Trace your family tree: Online genealogy resources
There's never been a better time in history to try to track down your family ancestry! With the vast resources now available online -- including census data, draft registration forms, photographs, immigration documents, birth certificates, obituaries, yearbooks and newspapers -- you have the opportunity to comb through more than a century's worth of documents. All you need are your computer and a few ideas where to begin... and that's exactly what we have for you here!
Multi-purpose genealogy sites
FamilySearch International bills itself as the largest genealogy organization in the world, and you can access their resources and services online for free.
A great research resource (especially for census data and military records), plus offers the ability to dedicate a information hub for each person on your family tree and connect them by relationship. (You can also download/upload your tree to their companion PC program, the aptly titled Family Tree Maker.)
Some services are free, but most access is restricted to paid members. (Note: Genealogy.com, RootsWeb & MyFamily are all under the Ancestry.com umbrella.)
Offers original source documents available for the first time on the internet, via partnerships with The National Archives, the Library of Congress and other institutions. 64 million records are currently online, and includes Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII and Vietnam War collections. Paid membership needed to access most records, though some basics are offered for free.
Provides a collection of genealogy records and scanned images of historical documents, and no fees or memberships required.
Search a collection of over 1 billion names in more than 8,000 what they say are hard-to-find databases.
In the news
Billed as the world's largest online newspaper archive, this site offers millions of newspaper articles from 1759 to the present. Paid membership required to access records, but you can search for free to see if any pertinent info is available.
A site is comprised of newspaper abstracts and extracts, all of which were contributed by individuals to help others with the same interests expand their research.
A searchable genealogy photo archive which accepts contributions from people around the globe.
Site for sharing genealogy photos, along with stories, special collections and message boards.
Not genealogy-specific, but contains millions of categorized, tagged photographs of almost every subject imaginable. Search their collections, and post your own to help others in their research — and potentially find a distant relative or two!
Obituary and cemetery searches
Offers you a searchable database of more than 44 million grave records, cemeteries and mausoleums.
Here you'll find research info and tools to search obituaries and cemeteries.
FreeBMD (Great Britain)
FreeBMD is a project working to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and offers free access to their records.
Canadian Genealogy Centre
Library and Archives Canada offers access to most of its digitized historical and genealogy information.
That's My Family (Canada)
The search tool, free of charge and available in French and in English, leads to genealogy and family history databases hosted by federal, provincial or territorial archives centres and libraries, or by other partners.
A German genealogy portal pointing you to several services and databases directly for information related to your relatives in Deutschland.
A great place to behind your search for Italian relatives, with many genealogy links and resources.
Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records & Ship Lists (USA)
It's estimated that nearly half of all Americans have at least one ancestor who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island, and this site offers a great way to search their documentation of immigrant arrivals.
Resource lists/hub sites
An independent resource, offering categorized links to thousands of genealogy databases.
Get links to birth record databases for each state.
A collection of links to ancestry resources by state, with some international listings.
Offers links to numerous genealogy resources.