I'm addicted to information about 200 year old women.
August 2, 2006 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I need more places to look for family tree information.

Since I got information from old Askme threads, I've been using Ancestry (as a subscriber), Familysearch.org, and Rootsweb. I've got a site maintaining over 8000 individual names and records right now, but there are some glaring holes from relatively recent generations (in the last 150 years, or so). I'm using TNG to organize all of this data -- if you're interested in seeing it, drop me a line for the URL.

So far, the best help I've had is from little old ladies who live in my target counties that are also subscribers to those services. They seem to really enjoy the research, and will offer to look in a cemetary or visit a courthouse for you just for the thrill of the hunt. However, such a resource isn't consistent, and littleoldladygenealogyfreaks.org was recently taken over by pornographers...*snicker*.

I guess I'm mostly interested in any international resources about which you may have knowledge or access. I'm particularly interested in Germany, France, Scotland, Sweden, and Canada. I'd pay for the international version of Ancestry.com, but I think my wife would modify the "Divorced?" field of our marriage record on my site if I did such a thing.
posted by thanotopsis to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Cyndi's List should give you what you're looking for.
posted by MiamiDave at 2:44 PM on August 2, 2006

Origins.net is terrific for Scottish censuses and parish vital records - you can look at originals and order hard copies online. I reviewed several useful Irish and English primary records there as well. Quite the boon when you're over here in the States lamenting the comparative lack of online records for the rest of the world. (That said, Canada's PRDH is awesome if you have any Quebecois folk.)

You can buy a 72-hour pass to Origins, but the Scottish searches are mostly free.
posted by Liffey at 2:48 PM on August 2, 2006

You can try the Mormon Church, which has some of the largest groups of records.
posted by Heatwole at 3:26 PM on August 2, 2006

As one who does genealogy and is a resource for large numbers of people - don't put too much faith in Ancestry.com or the LDS family history sites (which I don't see mentioned here). I have turned up SO MANY mistakes in both. Rootsweb is really good for connecting with actual relatives who might have information no one else will. Cross reference everything you find.
posted by clarkstonian at 3:26 PM on August 2, 2006

Genealogy Jam is my glorified bookmarks file and it has 70 or so free genealogy databases you can search.
posted by rinkjustice at 4:46 PM on August 2, 2006

Response by poster: As one who does genealogy and is a resource for large numbers of people - don't put too much faith in Ancestry.com or the LDS family history sites (which I don't see mentioned here). I have turned up SO MANY mistakes in both. Rootsweb is really good for connecting with actual relatives who might have information no one else will. Cross reference everything you find.

....except that all of the home-grown information on Ancestry is based off of Rootsweb. Everything else is their indexing of the various federal and state censuses, birth and death records, and all sorts of directories and periodicals, which is good for, as you suggested, cross-referencing.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:25 PM on August 2, 2006

I definitely second Rootsweb. I connected with several long lost cousins I didn't know I had who had already done the work for me! And they are sticklers for accuracy so I trusted them.

When asked how they came across all of their research, they replied that they did it the old fashioned way. They researched travel documents, government documents, church documents and so forth by using the LDS library resources. Through the LDS family history centers you can get access to these records on microfilm. You can search the library catalog on familysearch.org. Also, they had booklets for many common nationalities there to guide you in your search for accurate records. I think the LDS is your best bet! Good luck!
posted by bristolcat at 5:45 PM on August 2, 2006

If its family history records from the UK (I notice you said you were interested in Scotland) then try Family History Online. It is a pay per view kinda deal (but quite cheap)- and I have found it invaluable in untangling my ancestors from Cornwall.

I haven't tried the Scottish sections - but I am sure they wil be just as good.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 8:23 PM on August 2, 2006

Some public libraries (and maybe LDS Family History libraries, too?) subscribe to the full version of Ancestry.com. I know they're an expensive service, but they're definitely the best I've found online, and if you could even get an afternoon or three in front of a computer with full access, you'd have a number of UK and Canadian census records at your fingertips.

Actually going to a local LDS Family History library and ordering the microfilms and poking around in them with a real microfilm reader is pretty good, too--and totally free! And you know the actual vital record microfilms will have only minimal mistakes (poor handwriting of the town clerk, usually), as opposed to Nth-generation sloppy hearsay mistakes that the online versions of the LDS records have.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:44 PM on August 2, 2006

Yes, I can confirm that LDS Family History Libraries have free access to Ancestry.com. If you do choose to use their user-submitted family trees, at least take the time to make every effort to confirm the facts given to you. Also, if you go to an LDS Family History Library I highly recommend bringing a small portable USB drive or something like that. That way, when you find something interesting or useful (especially of graphical interest like a picture) then you can save it and take it with you. Also, you can put your family tree and information on it and access it while there.

Asparagirl is also right on in that many public libraries will have access to Ancestry.com or something like it. In my case, my public library has online access to HeritageQuest which is very much like Ancestry.com but in many ways, even better. And it is an online resource--I enter in my library card number and I can use the website from home. I don't have to go to the library and use their computer.

The best resource for more recent ancestors is those relatives of yours still living. Take advantage of your elders while you still have them and grill them for names and places to search. Also, it is important to record their memories and experiences from their generation. Family history is more than just names, dates and lineages.

If you can dig up a lead on a place that you didn't know about previously where your ancestors may have come from, you can contact that area's genealogy society and they will be glad to help you, I'm sure. I'm pretty sure that in Europe they are used to such requests and that these societies are staffed by more than little old lady genealogy freaks. Even so, if you can get their help, you're doing pretty good because they probably have loads of experience and wisdom regarding history!

Good luck!
posted by bristolcat at 4:36 AM on August 3, 2006

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