Additional “Best” Free Websites for 2010


I recently blogged about Family Tree Magazine’s recently released annual list of “101 Best Websites” for 2010 and their focus on free sites this year. Of course, there are thousands out there. But, given some of their categories, perhaps some others could have been considered. Here are a few overlooked candidates in two of their categories:

“Best US Government Sites”

The magazine identified seven excellent sites that genealogists should use regularly. But, here’s two more not to overlook. The new Citizenship and Immigration Services division of the Department of Homeland Security now provides naturalization files, visa applications and citizenship information through their Genealogy Program. Among other records, this fee-based search includes most naturalization records from 1906 to 1956.

Social Security applications are popular with genealogists, and now you can order them on online through the Social Security Administration. Our experience at ProGenealogists shows they usually get to us in just a few weeks, or less!

For more links to US government sites, see the “Family History and Genealogy” portal at the government’s official web portal, USA.gov.

“Best Sites for Eastern US Research”

The magazine did not define “Eastern US,” but the ten sites they listed are all for states and cities east of the Rocky Mountains. That still leaves 27 states unrepresented. Two of our favorites here at ProGenealogists are for east coast states where we do lots of research, starting with the Library o f Virginia. Their Virginia Memory digital collections include the Chancery Records Index (over 4 million images), Cohabitation Registers (African Americans living together in 1866), Confederate Pension Rolls, Revolutionary War bounty warrants, rejected claims and state pensions, Land Office Patents and Grants, and numerous photograph collections. Also, don’t overlook the library’s index to pre-1897 deaths.

Maryland is another critical eastern state with bountiful sources online, starting with the State Archives. Their “Family Historians” section lists many key aids, including statewide death indexes (1898-1944), census indexes (1776/78 and 1870), Early Settlers of Maryland, and indexes to state files too numerous to mention. My favorite is the Archives of Maryland Online with over 800 digitized volumes, most published many years ago, of colonial and 19th century documents, including a growing number of city directories.

Well, that’s two more states covered; who wants to cover the other 25?

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