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Where to start? Free genealogy websites ?

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I have a little of the basic info. on my grandparents but that's as far as I know how to go. Are there any good *free* geneology sites where I can trace any further ? Seems everytime I pull up any kind of site that has any records to speak of, there's a subscription involved. They all want money for the info. Anyone know where I can search old ?

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

My brother and I have made extensive use of old newspaper files. That works if you are in the same general area where your grandparents lived. Many of these back issues are on microfilm and you need to take frequent breaks to avoid eyestrain. Also, many cemeteries maintain records, as do funeral homes. If your ancestors were members of fraternal orders such as IOOF those records are also useful. The county recorder's ofice maintains records of real esatate transactions - who owned what and when, Some counties may charge for access but we've not encountered any fees. And of course the census records are very useful

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Someone I know looked up some things in the census records online. Do you know how to access them ? I've tried several things, but always come up with the ones that want money for the info.

I think I know of the cemetary where my grandparents are burried. Would they have info. about the parents of deceased people , like who were their parents ?

Thanks so much for any help. I was truly I'm anxious to try again. I just didn't know where to look next.

This message was edited Jan 3, 2007 10:59 PM

Audubon, PA(Zone 6b)

peggieK... for a few buck$ you can write to the Health Department of the state which issued a Death Certificate and get a copy. It will give name of parents & other useful info about the deceased.


San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

The U.S. census is enumerated every ten years, as you know, but the details are not released in full to the public for 72 years thereafter. Thus 1930 is the most recent one available. The National Archives doesn't make it asy to access the files except at one of the district locations - the nearest one to you is Kansas City..Here is .some starter info about the resources on the federal level -

We have had some of our best luck in searching census records in local libraries. Not every library will have a complete set, and most are on microfilm but your local librarians are likely to be very helpful and that is
where I suggest you start. Make notes on every thing you know - both documented and rumored - about your
grandparents and keep your notes handy for clues.

Geneaology searches require lots of patience.I think of it as wandering through a labyrinth - lots of dead ends and false leads. It is important to check every finding through multiple sources. We have found errors in the census records - the information relied on the memory of the interviewee and the hearing/understanding level of the taker writing it down. We have even seen mistakes on headstones - names missppelled and dates not quite right. So verify, verify, verify.

Cemeteries vary widely in the amount of information on file, and in its accuracy, but by all means the search should be made. For example, one set of our great-grandparents were buried in a small rural cemetery at Earl, Oklahoma (north of Mannsville) No one has maintained the area for many years. We found their markers, and tried to clear away as much of the rampant growth as we could, but we haven't found the grave of g-grandmother's mother - according to family word-of-mouth reports, she is there somewhere. Also the gradparents buried the 5-year-old daughter who choked while eating corn on the cob. They didn't manage to fund a permaent marker so we don't know where she is. Many cemeteries have old, temporary or broken markers with inscriptions illegible or missing.

We were fortunate in having some good records to start off - family Bibles with names,DOBs/DODs accurately recorded, many,many pictures - all too few of which had inscription info on the back! - and several long-lived oldtimers who kept newsclippings and mementos. Still there is much we haven't found and continue looking, knowing some questions may never be answered..

I'm sending you a bit of Dmail, Peggie. Depending on where you believe your ancestors are, I may be able to offer other leads. Yuska

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

Not knowing what you've already done, it's hard to say where to start. In general, the first step for researching your family is FAMILY and RELATIVES. Find out what older family members know, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Someone may have done some research already or older people will reminder things if their mind is still sharp enough. Also there are places to search online. Genforum, is mostly a for-pay site (and pretty aggressive about getting your credit card info...I have reason not to trust them), but I think their family forums are still free. Death certificates can sometimes help, but that won't go too far back in time. Some who died in early 1900's may not even have recorded death certifiicates. There are state death indexes at some libraries with genealogy sections....don't know if any of those are available online. But in the case of deaths farther back, it would save you from being charged a fee for the search, then nothing is found. Also, obituaries and funeral homes can sometimes have more info, if you can find them. And census records are available at many libraries with genealogy sections. They usually some indexes for the microfilm of the census. You have to have some idea of which state and county you're looking for. I had great grandparents that moved around a bit...5 different states that I'm sure of now and it was quite a challenge finding them on different censuses! Especially since they were sometimes in the index under JONES instead of JAMES (those old census records are handwritten and the people who do indexes can't always tell for sure what it says). And then my ancestor was sometimes under his initials and other times under different variations on his first name. I looked at it as a challenge and finally found all the census records! And later found the right cemetery.

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

You might try:


Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

Try the message boards; they are still free. changed their site a bit and I have a little trouble finding the boards now, but I have made connections with several distant cousins.

Tarpon Springs, FL(Zone 9b) is a wonderful genealogy site that is packed full of census images (all indexed), WW1 Registration Draft Cards, military indexes, etc. I wouldn't be without it. It IS fee-based but worth every penny if you really get hooked with the genealogy bug. If you would like me to look in the 1930 census for your grandparents (assuming they are in the 1930 census), contact me via Dmail. But I'm warning you - you won't want to stop researching your family once you start :) I'll need their names, where they may be living, and their approximate ages. If you know where they were born, that helps. is a FREE site where family researches post their ancestors' names, dates, research notes, etc. Use the search engine to see if your ancestors are listed, and then contact the submittor if they are.

