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For Your Browsing Pleasure

by Jan McClintock

As most of you have discovered, there are reams of genealogy web pages out there. But unless you spend hours jumping from link to link, it's hard to tell which sites are actually useful. I have diligently sorted out a few that may interest you (it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it!). Updated May 2, 2002 by the staff of Leister Productions Inc.

Search Engines Link Lists Real Data Online
Services How-Tos Where-Tos
When-Tos Dictionaries Books & Supplies
Gazetteers & Maps History Person-to-Person
Other People's Money Free E-Zines Macintosh Stuff
Message Forums Charts/Graphics  

From the readers of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: a few samples of their "Best Genealogy Sites on the World Wide Web":

  • RootsWeb -- "hundreds of gigibytes (millions of pages) of free genealogy data"; many genealogy web sites are hosted by this far-reaching project. Home of WorldConnect, a GEDCOM-based worldwide exchange program, the RootsWeb Surname list and the ROOTS-L mailing list.
  • FamilySearch -- the online databases, free so far, of the collections of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. Search the IGI, Ancestral File, Research outlines, and the FHC Catalog, 'Nuff said.
  • Cyndi Howell's terrific, categorized list of genealogy-related links, Cyndi's List

Search Engines

The newest multi-engine search with a cutesy name is earning rave reviews: Google

At the HotBot site, I was impressed by the ability to customize and narrow searches, and by the number of pertinent results.

Link Lists

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet is a terrific site organized by category - if you can't find it here, then it probably isn't worth finding. Links are continually added and updated.

Genealogy Resources on the Internet is organized by country and by topic. This listing was first set up in 1995 by John P. Fuller and has been updated by Linda Lambert and Megan Zurawicz in his memory.

Examples of Real Data Online

Search the database of The Obituary Daily Times for basic data entered by hundreds of volunteers (including Yours Truly) from published obituaries; then use this data to find the obit in the newspaper cited by using your library or online source. If you are a regular contributor (easy to do), you can also request the full text of obituaries from other volunteers. Sign up for the GEN-OBIT mailing list for a daily index.

York County, South Carolina Census Index Search 1790-1850 from RootsWeb is a great example of the many ways computers and modems are good for genealogy.

Allen David Distler's Ohio River Valley Families project lists thousands who settled within 50 miles of the Ohio River in PA, OH, IN, and KY.

Ancestry.com offers many online databases, including the PERSI (Periodical Source Index) database. Some searches are free, and full access is by subscription. Look over the list of databases available to see what you might gain; very worthwhile for many researchers.

The Olive Tree Genealogy Homepage includes lots of early Dutch New York data, muster rolls from the American Revolution and the War of 1812, ships passenger lists, Loyalists, and much more.


For one free genealogical CD-ROM lookup per day, try the Ancestral Findings web site.

For lookups in genealogy-related books, check out Books We Own, which is operated through the grace of volunteers. Again, read the instructions first.

Request a record from The Census Giver and an associate researcher will search for it for a fee based on the record and the number of requests. Over a dozen researchers in the Washington, D.C. area and in Utah are now on the staff.


Marthe Arend's Creating Effective Queries is an easy-to-follow lesson on posting the really important information to a mailing list or message forum. This is one of many great online Genealogy Classes from Genealogy.com

Richard Pence's Numbering Systems in Genealogy article describes the confusing "standards" for publishing family history.

Check out the Gene Pool's list of Research Aids for the Family Historian, including "Colonial Occupations" and examples of "Examples of 17th Century Handwriting."

If you're confused about the difference between a mete and a bound and patent and a grant, visit Direct Line Software's Land Records Reference page for some explanations.

The Soundex Indexing System from the National Archives and Records Administration genealogy site.

Just Black and White photo processing offers some advice on photo preservation.


Steve Paul Johnson's Cemetery Records Online is an online searchable database of cemeteries and graves for genealogists in the U.S. and worldwide.

Commonwealth Network's Vital Records Information for the United States lists where to obtain vital records in each state, territory, and county.

National Archives and Record Administration genealogy pages includes "Genealogical Research Guides"; read the introduction before jumping into the record groups.

USPS ZIP Code Lookup and Address Information page leads you to the correct ZIP code and includes a list of official post office abbreviations, too.



HyperHistory Online is a color-coded, graphical timeline of world history. Events, people, history, and maps are presented with links to informative text files. Heavy use of browser frames, but is fairly quick and easy to navigate.

This calendar page converts an entered date into several formats, including Gregorian, Julian, Jewish, and French Revolution.


