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This section is divided into the following subsections.

  • FamilySearch.org describes the most important freely accessible web site
  • MyFamily.com describes the most important genealogy corporation and its web sites
  • Web sites organized by country; USA, Canada, British, Ireland and Norway
  • Research techniques and newspapers

Comprehensive Free Databases

Before we get into a lot of details, here is a short list of the most important online resources on the Internet. The following are the most comprehensive free online databases for British-American genealogy.

THE most important genealogy site is

Almost 80 million individuals in the 1880-1 Censuses of United States, British Isles, and Canada are at ◊◊◊www.FamilySearch.org

More than 32 million individuals in the 1901 Census for England and Wales index are  at ◊◊◊www.1901censusonline.com  previously at www.census.pro.gov.uk
 About 70 million records in the British Vital Statistics from 1837-1983 are at freebmd.rootsweb.com

Over 5 million records from the 1901 Census of Canada are available as images at ◊◊◊www.collectionscanada.gc.ca 
 British Columbia Vital Events are at ◊◊◊www.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca 

Over 70 million names are in the USA Social Security Death Index at www.ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com provides a free name search service to the 1920 & 1930 USA censuses, but a subscription is required to get any details. Prior to October 2003, the over 100 million 1930 census records was included as one of the best free sites because details such as age were included, but now access to the details requires subscription. 

Size Comprehensive Free Online Databases Address
700 International Genealogical Index www.FamilySearch.org
36 Pedigree Resource File www.FamilySearch.org
35 Ancestral File www.FamilySearch.org
80 1880-1 Censuses of USA, British Isles, & Canada www.FamilySearch.org
32 1901 Census for England and Wales www.1901censusonline.com
250 Ancestry World Tree www.ancestry.com
300 WorldConnect Family Trees wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com 
75 British Vital Statistics from 1837-1983 freebmd.rootsweb.ancestry.com
72 USA Social Security Death Index ssdi.rootsweb.com
5 1901 Census of Canada www.collectionscanada.gc.ca

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Description of Records and Record Indexes

Knowing what information is available in records is important in genealogical research. For years, I wondered when my ancestors can to Canada and did not know how I could determine this. Eventually, I learned that the 1901 census recorded when they immigrated to Canada. It was then a matter of finding census records of my immigrant relatives to determine the immigration date. The blank census form identifies what is recorded. U.S. census forms are at www.genealogy.com/00000061.html. By looking at the forms, you will see what information was collected in each census.

Images vs Transcribed Information

In the case of the 1901 British Census, the data is both transcribed and the original documents are images. The image of the document is a picture of it.  Unfortunately, computer servers typically cannot interpret images of handwriting and therefore do not provide a search capability for information with only the image. To provide search capabilities the original document images are normally transcribed manually by people. i.e. the handwriting is read and then typed into the computer.  Once transcribed, the computer servers can search on name, location, or whatever other information is transcribed.

Searchable Transcription NonSearchable Image
Young Alf A.
Young Mary J.
Young Jas W.
Young Ethel S.
Young Mary L.
Young Herbt. W.
Diehl Arthur
Young Mathew

Passenger Lists

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild has many ship's passenger lists at www.immigrantships.net. The ISTG a group of volunteers dedicated to making ships' passenger lists available online, at no cost to the researcher.

TheShipsList.com has Fleet Descriptions, Passenger Lists, & other Resources at http://theshipslist.com

Great Lakes Passenger Lists are at www.mifamilyhistory.org/glpassengers/trans.asp


Books We Own is a list of resources owned/accessed by individuals who are willing to look up genealogical information and e-mail or snail mail it to others who request it. This is a free service at www.rootsweb.com/~bwo

The Genealogy Helplist at www.helplist.org, is a list of volunteers who are willing to do lookings at nearby institutions

The JewishGen Family Finder (www.jewishgen.org/jgff) is a database of ancestral towns and surnames currently being researched by Jewish genealogists worldwide


An online genealogy photo archive is at www.deadfred.com.

Amazing Individual Contribution

Tree GenealogyThe Olive Tree Genealogy is created by Ontario teacher, Lorine McGinnis Schulze, www.olivetreegenealogy.com has a number of online databases specializing in ships lists and immigration records. This site has many links to paid sites and it is not always clear which are free and what are links to pay sites.

Part of Olive Tree Genealogy is www.naturalizationrecords.com. Naturalization is the process by which an alien from one country becomes a citizen of another country. This site describes declarations of intent, first papers, alien registrations, passport applications, petitions of naturalization and certificates of citizenship.

Joe Beine's site is at home.att.net/~wee-monster


GEDCOM is an abbreviation for GEnealogy Data COMmunications. GEDCOM is a formatting standard for organizing family tree information for computer programs. It is a special text file format developed for genealogy by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most genealogy software supports the reading and writing of GEDCOM formatted files which are often referred to as GED files. The convention with Windows is that a 3 letter file type defines the file format, eg. TXT for text files, HTM for HTML web pages, and GED for GEDCOM files.

You can contribute a copy of your GEDCOM file and view it freely online at

Click HereGenCircles.com is built by a self described 24 year old genealogist/computer nerd. It is an impressive for a web site developed by one individual. This site is supported by advertising the Family Tree Legends genealogy software. The Global Tree is a database of contributed GEDCOM files. It also host a number of message boards dedicated to geographic locations.

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