records may be found.

This text is written with a U.K. viewpoint, and the sources of records listed are almost all in England. However, the fundamental techniques she describes are universal.
[Sent by Roma Draper]

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Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees

The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees is a growing series of lessons on how to carry out your research. 20 lessons are available at the time of writing, and more are being added regularly.

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Dr. Emery's A-Z of Genealogy

Dr. Emery's A-Z of Genealogy is a downloadable, easy to read, basic guide.

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Rootscomputing

The Rootscomputing site carries a number of useful links and additional information, including a very thorough explanation of how to go about researching and recording your family history. This section includes a full explanation of GEDCOM files, ahnentafels and tiny tafels, and much more. It is a real goldmine for beginners, and useful to the more experienced researcher. The site also includes the latest issue of the Eastman newsletter.

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GEDCOM Specification

At a much more technical level (not for neginners), the full GEDCOM specification could be downloaded by anonymous ftp transfer from ftp://gedcom.org/pub/genealogy/gedcom, but I have been advised by someone who tried to follow this link that it no longer works. I shall test it shortly (it all takes time). In the meantime, I understand an alternative source is http://www.tiac.net/users/pmcbride/gedcom/55gctoc.htm. I have not yet tried it.

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On-Line Data Sources

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)

This religious organisation has, for its own purposes, established what is almost certainly the biggest collection of genealogy data in existence, largely organised into family groupings within a number of huge databases. It generously makes this data available to private genealogy researchers, much of it without charge and the remainder on a non-profit-making basis. It has now made these databases available for free on-line searches on its web site.

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Archive CD Books

Archive CD Books is a non-profit-making project to republish old and rare books of interest to genealogists and other historians on CD at low prices. Proceeds from the sale of CDs are used to buy more books and to rebind those which need it, as well as meeting normal running costs. Many books are loaned for the purpose, by both private individuals and institutions such as county record offices, libraries and the main Public Record Office, in addition to those purchased. After scanning to a very high standard (and where necessary rebinding), most purchased books are donated to appropriate local archives. Although the project only started, with a single book, in spring 2000, already several hundred have been published (the 500 mark was passed in January 2002). The full range can be explored, samples viewed, and secure orders placed on the project web site.

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Ancestry.Com

This commercial software company has gathered together a huge database of GEDCOM files submitted by numerous private individuals, and makes them available for free download. Sources are always given, so contact with the originator can be made if required. The site also contains a number of message boards on which anyone may ask questions and receive answers about various aspects of genealogy. The company guarantees that it will never make a charge for data supplied to it, nor will it remove messages from the boards unless specifically requested to do so by the originator of the message concerned. It also guarantees it will not release email addresses of contributors to other commercial organisations, nor misuse them itself. These pledges make a welcome contrast with some of its competitors. It has other databases available only on subscription. Be careful of their offers of temporary free access to databases - they demand your credit card number, and will automatically charge unless you are careful to cancel before the end of the free period.

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The Parish Chest

The Parish Chest is another commercial site, but rather than selling its own products it acts as an on-line fair or market by providing space for various other organisations to sell their wares through a single "shopping basket". Sellers include many family history societies. Census and parish register transcriptions are among the many products available.

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Miscellaneous

The Guild of One-Name Studies

The Guild of One-Name Studies web site includes a list of surnames which are the subject of such studies. Contact information is available to enable you to ask just what information these specialist researchers have already accumulated on your family (or at least those names that are listed). There is a separate page for each letter of the alphabet, each holding more than a dozen surnames per line, which gives you some idea of the number of names in the list. It could save you a lot of time duplicating research others have already done.

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Lookup Exchange Index

Many kind folk offer a free lookup service in resources they happen to have available. Many of these services are organised into a series of lookup exchanges. There is a web site giving the details of what is on offer for each area. A list of these sites is given in the main lookup exchange index, together with details of how the system works. Have you anything to offer? New volunteers are always welcome. (Offers to the relevant organiser, not to me, please.)


Rootsweb

The Rootsweb site offers a huge range of free data and facilities for the genealogist.

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