Genealology ROOTS: Genealogy Information Sources

Explore Genealogy; Discovering your family tree can be an exciting adventure.


This web helps you explore Genealogy information sources; here, you'll find organized and annotated links to Web sites about Genealogy organizations, topics, books, and links. You can view and link to this information in a variety of ways, and your suggestions are welcome. Use the links at the top of this page to navigate and access this information

  • Edited by: You can contact the editor of this information with your ideas and corrections; there are different formats for this information
    • John December
    • John December: editor of this information since 2005; has worked on family tree research since 1998; see FamilyLink profile
    • Suggestion?: please send a correction of any information you find here or your suggestion to via email with the subject line info-roots

  • Formats: You can view and link to this information in a variety of ways; find the level of detail that is right for your needs; pages are available for each section; you can link to and use the page that fits your needs
    • Genealology
    • ROOTS index: table format; shows all entries with short labels; links on the section names take you to a file showing all the entries and annotations for that section; put your cursor over section names or headings to see a popup description
    • ROOTS all: everything in one big file; shows all entries and all annotations; useful if you want to search for a text string in this information--use your Web browser's Find feature (Control/F in Microsoft Explorer); links on the section names go to a file showing entries and annotations for just that section
  • Updates: List of recently-added entries or entries that have a new Uniform Resource Locator or description
    • Software (topics), US Counties (sites), Obits (search)


News about what's going on in the genealogy world


Organizations involved in Genealogy

  • FGS: Federation of Genealogical Societies; a meta-society which has over 500 genealogy societies as members of FGS; includes a list links to other federations
  • ASG: American Society of Genealogists; advance genealogical research standards and to encourage publication of the results
  • NGS: National Genealogical Society; serves members with education and guidance in research, standards, ethics, practices, public awareness, and promotion; founded in 1903
  • APG: Association of Professional Genealogists; supports professional genealogists in all phases of their work
  • BCG: The Board for Certification of Genealogists; certifying body; independent organization not affiliated with, or part of, any group; no membership


Learn about specific areas of interest; cover genealogy and special topics

  • EoGen: Encyclopedia of Genealogy; collaborative encyclopedia of genealogical tools and techniques; reference information about techniques, terms, record locations
  • About: About Genealogy guide; family tree and research guide; edited by editor; useful introductory as well as advanced information about researching family history
  • FamilyLink: social networking site for genealogy; make your online profile and link to your ancestors
  • GenForum: online family research community; chat, search, online forum, research help
  • Software: reviews and ratings of top genealogy software; shows comparison chart and reviews; this site provides a concise table and brief reviews of top genealogical software programs so that you can make a choice about software to obtain; see Genealogy Software Guide if you wish to follow ongoing developments in genealogical software or to finalize your purchase decision


Major records sites; portals to major collections in genealogy and family history; fees may be required for access to detailed information or reports; check with your library for access to fee-based sites; some public libraries provide access to HeritageQuest, a subscription-based genealogy site; fee-based sites, edited and maintained by information professionals, are well worth the money for the increased coherence, organization, usability, comprehensiveness, and reliability of the information

