In the September 2012 issue of “Family Tree Magazine”, they have listed their annual 101 Best Websites pertaining to genealogy. They’ve provided a brief overview of each website including whether it is a free or paid resource. In addition, they’ve divided their list into several categories, such as heritage heavyweights, American heritage, ancestors out west, and more.
Here are a few from their list.
Under “Heritage Heavyweights”, there is the well-known Ancestry.com. Ancestry offers access to a variety of online databases. Their resources range from vital records and census information to immigration and military service history, as well as a host of other databases. One of the most recent additions has been the fully indexed 1940 U.S. Federal Census. Although not a free service, they do offer a 14-day free trial. This is a great way to explore their resources without making a commitment. Also, the library edition of Ancestry (ALE) is available for free at all Jacksonville Public libraries. For access visit the branch that is closest to you.
Another major and ever expanding resource is Familysearch.org. This is a free service that may be searched from your home, office, or on-the-go. Like Ancestry, it provides searchable indexes to census records, vital records, and more. Familysearch has been digitizing their collections and making the records available for viewing on their site. This initiative is a continuing endeavor, and they are constantly adding new records to their service. Unlike transcriptions, you get to view a copy of the actual document. This alone makes Familysearch an online destination that you may wish to visit frequently.
The Library of Congress also is listed as a heavy weight genealogy heritage site. Their resources include the online catalog and their digital collections. An example of their online collection is the “Chronicling America newspaper” collection http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers. Here you may search newspaper pages with dates ranging from 1836 through 1922. Searching options include searching by state, newspaper title, and by keyword. Keyword search terms are highlighted in red on the results pages of your inquiry. However, not all states are covered in this collection. For more information regarding the Library of Congress and to explore their vast holdings and links, visit their website at http://www.loc.gov/index.html.
Under the “Eastern Seaboarders” heading, they reference several websites. The Florida Memory Project www.floridamemory.com is a great resource for Florida information. This site provides a searchable index to Spanish land grants records in Florida, Confederate pension applications, and WWI service cards. Their materials also consist of thousands of digitized photographs as well as WPA stories, guides, video and audio collections in addition to links to other documents and exhibits.
For those interested in their civil war heritage, there is the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System site www.itd.nps.gov/cwss. This website allows the searching of both north and south ancestors covering 6.3 million names from both sides of the war. In addition, information pertaining to battles, regiments, prisoner of war, and cemetery records are listed as well as other links.
Here is a short list of some of the other sites they feature:
- Archives.com (www.archives.com)
- Fold3 (www.fold3.com)
- GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com)
- Ages Online (www.ages-online.com)
- Deadfred (www.deadfred.com)
- The USGENWEB Project (www.usgenweb.org)
- Findmypast.com (www.censusrecords.com)
- Distantcousin.com (www.distantcousin.com)
They list many others and provide general overviews. To review the entire list, see this issue of “Family Tree Magazine”. This publication is available in the Genealogy collection at the Main Library, as well as Mandarin, Pablo Creek, Southeast, University Park, and West Regional branches.