10 No-Fee Resources for Climbing Your Family Tree Online
by Nancy Hendrickson
As the Webmaster of Genealogy-and-History.com, I'm often asked if
it's possible to find family tree data that doesn't come with a
price tag. My answer is yes! My favorite no-fee sites are:
1. FamilySearch.org This popular site now has over 1 BILLION names
in its online database. Search by surname (last name), spouse's
name, parents' name or place. Includes no-fee access to the 1880
United States census, 1881 British Isles and Canada censuses, as
well as the Social Security Death Index.
2. USGenWeb.com Perhaps the best place for beginning American
research. With a Website for every single county in the United
States, this site provides no-charge access to items like county
histories, biographies, court records, census transcripts, and
historic photos. Each county site is managed by a volunteer, so the
amount of information varies dependent on the volunteer's efforts.
3. EllisIsland.org Want to find your immigrant ancestor? Head to
this Website. No charge access to database containing 25 million
ships' passenger records covering entry through the Port of New York
and Ellis Island from 1892-1924. This site was first launched on
April 17, 2001, and has received over 6 billion hits.
4. WorldConnect.Rootsweb.com Search more than 385 million names in
researcher-donated files. Download ancestor and descendant results,
view individual records and sources, and contact people who are
researching the same surname. Although Rootsweb is now owned by
Ancestry, this database has no-fee access.
5. Linkpendium.com More than 2 million links to genealogy resources.
Includes links to both surname Websites, and regional resources by
state. Includes links to mailing lists, clubs, message boards,
personal surname pages, and cemeteries.
6. Geneasearch.com This fascinating site is loaded with genealogy
records, including military rosters, regional resources, links to
biographies and surname registries, and obituaries. In addition, you
can request a no-charge lookup from the many volunteers associated
with this site; the volunteers will look up your surnames in both
genealogy CDs and genealogy books.
7. GenCircles.com Search and view millions of names that have been
uploaded by other family tree researchers—all without a charge. New
policies have instituted a small fee for use of the "smart matching"
technology, but all searches and viewing of data remain without a
8. Interment.net No cost search of close to 4 million names in more
than 8,000 cemeteries world-wide. If you are hitting a brick wall in
your research, be sure to search for the surname on this site as you
may find a burial notice in a state or area that you have not yet
researched. Special collections include some National Cemeteries and
9. CousinConnect.com Sometimes the quickest way to climb your
family tree is to connect with other people who are researching the
same names. This Website has more than 83,000 genealogy queries
posted; these are posts by people who are searching for a specific
surname. It's possible you'll find an Internet cousin or two on this
site. Sharing research is an excellent technique for getting faster
10. OliveTreeGenealogy.com One of the oldest genealogy sites on the
Internet, and filled with no-fee searchable databases. This site is
huge (more than 1,7000 pages and almost 1,500 databases!) so take
some time going through the site so you don't miss out on any family
information. Includes ships passenger lists, church records,
military records, city directories, and links to Native American
Nancy Hendrickson is the Webmaster of http://www.genealogy and
author of Finding Your Roots Online. Learn more about climbing your
family tree with her dozens of no-charge articles and monthly