A Web of On-line Dictionaries is an incredible array of searchable English and foreign language dictionaries; run across any Latin phrases lately?

Type a word into the form on OneLook Dictionaries page and search through one or all of 106 dictionaries, including computer, medical, acronyms, language, and more.

refdesk.com's: Quick Reference/Research page is a comprehensive list of online reference material; or begin with the Refdest.com home page, "the single best source for facts on the Net."

Books & Supplies


With the popularity of scrapbooks, acid-free paper and other great archival supplies are now more available than ever from sites like FAMILYarchives.com and Century Business Solutions.

Genealogical.com, parent of the Genealogical Publishing Company and its affiliate, Clearfield Company, is the leading publisher of books and CDs on genealogy and family history.

Amazon, the "Earth's Biggest Bookstore", listed literally thousands of books at reasonable prices under the keyword "genealogy".

Blair's Book Service has been touted by me in the past and is still a great way to browse the shelves for genealogy books.

Gazetteers & Maps

The d-maps site includes great, downloadable county, state, country, and continent outlines in different colors for adding geographic interest to your charts, reports, or web pages.

U.S. Map

Download or view historical maps from the Perry-Casteñada Map Collection from the University of Texas at Austin; these maps are in JPEG graphic format.

Family Search's interesting Surname Distribution Maps page provides links to online surname distribution maps for various countries. They allow you to see a map showing the distribution of people with this surname at different periods of time. Simply select the country of your choice and enter a surname.


The U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center team is dedicated to educating and preserving the legacy of the men and women who have served their nation as Soldiers. Researchers have access to the USAHEC's expansive archives, holding over 16 million items covering U.S. Army history from before the French and Indian War to current operations.

The Library of Congress' American Memories site includes a series of "historical collections for the National Digital Library." Find out more about early photography like Daguerreotypes and photos from the Civil War.

The National Park Service site includes historical photographs of Ellis Island, NY in JPG format.

The Valley of the Shadow project from the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; this is a fascinating look into the lives of two communities during the time of the American Civil War - Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Augusta County, Virginia.



Switchboard, a free white- and yellow-pages directory of the USA

Lycos is a one-stop site for searching for businesses or individuals, including e-mail addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers.

Other People's $ Money $

Did you know that in colonial America, each state had it's own form of money? That must have been a tad confusing... To find out more, check out The Leslie Brock Center for the Study of Colonial Currency.

If you are researching overseas, the Universal Currency Converter from Xenon Laboratories Inc. might come in handy.

Free E-Zines

RootsWeb Review is a weekly e-mail publication written and edited by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG. It includes advice and how-to along with reader life and research stories. It also includes news and updates on the happenings at RootsWeb.

HQ eNewsLETTER keeps you informed of the latest news from Heritage Quest's online Genealogy Bulletin, new products, and feature articles.

Sign up for Macworld's informative weekly e-mail newsletter.

Macintosh Stuff

Keep in touch with The Mac Observer, a great collection of news and links, and yes, a daily e-mail newsletter. Their motto: "You'll get your news here from now on..."

Check out the NoWonder technical support and message board site--it's STILL free!

Message Forums

Two great sites for surname message forums: GenForum and FamilyHistory.com each offer thousands of forums, which include even the most uncommon surnames. And if you don't find the one you need, start your own forum!

Charts/Graphics Resources

The folks at Heartland Family Graphics like Reunion as much as you do, and have tailored their services to take advantage of its strengths. Their philosophy is to provide extremely convenient, quality printing services tailored to the needs of professional and amateur genealogists using Reunion (versions 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) ...all at a reasonable price.

Wouldn't you like a large wall chart without having to tape individual sheets together? Olson Graphic Services can print your formatted chart on one sheet directly from SuperChart, or can create one of their custom charts from a GEDCOM file, all at reasonable prices.

Keep the text in your reports and charts in the original language of your immigrant ancestors by downloading foreign language fonts for Mac or PC from the Yamada Language Center Font Archive.

Add a Mac "web badge" and the trademark notice which follows it to your web page. Be sure to follow the legal instructions on Apple's web site, and link the badge to the following URL: http://www.apple.com/products/

To save a copy of the graphic for your personal web site, position your cursor over the graphic, hold down the mouse key and choose "Download Image to Disk".


Mac and the Mac logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Mac Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., used with permission.



Mac and the Mac logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Made on a Mac Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., used with permission.


The Apple logo and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Powered By Macintosh Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., used with permission.