Part 2 – Referers (or Link Sites)
I consider free genealogy websites in three different categories. First are sites that have data that are sources for facts. The second are sites that provide links to sites that have the data. In other words, referrers to sites. Third are training and general information websites, which include Blogs. All three are essential but are used differently.
After searching for facts in my paid sites and the free sites I mentioned in Part 1, I begin looking for places that have facts I might not use regularly or don’t know about. By this time, I typically know about the individual I am researching’s vital records and where he or she lived. Referrer sites (or links sites) provide the ideas of where to look next. They are usually free and can be a significant help in providing insight into additional areas to research
- The Ancestor Hunt – I find that newspapers provide texture to an ancestor’s life. The Ancestor Hunt has provided me with reliable links to such newspapers. Over the past few years, Kenneth R. Marks has added much to the website, including links to Directories, Yearbooks, and Obituaries. There is a Location feature available, so if I was looking for Maine Divorce Records, I could see an index to Cumberland County divorces before 1892. Likewise, you can learn that Family Search has Scarborough Town and Vital Records from 1681-1893 that are searchable.
- Family Search Wiki – I find the Family Search Research Wiki to be incredibly useful and easy to use. For example, if you are researching ancestors who lived in Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine, just enter that in the search box. That will take you to the page that provides links to town records, histories, newspapers, and much more. By the way, I maintain the Scarborough Page and update it when I find new information about Scarborough of genealogical interest.
- Cyndi’s List – Cyndi’s List is amazingly good for several reasons. First and foremost, she uses tags really well. In most referrer sites, you have to have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for. On Cyndi’s List, you can follow here categories to links that will help. For example, I can go to United States – Maine – Religion & Churches and learn there is a link to United Methodist Church, which has a search page to find what churches exist in Scarborough, Maine.
- Roots Web Wiki – This is, in many ways, a relic site, but it does have a lot of great content. It is an easy way to get to The Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources and get to The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy (3rd Edition).
- Family Tree Magazine – Every year, Family Tree magazine does an article about the 101 Best Genealogy Websites of the year. I might not know all 101 of the websites, but I look closely at the list every year to know what kinds of things I might be missing. When researching my ancestor’s military service, I might remember Fold 3 and the DAR websites, but forget the American Battle Monuments Commission site. It is a great site to help remind me of what sites exist that I should look at. If it is in the Family Tree Magazine 101 best sites, you should know about the site.
Other Sites – There are a plethora of websites that provide links for you to consider.
- Access Genealogy
- Barb Snow’s Class Notes
- Destination Austin Family: Research Toolbox
- Family History Daily: 50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today.
- Genealogy In Time: Top 100 Genealogy Websites
My thanks to Randy Seaver and his “Top Ten Genealogical Websites” for his blog motivated me to consider my top websites.
Next time, for Part 3, I’ll look at my favorite Genealogy Educational – Training, Tools, and Blogs websites.