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101 Best Websites of 2010

By David A. Fryxell Premium

In a bumpy economy, is there any more welcome word than free? When we took a break from checking our credit-card balances and 401(k) accounts to consider this year’s 101 Best Websites, the theme was as obvious as the lint in our wallets: the best free genealogy sites. Fortunately, when it comes to online genealogy, the old sayings “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” and “You get what you pay for” go right out the window. You can learn plenty about your family history without ever entering a credit-card number.
Defining “free” isn’t as simple as it sounds, however. Obviously, expensive subscription sites are out, but what about sites that offer a premium service for a fee? Or sites that offer free data but require payment for a paper copy of a record? After some debate among the editors, we decided that a site qualifies as “free” if the primary function or content is free, so that you can go there and do what you intend to do without having to pull out your wallet. We also wanted to honor some lesser-known sites whose hardworking webmasters contribute to the greater genealogical good. Their sites may be free, but we can repay them with a virtual round of applause.
So welcome to the 2010 edition of Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites. For a change, there’s no need for our usual explanation that a $ symbol means a site requires payment. We’ll give that button on our keyboards a rest this year, as we demonstrate that sometimes the best things in life really are free.
Click on any of the following categories to explore this year’s 101 Best Websites:

Or, you can download this printable PDF of all of this year’s best websites. (Right-click the link to Save As to your computer.)

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From the September 2010 Family Tree Magazine