Free Genealogy Databases

This entry was posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 4 March, 2012 at

Free Family Research and Genealogy Databases

With shows like “Who Do You Think You Are?” and others, there’s been an increase in the number of people looking into their family tree. Some of these shows make it look easy even though they go through the proper family research to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s. I wonder how much family research is done prior to meeting the guest star. My guess would be at leasy 60-80 hours of research in archives, not counting travel time is required by researchers to produce each show. This is just my own guess not based upon any scientific estimation process.

Shows like this make me wonder how many free genealogy databases are out there for you to do real family research? Do these genalogy databases have access to digitalized original records? This post will explore various free genealogy database as well as to go through a process to find genelaogy databases which are of interest to you.

First, there are many subscription based genealoogy databases out there today. Did you know that most of these provide a free trial offer? Each genealogy database listed below has a free trial offer (at least when this post was written they did). If you try these offers back to back, you’ll have more than a month of free access to some of the best geenalogy database out there today. Each has it’s own strengths. These offers are subject to change by the individual website.

Ancestry

No discussion of free genealogy databases would be complete without talking about ancestry.com. I know many of you may be saying at this point that ancestry. com is a paid subscription site and you would be correct. However, you can Try Ancestry.com FREE with a 14-Day Free Trial. Just remember to can trial if you really don’t want to sign up. Also, there are other ways to use ancestry.com for free. There are always some databases and indexes which are available for free and ancestry.com opens up some databases for short periods of time for free. Local and State Libraries may also have a paid subscription to the library edition of ancestry.com/ If this is the case, you’ll be able to use ancestry.com for free, you’ll just have to go to the library.

Archives

One more major company which has genealogy databases to use for free is Archives.com. They offer a free seven day trial. They offer many of the same data you might get at other subscription website including the census. They also indicate they have a wdie selection of newspapers. As with all paid subscription sites, if you want to use only the free trial period, make sure you cancel the subscription before any charges are made.

One Great Family

One Great Family database is unlike the other major databasese. OneGreatFamily offers a free seven day trial. One great family has a large collection of family trees within it’s databases. It attempts to combine the trees of all of it’s members into one big family tree. This can be a great aid if you’re looking to connect with other researchers.

Fold3

If you are looking for original military records there’s no better place to go than Fold3. They offer a free seven day trial. This website offers military records from virtually every American War since the Revolutionary War. You can find service records, pension records and more.

World Vital Records

Another major company which has genealogy databases to use for free is WorldVitalRecords.com. They offer a free seven day trial. This database has a wide selection of vital records including birth, marriage and death. As with all paid subscription sites, if you want to use only the free trial period, make sure you cancel the subscription before any charges are made.

Summary of Free Trial Offers

Ancestry.com – 14 days
Archives.com – 7 days
OneGreatFamily – 7 days
Fold3 - 7 days
WorldVitalRecords.com – 3 days

Family Search

No talk about free genealogy database can be complete without discussing www.familysearch.org . The Mormons have the largest collection of vital records from everyone around the world. They have these records stored within their climate controlled vaults in Utah. Indexes to many of these records have been put on-line and many more are currently being inded. In addition to the indexes, some of the some of the original images also are displated when you find a record which matches your search criteria and you click on that record.

Heritage Quest

Heritage Quest is another free database which has digital copies of the census records, revolutionary war pension and bounty records and so much more. In order to use Heritage Quest, you’re going to have to find a library which offers it. Here in Connecticut, our state library system has it on-line through www.iconn.org and you can use it from the comfort of your own home. You will have to have a libary card from any of the libraries in the state of Connecticut in order to sign in and use it.

Finding other relevant genealogy databases

There’s such an explosion of what you might find on-line in terms of digitalized documents you never know what you might find. Google is a great way to discover what other free information might be out there. For example, I know my wife’s ancestor Joseph Dallas Pool(e) was from Georgia and likely died there. I tried a Google search of “georgia death certificates”. On the first page of the results was a link to Georgia’s Virtual Vault . It turned out to be an on-line database of Georigia Death Certificates from 1919 – 1927. Luckily for me I found my wife’s ancestors death certificate with an on-line digital copy which was free of charge. He was indexed as Dale Pool.

There are a number of ways to structure your query if you’re looking for records for your ancestor. Here are some which have worked for me.

  • {place} birth certificate
  • {place} marriage certificate
  • {place} death certificate
  • {place} newspapers archive

Replace {place} above with the place your ancestor came from. Substitute the place with state, county and town in seperate queries. Sometime the records are at the state level, sometimes at the county and sometimes at the local level. Each search may turn up different records.

Determine what large universaries are lcoated where your ancestor came from. These large universaries often have large digital collections on-line and available to the public for free. More and more records are coming on-line every day.

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