Comprehensive Free Databases
Before we get into a lot of details, here is a short list of the most important online resources on the Internet. The following are the most comprehensive free online databases for British-American genealogy.
important genealogy site is
Almost 80 million individuals in the 1880-1 Censuses of United States, British Isles, and Canada are at ◊◊◊www.FamilySearch.org
More than 32
million individuals in the 1901 Census for England and Wales index are at ◊◊◊www.1901censusonline.com
previously at www.census.pro.gov.uk
Over 70 million names are in the
USA Social Security Death Index at
◊◊◊ Large professional database
Description of Records and Record Indexes
Knowing what information is available in records is important in genealogical research. For years, I wondered when my ancestors can to Canada and did not know how I could determine this. Eventually, I learned that the 1901 census recorded when they immigrated to Canada. It was then a matter of finding census records of my immigrant relatives to determine the immigration date. The blank census form identifies what is recorded. U.S. census forms are at www.genealogy.com/00000061.html. By looking at the forms, you will see what information was collected in each census.
Images vs Transcribed Information
In the case of the 1901 British Census, the data is both transcribed and the original documents are images. The image of the document is a picture of it. Unfortunately, computer servers typically cannot interpret images of handwriting and therefore do not provide a search capability for information with only the image. To provide search capabilities the original document images are normally transcribed manually by people. i.e. the handwriting is read and then typed into the computer. Once transcribed, the computer servers can search on name, location, or whatever other information is transcribed.
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild has many ship's passenger lists at www.immigrantships.net. The ISTG a group of volunteers dedicated to making ships' passenger lists available online, at no cost to the researcher.
TheShipsList.com has Fleet Descriptions, Passenger Lists, & other Resources at http://theshipslist.com
Great Lakes Passenger Lists are at www.mifamilyhistory.org/glpassengers/trans.asp
Books We Own is a list of resources owned/accessed by individuals who are willing to look up genealogical information and e-mail or snail mail it to others who request it. This is a free service at www.rootsweb.com/~bwo
The Genealogy Helplist at www.helplist.org, is a list of volunteers who are willing to do lookings at nearby institutions
The JewishGen Family Finder (www.jewishgen.org/jgff) is a database of ancestral towns and surnames currently being researched by Jewish genealogists worldwide
An online genealogy photo archive is at www.deadfred.com.
Amazing Individual Contribution
The Olive Tree Genealogy is created by Ontario teacher, Lorine McGinnis Schulze, www.olivetreegenealogy.com has a number of online databases specializing in ships lists and immigration records. This site has many links to paid sites and it is not always clear which are free and what are links to pay sites.
Part of Olive Tree Genealogy is www.naturalizationrecords.com. Naturalization is the process by which an alien from one country becomes a citizen of another country. This site describes declarations of intent, first papers, alien registrations, passport applications, petitions of naturalization and certificates of citizenship.
Joe Beine's site is at home.att.net/~wee-monster
GEDCOM is an abbreviation for GEnealogy Data COMmunications. GEDCOM is a formatting standard for organizing family tree information for computer programs. It is a special text file format developed for genealogy by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most genealogy software supports the reading and writing of GEDCOM formatted files which are often referred to as GED files. The convention with Windows is that a 3 letter file type defines the file format, eg. TXT for text files, HTM for HTML web pages, and GED for GEDCOM files.
You can contribute a copy of your GEDCOM file
and view it freely online at
GenCircles.com is built by a self described 24 year old genealogist/computer nerd. It is an impressive for a web site developed by one individual. This site is supported by advertising the Family Tree Legends genealogy software. The Global Tree is a database of contributed GEDCOM files. It also host a number of message boards dedicated to geographic locations.
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