At our recent Genealogy Networking Group this week we spent a great deal of time going through Family Tree Magazine’s list of top 101 genealogy websites. Some of the ones we examined were:
- Mooseroots. This is the kind of site you can get lost in for hours at a time. Mooseroost searches lots of other websites and gives you the results in no particular order. There is a “topics” section which has background and how-to articles on broad topics like census, immigration, and military. County statistics, helpful tips on topics like immigration or military records
- Distant Cousin Another all-in-one site that purports to have records of all sorts from census to city directories to yearbooks. Unfortunately, we got an error message and were not able to access this on Thursday. We’ll keep trying; it looks like a good one.
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Called “CWSS’ for short. After looking at this one, our group decided it is well put together, is easy to search, and provides good information about Civil War soldiers and sailors. Just search the name of an ancestor that fought in the Civil War and you can learn what regiment he was in as well as what battles that regiment took part in. Under the “Stories” tab you can find great background information on topics like women, the military experience, emancipation, and death and dying.
- Elephind Yet another website that searches multiple sites with one search box; the difference is that this website only searches digitized newspaper websites. We mentioned this site in a post on newspaper basics a couple of years ago, and it’s encouraging to see that Elephind is still in the game. After some trial and error, it looks like the best way to search for a person is to put your ancestor’s name in quotation marks in the search box. If you need to narrow the search, you can “refine” by choosing relevant decades, states or newspaper titles. You can also search by phrases or keywords. Keep in mind that not all newspapers have been digitized and put up on the web, but this is a good place to start to see what’s available.
And an extra website suggested by us:
- Gen Dobry! ,a great site for its Polish newsletter of the same name. Back issues of the newsletter are linked on the Polish Roots website, which looks to be a good place for Polish research.
Several attendees shared stories of breakthroughs or interesting finds, which we always learn from. One story we all enjoyed was when someone decided to drive through their mother-in-law’s hometown on their way to Door County. They saw a store with the same last name as their mother-in-law, They stopped to ask if there might be a connection; they left with a thumb drive full of documents and pictures as well as a full-fledged family history. Lesson learned: stop and ask, don’t just drive by! (And always carry a thumb drive with you!)
At our next meeting on October 6, Ellen will share what she heard, saw, and learned at this year’s FGS conference in Springfield, Illinois. Please register for the Genealogy Neworking Group and join us!