  • access genealogy records; search for family tree information in records; very comprehensive, well organized, professionally-run; Census Records, Birth, Marriage & Death, Family Trees, Immigration Records, Military Records, Directories & Member Lists, Family & Local Histories, Newspapers & Periodicals, Court, Land & Probate, Reference & Finding Aids, and African American Records; free search available for quite a large amount of information; subscription required for detailed information; check your local public library to see if they offer in-library use of this site; many other Web sites link to search services
  • RootsWeb: genealogy community and records; guidance and communication among researchers; provides search engines and databases such as social security death index interface; family tree connection (WorldConnect), mailing lists, message boards; funded and supported by which offers access to its fee-based records search
  • FamilySearch: genealogy records; provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; birth, marriage, and death records online; information also submitted by individuals; research guidance and help; Family History Centers throughout the world which are branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City
  • NARA: US National Archives and Records Administration Genealogy; collection of documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government; includes military service information, family history; locations throughout the US; the Footnote site offers fee-based (and some free) access to some original documents in cooperation with NARA
  • LoC: US Library of Congress Local History and Genealogy Reading Room; US and foreign genealogical and local historical publications
  • Libraries: worldwide libraries; many libraries have genealogical materials that are not available online in addition to online collections; find Academic Libraries, Public Libraries, National Libraries and Library Organizations, State Libraries, Regional Consortia, and Special and School Libraries; for example, noted genealogy collections are at The Newberry Library in Chicago, the New York Public Library, and the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library
  • US Counties: vital records; this directory from the National Association of Counties links you to the official Web sites of counties in the USA; counties are usually the repository for vital records such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, property, and other government documents (some are held at the state level); many of these records are not available online; once you get to the Web site of the county of interest, look for a section on clerk, records, or genealogy; some counties have special hours for genealogy requests and visits; some units of government offer records for sale online (some use VitalChek to sell these)


Try free, quick, direct genealogy searches; these are free searches that can be done easily from an online form that covers a large number of people for a specific purpose; these searches are useful for starting out in research or for repeated basic searching; for more detailed searching, see sites or links

  • US Soc Sec: US Social Security Death index of over 79 million records; people in the United States who had a social security number (first ones were issued in November 1936) and are now dead; look up by name or social security number; provided through RootsWeb
  • Ellis Island: US immigrant database of more than 22 million people; Ellis Island Foundation; American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC); search the immigrant arrival records stored in the Ellis Island Archives; more than 22 million passengers and crew members passed through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924; passenger records (passenger name, date of arrival, ship of travel, age on arrival); original manifests (showing passenger names and other information); ship information (often with a picture)
  • Obits: Obituary Daily Times index of over 12 million entries; index of published obituaries--not the actual obituaries; find a publication date, then you can request the obit from a volunteer or you can refer to newspaper archives
  • ObituariesHelp: Links to newspaper obituaries; general help with obituaries and also help in finding newspapers that currently publish them
  • Castle Garden: US immigrant database of over 10 million people; from 1830 through 1892; America's first official immigration center
  • Cemeteries: Worldwide cemetery records of 3 million entries; transcriptions of cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions; USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries; free access; links to fee-based services; useful links to other resources
  • Surnames: over 1 million surname queries; researchers register surnames on which they are working
  • People: deep Web search for living people; locate living or recently-alive people who have some online records or information available; includes white pages directories as well as court records, social networking site memberships
  • FamilySearch: search form for locating ancestors; free access to a large amount of information on people from ancestral files, census, international genealogical index, pedigree resource file, US Social Security death index, vital records index, and family history Web sites; navigation from page also for research guidance; provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • WorldConnect: over 480 million names in user-submitted family trees; user upload, modify, link, and display their family trees and share their genealogy with other researchers


Buy books related to Genealogy

  • Galford: Genealogy Handbook: The Complete Guide to Tracing Your Family Tree, by Ellen Galford; techniques for family history research; by Editorial consultant to
  • Renick: Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family's History and Heritage, by Barbara Renick; introduces genealogy and helps the reader learn about practices, concepts, and resources
  • Search for books:

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Access directories and indexes related to genealogy; these sites collect and categorize links to genealogical-related sites and information

  • USGenWeb: US local genealogy websites; organized links to genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States; use this index to locate special collections in local areas
  • WorldGenWeb: world local genealogy websites; organized links to genealogical research in every country in the world
  • Cyndi's: Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet; categorized and cross-referenced links on many categories and topics; established 1996 by Cyndi Howells
  • GenealogySpot: directory of major sites; organized and selective collection of links to a variety of family history resources; includes heraldry, surnames, public records; reference desk for forms and charts, adoption records, special topics; online community center
  • Google: Directory; entries for genealogy
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