Archive for category Free Genealogy Resources

Thrifty Thursday – Alabama Digital Archives

Posted by on Thursday, 5 April, 2012

The state of Alabama has a great free resource which everyone can use on-line. It is the Alabama Digital Archives . The archives are organized in eleven different collections.

The collections which appear to be most relevent for genealogical studies are the Textual Materials Collection and the Photographs and Pictures collection.

In the Textual Materials Collection you can find many letters written during the time of the civil war, letters pertaining to the Creek War (1813 – 1814), some poll tax and voter registration information and much much more.

In the Photo and Pictures Collection you can browse by subjects including Civil War, World War I & II, Education, Religion and a whole lot more. You can also browse by time periods 1800 – 1809, 1810 – 1819 … 1990 – 1999. Obviously, the eras which pre-date the advance of the photograph are taken from pictures.

If you have relatives in Alabama, check out the Alabama Digital Archives.

Free Newspaper Archives – Online and Offline

Posted by on Sunday, 18 March, 2012

Finding your ancestors in newspapers can be very rewarding. You can find birth announcements, marriage announcements and obituaries. However, you can find out so much more than just vital statistics. Perhaps your ancestor had a run in with a dog when she was a little girl or perhaps your ancestor kept giving the police a hard time when he drank too much. Read more about what you can find out using newspapers for genealogy .

Where can you find newspapers archives? A large number of newspaper archives are on-line, many of them are free. Rather than create a large list of links to on-line newspapers, I’ve provided a small list of websites which have a large collection of newspaper links. In addition, I’ve provided some Google search ideas and examples to find newspapers where your ancestor came from.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has an on-going project called Chronicling America. In their on-line digital collection there are more than 700 different newspapers, from about 25 different states and the District of Columbia.

One of the neat things about the Library of Congress project Chronicling America is that it goes beyond just digital collections. The library of Congress has been tracing down the locations of all known newspapers in the United States which were published from 1690. I was unaware of any newspapers published from my small town of Oxford, Connecticut but I took a look using their search engine. There were two newspapers published in Oxford. When you click on the results which come up, it will tell you where the newspapers are currently located. In my case both newspapers are currently located at the Connecticut State Library.

Wikipedia:List of online newspaper archives

Wikipedia has gathered a tremendous amount of newspaper archive links. There are newspaper archives from almost every state and the District of Columbia. If you are looking for foreign newspapers there are more than 40 countries listed including Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland and France.

Some of the newspaper archives listed on Wikipedia you will have to pay for but many are available for free. If you do some digging some of the newspapers they indicate as having to pay for you can get for free. Wikipedia lists the Hartford Courant Newspaper archives as a pay site. Since I live here in Connecticut and have a library card, I can get access to this for free at .

Cindi’s List – Newspapers

Everyone who’s done a lot of genealogy knows about Cindi’s List. Cindi’s list has a tremendous amount of links pointing to newspapers of today as well as archives. There are more than 500 links to newspapers of yesterday and today on the site.

Where Else Can You Find Newspaper Archives?

If you haven’t found a newspaper that you’re looking for in any of the sites listed above it’s time to do some Google searching. Many state libraries have digital collections which include newspapers. Let’s look for some newspapers from the state of Wisconsin. Using Google I looked for “wisconsin state library newspapers”. At the top of the search was not the Wisconsin State Library’s website but an entry for the Wisconsin Historical Society. They have more than 11,000 bound volumes and 100,000 reels of microfilm. It doesn’t seem like any of these are on-line, but it can help you plan a research trip.

Going back to the results from the Google search we did for “wisconsin state library newspapers” you will notice a number of other results which are good candidates for websites which have Wisconsin Newspapers. One of those was BadgerLink . If you happen to live in Wisconsin and have a library card you can get access to the on-line collections. You can scroll through the other search results to see if there are any more useful sites which come up.

Let’s try a different approach now to find additional newspapers. Many large universities have a good deal of newspaper collections. Let’s do a Google search for “university of georgia newspaper archives”. The top result when I ran this query was University of Georgia Libraries . It doesn’t appear any of the newspapers here are on-line but this is another good tool to plan a research trip.

Going back to the Google results from “university of georgia newspaper archives”, there was a result for Digital Collection of Georgia . This website contains a number of on-line searchable newspapers from Georgia. Some of the newspapers in this collection were published as early as 1808.

The possibilities of forming a Google Search for newspaper archives are nearly endless. I’ve found many newspapers relative to the area I was looking in by searching for Libraries, Historical Societies and Universities from the area. The best results I had was when I includes “newspaper archive” in my searches. Below are some examples for searching.

  • Connecticut State Library Newspaper Archive
  • Florida State Historical Society Newspaper Archive
  • University of Tennessee Newspaper Archive

When you’re forming your search around an area, you can substitute the town, city or county instead of the state. If you know the large universities from the area, you can specify the “(university name) newspaper archives”.

Take the time now to find a newspaper from where your ancestor lived. Search for your ancestors in newspapers and you will be rewarded with stories you could never get from just names and dates. Even if you don’t find your ancestors in the newspapers you can read about the happenings in their town which certainly influenced their lives.


Newspaper Archive search at Genealogy Bank

Thrifty Thursday – Georgia Death Certificates

Posted by on Thursday, 15 March, 2012

Do you have relatives who lived in Georgia? If so, you may be in luck. Georgia has a fantastic website containing digital copies of primary records. One such record collection is the Georgia Death Certificate.

Georgia Death Certificate 1919-1927

I found my wife’s ancestor Joseph Dallas Poole listed in this database. He died on 12-Feb-1920. As with any database you may need to be creative to find your ancestor. Joseph Dallas Poole was indexed as Dale Pool.

Free Genealogy Databases

Posted by on Sunday, 4 March, 2012

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.


No discussion of free genealogy databases would be complete without talking about 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 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 for free. There are always some databases and indexes which are available for free and 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 If this is the case, you’ll be able to use for free, you’ll just have to go to the library.


One more major company which has genealogy databases to use for free is 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.


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 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 – 14 days – 7 days
OneGreatFamily – 7 days
Fold3 – 7 days – 3 days

Family Search

No talk about free genealogy database can be complete without discussing . 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 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.