Frequently Asked Reference Questions


Example Questions that can be answered using this FAQ

  • How do I begin researching my family tree?
  • How do I find other on-line genealogists?

The IPL can help you get started with genealogy research. There are many genealogy websites on the Internet. These sites have been chosen for their high quality of information and indexing of links. Please see the IPL guide on genealogy for more detailed information on researching your family tree!

  • Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet:
    Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites is one of the most comprehensive lists of genealogy websites. Cyndi organizes thousands of links according to categories for easy reference. Includes such topics as “How to Begin,” “Tools for Research” and “Publishing your Family History.”

  • The RootsWeb site (from Ancestry.com): The RootsWeb site is tremendously helpful with all the steps along the way, from getting started to getting involved as a volunteer. There is also a Surname List Name Finder which is a searchable index from the RootsWeb homepage. Type in the surname you are trying to find and a list of genealogists researching the same name will be returned. Another commonly-used area of RootsWeb is the Social Security Death Index. This allows searches on the U.S. Department of Social Security’s list of deceased.
  • The U.S. Genealogy Web Project: From the site: “The US Gen Web Project is a loosely organized group of volunteers working to create a center for genealogical research for every county in the United States. All counties have an area for you to post queries and link to the state page and archives.”
  • The Genealogy Home Page:
    The Genealogy Home Page keeps track of hundreds of genealogy links. Like Cyndi’s List it is organized into topics such as Genealogy Help and Guides, Libraries, Maps, Newsgroups and Genealogy Societies. The Genealogy Home Page also has a list of new genealogy links that is updated daily.

  • Genasearch:
    Genasearch is a free resource that offers tips for beginners, ways to search by state and surname, and features a focus on finding lost female ancestors.

  • About.com Guide to Genealogy: The About.com Guide sites organize links to web sites on various topics. The Genealogy Guide has sections for “How-To” links like Genealogy 101 and Writing your Family’s History, and for “Research and Records” links, such as Military Records and Vital Records. Articles of pertinent interest are also featured.
  • FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provides this site, which lets you search their Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index, Pedigree Resource File, and web sites (by last name only).

If you have access to public and academic libraries, you may be able to expand your search through subscription databases. Genealogical studies are quite popular and databases such as with Heritage Quest, commonly available online through public libraries. A good directory for finding a library in your community is called ”


You may also wish to see the IPL’s guide on genealogy.