The temperature at the house of this RecordClick genealogist reached 90 degrees yesterday and I’ve spent more time than I’d like washing dead insects off my windshield. It’s Summer and I’m not up to walking around cemeteries.
My more worthwhile activities: reading a good book – Only a Few Bones by another genealogy services professional, John Phillip Colletta – or revisiting old favorite (genealogy research) web sites.
Three of my favorite genealogy websites don’t have a great deal of original information on them. They have no scanned documents or family trees. What they do have is something just as valuable – links and “how to” info. These genealogy services sites have all changed since I first found them. This means that they are cared for and that should also be of value to many people who either are professional genealogy researchers or those seeking genealogy services and information.
The sites are:
- Cyndi’s List
- Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records
- Historical Newspapers Online
Here is my professional genealogy researcher review of each site:
Cyndi’s List has been around for approximately 20 years. It was one of my first “go to” places for genealogy research. In the beginning, the web was really a web for me. I’d begin a family history project by looking for one thing and then the second bit of information would catch my eye and I’d be off in another direction. Before I knew it, I was lost and didn’t know how to get back to the beginning.
Cyndi’s List has helped keep me organized and find my way home. Cyndi Howells’ list began small as a service to her local genealogy group. It grew and grew and grew as more people interested in genealogy and family history research discovered its’ value. Currently, the site has over 300,000 links in 210 categories from “Acadian” to “Writing Your Family’s History”. From time to time, Cyndi Howels has enlisted help, but the website is a labor of love for this dedicated genealogy research provider as she continues to pass forward her vast knowledge about family history research and more.
Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records
Similar to a detective in a murder mystery, a determined genealogist has the goal of finding the body. Most of us who provide genealogy research services may think of FindAGrave first, and it is a great resource when person and place are known. I, however, find “Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records” more comprehensive. This understated web site needs a second and third look to be truly appreciated by the genealogy researcher. The genealogy services expert shouldn’t expect to find a list of names. And there are no flashy ads or graphics. Instead, site creator Joe Beine shows the researcher what each U.S. state has in the way of death records and how one may access this important genealogy research information. The site is over 10 years old and what started out as just a list of states has expanded to include the major American cities of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and St. Louis. For those providing genealogy research services, please note that not all cities and states began requiring death information/certificates at the same time. Another note for those who are providing genealogy services and doing genealogy research: Some cities saw a need for death certificates before the state in which they are located did.
Historical Newspapers Online
Without newspapers, anyone doing genealogy research or providing genealogy services, would be lost. When this professional genealogist discovered Historical Newspapers Online, I did a happy dance. I get frustrated with how a number of pay sites list their newspaper offerings–with teasers and large gaps. The staff of Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania began The Historical Newspapers Online web a number of years ago. I liked it because it had good information and was easy to navigate. As is the way with so many things, what began small grew into something larger than the original founders ever imagined. The sight is now operated by Viewshare, a service provided by the Library of Congress. Over 3,000 newspapers are listed – including Chronicling America. Information provided on this website includes the state, city/county, date range and a description of the newspaper. Listings include college, foreign language and Google Newspaper Archive listings.
For the frugal genealogist, all three web sites are free.
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