These are my two favorite sites. I've been researching over 10 years and find them invaluable.


Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

Cheiri, sent me to a business site.

Denton, TX(Zone 7b)

I also recommend trying the library. My local library gives you a special password where you can access a web site for free. The only requirement is that you have a current library card.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

A remarkable resource for residents of the Sooner state is the Oklahoma Historical Society. Access to the full services is membership based, but I believe that onsite examination of certain records is available to the general public. Census records, newspaper files, journals, audio histories and much more are available. It's a fascinating place, and well worth periodic visits. Here's one link:


Tarpon Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

[[email protected]]

This is the search page of World Connect. There are plenty of ads for "searching" on this page but ignore them. Use the surname box to enter the last name that you are searching. It is in the middle of the page, along with other boxes for a first name, birth location, death location, etc. You can leave as many blank boxes as you like.

Let me know if you have any problems accessing this search page. I have it as a link on my desktop and it takes me right to it. There are no membership fees for WorldConnect. Happy Hunting!


Tarpon Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Sorry, the hyperlink messed up in my previous posting for World Connect. The above one should work.


Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b) has a largest list of databases to search, some are free, some are not. Most genealogy is a matter of patience. If you get really "into" it, the for a fee provides the best amount of information at one place. I use Family Tree Maker which does an automatic search of, but it all depends on how serious and how much time you devote to genealogy. The best start is family history gathered from older family members. We spent several years trying to discover where a ggfather was buried from an obscure "Republic County, KS" reference from family members. I finally called a funeral home closest to where they had lived and the funeral home did not have records for that time period, but gave us the name of the "most likely cemetery, where we indeed found the gravesite(s). Another GGfather in Missouri, the census had their last name misspelled. I contacted a "lookup" volunteer on a Genweb site for that county and they found it for us and we found the tombstone and all. Most volunteers will need fairly accurate information, you can't just ask for Anderson or Jones in such and such county and expect them to get excited about spending their time helping, but Ralph Anderson in about 1882, would be worth their time. Good luck, it's a fun and rewarding past time!

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

Family History Centers located in Oklahoma (these are branch facilities of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City): I don't think there is a charge of any kind, but I would call first.

More search places for Oklahoma: Some of these probably have charges.

Peggie, what are your grandparents names? For a while I cooresponded with a woman looking for a family member who had the same name as my great-grandfather. I kept running across info about him, and kept it in case it turned out to be a family member. When I saw the name she was looking for I hoped we were looking for the same person, so I contacted her. Turns out the other man was her great-grandfather, and I was able to help her with the info I already had. In a short period of time I was able to locate census records for him, and she finally found something to go on.

This message was edited Jan 9, 2007 8:52 AM

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

I am a suscribed member on and love their info. I know that the local library has a geneology room and people can go there and use the library computers which has a membership to Ancestry

Crescent City, CA

Has anyone mentioned going online to the mormon church genealogy files? I did not see it anywhere in the forum.
I think it called the family history center. No charge.

Merrimac, WI(Zone 4b)

The web address for the Mormon church (Latter-Day Saints):

Harpursville, NY(Zone 5a)

I found one place (free) that has a lot of information is You can research the place where your ancestors lived by state and town. From there you can access the regional email board which is affiliated with Rootsweb (also free) I have found a great deal of information at these sites. Good luck

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Really the best way to start is with your immediate family and cousins and request copies of all the documents they'll provide. Working back should get you into the census records circa 1930. The subscription sites like have been mentioned cost as much as $100-150. Just be prepared. Genealogy data gathering can be expensive. Everything you enter into your pedigree should be proven with documentation you have in your hands...not second hand. Virtually everything found on a subscription website is "hearsay" and is not acceptable documentation for any real genealogist or a genealogical organization unless they are the source of the compilation (like the Mayflower Society). There are several societies. If you compile data from these sites ... you should verify everything. Failing to do so makes your genealogy more than suspect. Anyone with smarts will laugh at your compilation if all you've done is type in someone else's work. WE should all be wise in what we do. This stuff is supposed to be your family not some haphazard collection of alleged information. Genealogical photos of forebears in your pedigree can greatly enhance your compilation; every bit as much if not more so than a additional dates and places of events (birth, marriage, death) ..... especially if the information is undocumented. Genealogy can be the most enlightening and uplifting hobby we can ever experience. It is almost like a way of life. Enjoy. Kelly

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I believe it is also helpful to show your documentation for the benefit of other researchers. When offering names, DOBs and DODs to we were able offer documentation from family Bibles and DAR records.

Tipton, IA

i am trying to research my granpa russell a. king he was born 1893 we belive in lexington virginia know he grew up there and all i know is his dad was john king , my aunt never knew his mom as she died young . he married my granma in 1914 in johnson co. in iowa, and is buried in rockrapids, iowa[ i found cemetary.] in 1950. do you think i can trace bk any with this info? i know shed be so happy if i could find anything.

