Hiring a genealogist to research your ancestral lines can be very expensive. Rather than paying an hourly rate to a professional, more and more people are turning to free ancestry sources. Free ancestry websites are cropping up all the time, and there are many good resources you can access online without paying a dime.
Almost all Americans have ancestors who were enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. That census is available free online at several different websites, including Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.
Reading the old handwriting on census records can be difficult, so you may want a copy of the blank census forms that the enumerator filled out so that you can tell what information is in each column. You can download these blank census sheets at no charge here.
FamilySearch is also undertaking a project to digitize genealogical records and make them available free online for public use. While this project will be ongoing for several years, there are already many records available at the pilot website. At FamilySearch.org, you can view all kinds of free ancestry records, including:
- U.S. Federal Census records from 1850 to 1920
- Florida state censuses
- Indiana marriage records, 1811-1959
- 1930 Mexico census
- Mexico baptisms, marriages, and burials 1700-1900
- England baptisms and marriages, 1700-1900
- 1841 and 1861 England and Wales censuses
- and more...
In your free ancestry searches, don't forget about the websites of archives and historical societies. You'd be amazed at how many valuable genealogical collections are digitized and available free online at these sites, such as:
- The New England Historical and Genealogical Society, www.newenglandancestors.org, has collections of New York wills and Massachusetts vital records
- Daughters of the American Revolution, dar.org, has collections of thousands of membership applications as well as early American biographies and original manuscripts
- The California Historical Society, www.californiahistoricalsociety.org, has collections of letters and diaries of early Gold Rush settlers
If you want to find more historical or genealogical societies, and the collections they have, just do a Google search for the geographic area or specialty you're searching for. Take advantage of these resources to make your genealogy searches easy-and free.
Of course, one of the best resources for building your family tree is found right here at OneGreatFamily.com. Although the majority of our services are on a subscription basis, you can take advantage of our automatic matching & merging technology for free for 7 days by signing up for a free trial. Get started today!
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