Free Genealogy Research Sites

Pretty much everybody who has been doing genealogy for any length of time knows that Cyndi’s List is the definitive list of genealogy websites. But (and I hesitate to admit this) I find it a bit difficult to find sites relevant to my research on her site. So I have my own little pared down list of the places I go to time and time again. Here’s my little list of free sites, which hopefully you will find useful. I’ll be adding to it as I find (or remember) other sites, and I’ll make every effort to keep the links up to date.

Cemetery/Death/Burial:

  • FindaGrave.com – User submitted cemetery/burial information, some with tombstone and/or personal photographs. Includes partial information from many/most cemeteries United States Cemeteries and also international.
  • Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
  • Some Northern Chester County Genealogy and History – Cemetery transcriptions for St. Peter’s (Pikeland, PA) and Vincent Mennonite (Spring City, PA). There is also additional data on this site.
  • ObituarySiteUnseen – Pottstown-area necrology lists and more
  • Online Seaerchable Death Indexes and Records – Compiled by Joe Beine, links to online death records (USA)  (Note that some links are to sites that require payment or subscriptions)
  • Pennsylvania State Death Index (1906-1961) – State-wide death index. (Some years indexed by Soundex code – calculator available here.)
  • US Veteran Affairs Nationwide Grave site locator – burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.
  • Webcemeteries.com – Provides “cemetery internet packages” to member cemeteries. Cemeteries that participate create a website and searchable database of their records. Includes various current and legacy cemeteries throughout the US – check the site for the current list.

General/Miscellaneous Data

  • FamilySearch – The main LDS search site – census, birth, marriage, death, church records, etc — more being added all the time
  • FreeCen – transcription of some UK Census records
  • Genforum – Great message boards
  • German Genealogy Group – Searchable databases for certain church records, naturalization records, vital records index (for NYC) and more.
  • Online NYC Death Records & Indexes – provides links
  • PA Roots – Lots of great information, but my favorite is the Eastern PA obituaries board.
  • RootsWeb – Social Security death index, California death index, various user-submitted databases, gateway to message boards, mailing lists, WorldConnect database, and much, much more.
  • USGenWeb – The link is to the main site. Content is user-submitted and varies by State and County. There is a lot of content on both the Berks County, PA and the Montgomery County, PA sites.
  • USGenWeb Archives – This link is to the main site; navigate to the various states and counties of interest. Content is user-contributed and amount various greatly from state to state and county to county. Fortunately, the Chester County PA site has tons of data. The Berks County and Montgomery County PA sites also contain useful data.

Government Archive Sites:

  • Chester County PA Archives and Records – A list of online indexes to their various holdings. Includes index to marriage records, death records, probate files, etc.  Great for planning what to look up on your next visit, or you can order the records if you can’t travel there.

Maps and Mapping Utilities

Personal Websites:

  • Janis’ Genealogy – Lots of data on my various family lines.
  • Hillpot Family Genealogy – Don’t let the name fool you. There is so much more than just his family data. This site is a must if you are researching Bucks County PA families.

Photo/Image Sites:

  • AncientFaces – user uploaded vintage and family history photographs
  • DeadFred – user uploaded identified and unidentified old family photographs
  • Digital Preservation – Library of Congress website with information about preserving your digital photographs
  • Find-a-Grave – may contain user uploaded tombstone photos as well as portraits and snap shots
  • Flickr – users and organizations upload people, place and historic photos
  • Google Image Search – search engine for photos on websites, blogs and picasa web albums
  • Library of Congress Pictures – historical photographs, generally in public domain
  • National Archives and Records – another site for historical photographs
  • WikiMedia –  includes miscellaneous photos and videos of people, places and objects

Ship lists/Immigration:

published 12/27/2008
last updated 6/17/2012