Tool Shopping
12/16/2011
Use this chart to help you complete your genealogical toolbox.
Once you’ve selected and set up your genealogy toolbox (see the toolbox chart at http://familytreemagazine.com/article/feb-2012-toolbox-chart), it’s time to fill it with research tools. Add the websites you already use, and take time to look for new favorites focused on the places, eras, surnames, repositories, record groups, ethnic backgrounds and religions associated with the people you’re researching.
 
 Tool  Description
 Examples
 General research sites  Many records sites also offer educational content and community services such as messages boards and forums.
 Books, libraries and archives  Before visiting a library, use these tools to see if a book you need is available online. Then you can focus your time on items available only on site.
 Calculators
 Convert calendar dates, translate words and locate historical county borders in an instant.

Community sites and social media  Facebook and Twitter may be all the rage, but “old-fashioned” tools such as message boards and mailing lists are still handy for asking research questions and keeping up with news.


Directories
People-finders, city and business directories, and directories of civic and fraternal organizations help you find relatives.

Education
Find information about how to research the places, eras and topics you’re interested in.

Family trees
Post your data and find family history data posted by others. Verify information and sources before adding others’ data to your tree.
Geni
MyHeritage
WeRelate
WikiTree
Genealogy societies
Many genealogy societies provide locality-specific research how-tos and free or members-only databases.
 
Run a web search for a place and genealogy society or use Cyndi’s List.
Maps
Maps and atlases help you pinpoint family hometowns and formulate research theories.

Newspapers
Besides subscription sites, look for tools providing access to free historical newspapers.

Search engines
Look for both “big name” search engines and specialty engines related to genealogy, geographic areas or ethnicities.

Vital records
Online resources can help you learn what records are available and how to order them.

Other research toolboxes
Other online research toolboxes might have tools you can use.


From the February 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine

More great genealogy resources from Family Tree Magazine:
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