This guide is designed for people who are looking for information regarding genealogy and their family tree. The hardest part of researching your family tree is knowing where to begin. This Pathfinder will help you find your way among the intimidating amounts of genealogy resources available in print and on the Internet.
Where to begin? There are several good books offering advice on how to begin your search for your ancestors. These titles, and many more like them, can be found in your local library, bookstore or at Amazon.com.and Genealogical.com.
Ancestors : A Beginner’s Guide to Family History and Genealogy
by Jim Willard, Terry Willard, Jane Wilson. Houghton Mifflin Co, 1997.
Unpuzzling Your Past : A Basic Guide to Genealogy
by Emily Anne Croom. Betterway Publications, 1995.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy
by Christine Rose, Kay Germain Ingalls. MacMillan General Reference, 1997.
Family Pride : The Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy
by Donna Beasley. MacMillan General Reference, 1997.
Netting Your Ancestors
by Cyndi Howell. Genealogical Pub Co, 1997.
Genealogy Online : Researching Your Roots
by Elizabeth Powell Crowe. Computing McGraw-Hill, 1996.
The Internet is becoming a vast network of genealogical resources, the trouble is knowing how to navigate all this information. The following websites have been chosen for their quality of information and indexing of links.
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites is one of the most comprehensive list 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 U.S. Genealogy Web Project
“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 links 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.
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 &Records” links like Military Records and Vital Records. The guide (a real person) also writes feature articles on various topics.
A Barrel of Genealogy Links
A Barrel of Genealogy Links is a list of links to access various genealogy related WWW resources, sites and homepages. This website also includes a list of Civil War Resource links.
FamilySearch.org Family History and Genealogy Records
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).
The mission of the RootsWeb project is to “make large volumes of data available to the online genealogical community at minimal cost.” The many databases, services and downloadable files are available only through subscription.
The RootsWeb Surname List
The RootsWeb Surname List 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.
There are also many Internet genealogy resources available for a subscription fee. These organizations provide varying degrees of help with your research and share information and resources among fellow genealogists.
Everton’s Genealogical Helper
The Everton’s Publishing Genealogical Helper website contains searchable databases, tutorials and workshops, and the Everton newsletter “The Family Letter”. Several of the databases are available for non-members.
The Family TreeMaker Online
The Family TreeMaker Online offers professional research services, message boards for genealogists, and searchable databases. Most services and databases are only accessible with purchase of the Family TreeMaker program.
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
This online, searchable newsletter contains a variety of information. There is also a link to CompuServ’s Genealogy Forum, which offers searchable databases, message boards, online conferences and member databases. You must be a member of CompuServ to access the Genealogy Forum.
The Ancestry Hometown website provides many genealogy databases, world-wide resources and the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter. Several databases are available without subscription.
Mailing Lists and Listservs are also good tools in genealogical research.
Roots-L Resources Page
The Roots-L Resources Page is the largest mailing list devoted to genealogists with over 8000 members. This free service is part of the RootsWeb Project.
Library Resources and Special Collections
Libraries are an invaluable source of genealogical research. Start by browsing the Reference collection of your local library. As you begin to find surnames and locations you will want to find libraries, archives and museums that have special collections in your area of interest. Some general genealogical sourcebooks that will help keep you on track are:
The Genealogy Sourcebook
by Sharon Debartolo Carmack. Lowell House, 1997.
The Genealogist’s Address Book
by Elizabeth Petty Bentley. Genealogical Pub Co, 1995.
Ancestry’s Red Book: American state, county, and town sources
edited by Alice Eichholz. Ancestry Inc., 1992.
The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy
by Val D Greenwood. Genealogical Pub Co, 1990.
The Genealogist’s Companion &Sourcebook
by Emily Anne Croom. Betterway Publications, 1994.
Once you have done all this research, you will want to record your findings for posterity. There are many programs available to help you design and publish your family tree.
Louis Kessler’s Genealogical Software Reviews
Louis Kessler’s Genealogical Software Reviews is an organized list of web sites with a comprehensive selection of computer programs for genealogists. Included is the author’s subjective opinion about each program.
Don’t forget to look in the Genealogy section of the Internet Public Library’s Reference collection. This collection is constantly expanding as we find more genealogy resources on the Web.
We hope you have a fun and exciting time discovering your roots! Happy Hunting!
This pathfinder created by Cynthia Ghering.