Searching for Your Ancestors?
6 places to find your ancestors online for free
1. LDS Family Search
This is a great website to search for ancestors and it is free. Members of The Church
of Latter Day Saints (LDS for short, also known as Mormons) believe that it is important
to research their ancestors. In accordance, the Church has funded the scanning of
millions of genealogy records world-wide. These films are housed in the Family History
Center in Salt Lake City that is open to the public. In addition, films can be ordered
from local LDS Family History Centers in many cities around the globe.
Many of the records have be transcribed and are available online through their website
LDS Family Search
2. 1880 US Census, 1881 UK Census, 1881 Census of Canada
Again these censuses are due to the LDS web-site offering. If you are fortunate
enough to have ancestors who were alive around 1880 and living in the United States,
United Kingdom or Canada then you can find their information on the Family search
website. However, it is probably more important to use these censuses to learn what
information is available and how it fits into your family tree.
Typically census information gives the members of a family, their ages, relationship
and place of birth. Other statistical information is not generally helpful to build
your family tree. What you are looking for is specific items that will allow you
to enter the person into your tree in the right place.
3. Free Birth, Marriage and Death for Wales and England
There are 3 key pieces of information on each person that essentially allow you
to build your family tree. They are the dates and places of birth, marriage and
death events of a person. These records are generally called BMD records.
If your ancestors' BMD events took place between 1837 and 1984 in Wales or England
then you may find the details on the FreeBMD web site. This index to BMD records
is being transcribed by volunteers and is for the most part complete from 1837 to
about 1930. More records are being added every day so you need to check back frequently
if you don't find the BMD information on the first go.
4. Passenger Records at "Find My Past"
Another good place to look is in the passenger records. Similarly to a census that
records where a person was living at a given time, an accurate passenger record
was kept for people who were immigrating or travelling between countries. These
records can be found in many places on the Internet but require a lot of searching.
One place that houses outbound voyages from the United Kingdom to other countries
such as the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia for the period of
1890 to 1960, is the Find My Past website. This is a paid website that contains
many records but you can search the passenger records for free. I have been able
to find many of the records of trips my ancestors took on this website including
my own voyage from the UK to Canada in 1960.
5. World Connect Project
This website is one of the first places that I check for ancestors. Many, many people
have entered BMD information for their ancestors and it is free to search. Although,
the information is not always accurate it does provide a very good clue for further
research. Unlike the previous places that I have mentioned this site is a collection
of family trees that you can browse by clicking on the links of the person.
This site was a great help when I first started out. It helped me to learn the parts
of the family tree and how they are presented. Here are a few trees of famous people
you can browse to learn
Genealogy for People
6. Google Search Engine with "surname list"
Many people have put their family trees on independent web sites using genealogy
software. Once you have learned how a tree works and how the parts are presented
then you can find many of these trees with a little searching technique that I learned.
Many family tree programs generate a list of all the family names. This list usually
has the title of "surname list". If you enter this search query into a
search engine like Google then the results will give you all the pages that contain
the words "surname list". If you follow the keywords "surname list"
by the last name of your ancestor then you will get Family tree pages that include
people with that last name.
For example: By using the search surname list" thomas
smith you will get pages that have family names of 'thomas'
and 'smith' on them. By then following the links you may find your ancestors.
You can narrow down the search by including both family names of a marriage. The
resulting pages will give you trees that have at least connected these 2 names.