Each week on Randy Seaver’s Genea-musings blog he has a post for Saturday night Genealogy fun. Because of the time difference, I have called my series Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun. This week’s mission was:
1) Last week we defined our top 5 or 10 fee-based genealogy websites. This week, let’s define our Top 10 Free Genealogy Websites!
2) List your Top 10 (or 20 if you want!) FREE based genealogy sites, and a short reason for listing them.
3) Share your list on your own blog, in a comment on this post, or on Facebook. Please leave a link to your list wherever it is.
It’s hard to limit myself to 10 (or even 20) sites, as there are so many free sites I use, depending on where I am researching. I have a page on my website with the free websites I use – Free Websites for Family History Research. Another great resource for finding free websites is The Ancestor Hunt. The 10 sites I would use the most are:
I don’t use the FamilySearch Family Tree or the Family Search Wiki very often. I usually just use this site to find records, but I use it all the time to find records from all over the world. It has birth, baptisms, and marriages records from here in Australia, as well as cemetery records, and indexes to both Find a Grave and BillionGraves, as well as indexes to Probates and Inquests in Victoria, Australia. It has the Canadian and United States censuses, as well as many birth, death and marriage records from these countries. It only has transcripts of the UK censuses, but it has parish registers (including images) of some of the counties in England, including Cambridgeshire, Devon, and Cornwall. It has transcripts of the Scotland births, baptisms, and marriages, that I use until I can afford to get the original images from ScotlandPeople. It has records from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, and the 1895 Argentina Census. It has South Australian passenger lists and school records, as well as some New Zealand wills and probate records.
This free site is a treasure trove, not only for Australian newspapers but for other information. I mainly use this site for finding newspaper articles, but it also has other material. I remember a few years ago finding a record for a relative from the United States on this site. It has archived websites on this site as well.
I use Google all the time. I often find it easier to google for a site I use a lot, rather than go through my bookmarks. I also use GoogleBooks and the Google News Archive Search – the main newspapers I use are the Age in Melbourne and the Sydney Morning Herald, but it has newspapers from around the world.
This site has cemetery records from around the world. I generally check if there is a photo attached to a memorial, and if not, I see if the cemetery has records available on other websites.
This site also has cemetery records from around the world. There are very few times when there isn’t a photo attached to a memorial on this site. I generally still check if the cemetery has other records available online, as those records can sometimes tell you the date of burial/cremation, as well as the date of death.
Since my 2x great grandparents, and those of my ex-husband, came to Victoria between 1840 and 1863, most of their descendants have remained in Victoria, so I use this site to find their entries on the birth, death and marriage indexes. I can then order the certificates if I need to/ can afford to.
The records I use the most on this site are the military records – mainly from WW1 and WW2, and naturalisation records, but it has other records as well, including births of Australians overseas, and later immigration records (the earlier ones are held at each state).
I use this site mainly for Wills and Probate, and Inquests, but there are many more records available on this site, such as teacher records, land records, and passenger records (the images for these are on Ancestry). The earlier Wills, Probate and Inquests (up to about 1924) are available to view online, but the other records have to be ordered for viewing at a reading room. There may be a copy service available.
This site commemorates those who died while serving from any of the Commonwealth countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
I use this index of death notices from Australian newspapers all the time. I have found it useful to find death notices on Trove for people with a common name, as I can narrow my search to the right newspaper. I also find it easier to use the Ryerson Index first, to be able to search for the newspaper on the Google News Archive Search, or in the online archives of other newspapers, such as Herald Sun Tributes.