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Yuska, What I find disturbing is that you believe it okay to "offer" or give your genealogy to the largest company in the industry; a company that ALL who have visited or subscribe to fully understand actively resells submitted data to the next subscriber. There must be a better way than giving a company that has a history of being the most predatory in terms of gathering personal genealogies even more data. Most people go there and subscribe because there has been no alternative. Do you know what they did when Rootsweb was taken over? I have spoken to the (founder of Rootsweb) he was absolutely devastated by the turn of events. What is the need to offer / give anything to a corporation in the first place? Does anyone believe an unrelated neighbor wants to see your genealogy. If your intent is to share with relatives ....... why not share your genealogy with your relatives directly instead of giving them the opportunity to spend $100- $150 to see your efforts? That is essentially what happens when people give away information to a genealogical company.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Kelly, maybe I'm missing something, but how did I leave the impression that all of the documentation we have has not already been shared with our relatives? We have only cousins left, but the "clan" gets all of the information first, foremost, always, forever! We have three heritage websites, two family message groups, several blogs, and at reunion time we pass around our scrapbooks, pictures galore, replay the old movies and piano recordings and visit the cemeteries. We also are members of several message groups by states. Such documentation as we have passed along to has been carefully verified as we do not wish to submit mere hearsay. There are still a few "twigs" on the family trees that need more tracing, and if what we have posted helps someone else, why not? Someone seeing our documentation may be able to give us a clue or two in our continuing search for details. Yuska

Moxee, WA(Zone 4a)

Yuska, Just because you give documented information to them doesn't mean the rest do (chances are most do not). Anyone who gleans data from them should re-document everything taken or they'll not know the information is legitimate.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I agree completely. Any information we have gleaned from those sources we consider to be leads, and we proceed to verify through other avenues. My point is we only submit material from actual documents such as the original pages in family Bibles and items we have verified from at least three strong references. We do not wish to send anyone on a wild goose chase.

Montgomery, AL

My Aunt who has recently passed away, did a geneology book for some of the neices and nephews, and her kids of cousre. How do I pick up where she left off? And how do I begin to look for my kids grandmother on their real dads side , he was adopted, but I do know her name and that is all. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thank you

Bensenville, IL(Zone 5a)


Montgomery, AL

Thank you I will do that.

Weslaco, TX(Zone 9b)

Try the Mormans. Almost every Morman church has a library with records,huge amounts,on microfiche. I sent my DNA to a company in Texas and they send me the names of my "cousins",people who match my DNA. There is a fee of about $130.00,but it's well worth it as you get those names. I have hundreds! The e-mail address is [email protected] I highly recommend them.

Clarkston, MI(Zone 5b)

There is lots of information on United States Census sites.
One can search records for immigration, birth, marrriage, death, etc.
Some states and counties also provide geneology sites.
It takes time to search, but it's worth it.
You can "google" your city, state, county, etc.
Good luck.

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

If anyone needs a lookup for census, I have a membership to and will be more than happy to do that.

Audubon, PA(Zone 6b)

rylaff... Thanks very much for your offer!!!!!! I definitely have need of a Census search for my gg grandfather, Lexington ASHER, b. 1811, TN. Perhaps a search of the 1840 0r 1850 TN Census would turn up a clue to him. Do not know which TN county he resided. His wife, Martha (maiden name unkn.) , was b. 1830, TN and their dau., Elizabeth, (my g grandmother was b. 1849 , also in TN.

Thanks for any assistance!!!!!
Larry Davis

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

I can only find him twice. In the 1840 census in Cannon Tenn.
1 male 20-30
1 male under 5
1 female 20-30
so, Elizabeth had a brother.

and then in 1870 in Freestone Texas
Lexington Asher 59 farmer born in Tenn
Martha 40 born in tenn
Elizabeth 21 born in Tenn
John W. Rusher 8 born in LA
Who is this John Rusher living in the household?

Audubon, PA(Zone 6b)

rylaff...... THANK YOU!!!!!!! So... now I know they were from Cannon County, TN. in 1840. Good to know!! I DID know they were in Freestone Co., TX in 1870 since that's where my family came from.

Appreciate your quick response!!!

Rancho Cordova, CA(Zone 9a)

General Genealogy resources which I use to teach the subject at folsom cordova adult education (my stuff is free !!!) I teach for a public high school

Beginning the hunt for your family
This section is the course I teach to people who are just trying to figure out how to use their computer and the internet to find their ancestors

all of the handouts and lessons used for the past 10 years are linked here

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

I'd agree with going to check out the Mormon/LDS churches with genealogy rooms, usually available on certain days and times. I'd forgotten about that, but actually some of the really good info I got was from microfilm records that I ordered through them and would then go during one of their scheduled dates/times to view the records. I knew my ggg-grandfather probably had died in MS after the 1850 census. So I ordered some records that included probate court records about when and how his estate was handled and those named the children and of course mentioned the widow. There was a small fee for those records, but it was well worth it. Public libraries with genealogy sections are valuable resources. They have census microfilms and also some books which may not be available online. Such places also may have lists of certain records which can be ordered by interlibrary loan.

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