HINTS for Genealogy Searches on the Internet 
NOTE: The Internet is a fickle place. Some of the links below may change from time to time, and you may run into one of those changes before I do. Please e-mail me if you have a problem with any link here or on this site.

  Searching the Internet for your own genealogy can be difficult and time-consuming if you don't know where to begin. The resources listed below can get you off to a fast start - and in touch with both information and fellow researchers.

HINT #1: Try most or all of them.

HINT #2: In several places below, the name SMITH is used as an example. Just substitute the surname you're researching.

HINT #3: Right-click on the links below and select 'Open in New Window' - and continue using that method when working from any page that has multiple links you want to explore.
FAMILY SEARCH - maintained by the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, this is a massive, searchable resource. Use the info to spur your research, but not always as the final answer: some of the data was gathered from contributors rather than from authoritative records.

FAMILY SEARCH - 1880 US Census - part of the LDS Church site. You can search for full names or surnames only, search states, search counties, view info about household members. My favorite site on the Internet.

Civil War Soldiers - operated by the National Park Service (which maintains Civil War battlefields), allows you to search for individuals or surnames, both Union and Confederate. Entering Fulkerson provides well over 200 names. Variations of spelling and records in various military units caused quite a bit of duplication, so about a third of those names turn out to be duplicates.

*Roots Surname List - their Search Engine page, with 170,000+ surnames linked to people on-line who are researching those names. You can search by surname and state.

*Genforum - A forum is a place to communicate and request information about family history. This Genealogy.com site features forums for many surnames.

* Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - well-organized links to over 40,000 genealogy-related sites on the Internet.
HINT: Skip her main page, which is a long download, and go direct to her index of Personal Home Pages
*Genealogy Gateway - another of the major genealogy links sites, fairly well organized, with links to "More Than 15,000 Surname & Family Homepages"

*YAHOO! Arts:Humanities:History:Genealogy:Lineages and Surnames - about a 180K page, so a little s-l-o-w to load.
HINT: Right-click on the links and select 'Open in New Window' - so you don't have to r-e-l-o-a-d this page every time you return to it.
*Rootsweb Mailing Lists - share information by e-mail, based on region or surname. It has hundreds of lists (groups) and you may find your surname listed.
HINT#1: Carefully follow their simple instructions for e-mailing your request to join a group.

HINT#2: Don't join a bunch of groups all at once, unless you REALLY have nothing else going on in your life.
*US GenWeb Project - Search by geographic location, organized by states and counties. You can post a query to attract other researchers, or search for queries posted by others.

*Genealogy.com - Family Finder - Family Finder searches through hundreds of thousands of genealogy pages across the Internet and gives you links to likely matches in:

Search Engine HINTS

HINT#1: Using search engines is possibly the most time-wasting and least profitable way to start your genealogy searches.

HINT#2: Using search engines is possibly the most valuable way to start your genealogy searches.
*AOL NetFind - At the AOL page, also accessible from the Internet, click on 'AOL NetFind' in the red bar at the top of the page.
HINT: On the 'NetFind' page, enter 'smith AND genealogy' (capitalize the AND)
* Google - this is the best search engine. Using the "unfiltered" version of any search engine, however, you can run into listings for pornographic enterprises that have "spammed" the search engine with false keywords. See HINT#4.
HINT#1:BE INTUITIVE BEFORE YOU SEARCH. Think of keywords that are LIKELY TO APPEAR on the type of page you're seeking. Precede each keyword with the 'plus' sign.
EXAMPLE: +smith +mother +father +born

HINT#2: Add more keywords to narrow your search, such as the name of the city, county or state where your ancestors lived.
EXAMPLE: +smith +mother +father +born +Buffalo +NY

HINT#3: Put phrases in quotes.
EXAMPLE: +smith +mother +father +"Los Angeles" +CA

HINT#4: Using search engines can take you over to the "dark side" of the Internet. If you run into this problem, use a search engine that can filter out objectionable sites. One good example is Google. Google's SafeSearch blocks web pages containing explicit sexual content from appearing in search results. You can elect to SafeSearch by clicking on the Preferences link. You can choose one of three levels of SafeSearch: strict, moderate and unfiltered.

FINAL CAUTION:  The only caution I can give you about doing genealogy on the Internet is to avoid giving out information about living individuals. Your correspondence may get passed along to someone else. The information may later end up on someone's web site - without your permission - and you may end up with some unhappy relatives.

HOME