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Best Genealogy Websites for Beginners

See at a glance whether access to core content is FREE or not ($), and what services are offered: H=how to; R=records; S-share your data and T=tools.

Bristol County Records (R, FREE) This is a historical and genealogical guide to the county of Bristol. You will find help with town histories, vital records, deeds and land records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries. (H, FREE) Dozens of how-to articles on research basics, online searching. (H, R, S, $) One of the most popular genealogy subscription  databases. 

AfriGeneas: ( H, R, S, FREE) Resources fro those researching African-American roots. (H, R, S, $) Access to U.S. census records, vital records and old newspapers in the United States. Inexpensive site is a great beginner option.

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries ( T, FREE) Many genealogical records are created by counties. Enter the date for which you want to see county boundaries. (R, S, FREE)Search an enormous GPS-tagged database of tombstone images.

Chronicling America: (R, FREE) The Library of Congress portal to historical newspapers.

Cyndi’s List: (T, FREE)  Extensive lists and links to genealogy resources. (H, R, S, FREE) One of the best free online resources available. Millions of indexed records from around the world. (H, T, FREE/$) Many tools and how to get started articles.

Find a Grave: (R, S, FREE)  Search by individual or cemetery name. (H, R, S, $) Search record collections from the United Kingdom. (R, S, $) The go-to-source for US military records from the Revolutionary War forward.

GenealogyBank: (H, R, $) Best known from its historical newspaper collections: obituaries, marriage notices, immigration records, etc.

General Land Office Records: (H, R, FREE) Access images of more than 5 million land title records dating back to 1820.

Google (T, FREE) Google Translate helps you to translate text and websites into English. Discover local histories and compiled genealogies.

ProQuest’s HeritageQuest (FREE on our Research Databases) Another popular subscription genealogy website with billions of records including US census, immigration, military and obituary records.

JewishGen: (H, R, S, FREE)  A first stop for tracing Jewish roots. (R, S, FREE/$) Access the major genealogy databases, create a family website.

National Archives Resources for Genealogist: (H, R, FREE) This is the portal for most US military, census, immigration and other records.

NewspaperArchive: (R, $) Access more than 120 million newspaper pages dating to 1607.

USGenWeb Project: (H, R, S, FREE) A directory to websites containing free genealogical resources for every US state and most counties.

Excerpt from article by Sunny Jane Morton, March/April 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine