Best Online Genealogy Tools of 2015

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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These tools make it easier to find and organize genealogy information.
Nothing fancy at this site, which has been chronicling online genealogy since 1996—just 333,000-plus links and counting in 205 categories. If the website you’re after isn’t here, you probably don’t really need it.
Although it’s not genealogy-specific, in-the-know genealogists can’t imagine life without this cross-platform digital scrapbook and note-taking tool. Save those research notes, citations, census pages and old photos on your computer, tablet or phone, then access them on all your devices. (Check out our Evernote guide in the March/April 2015 Family Tree Magazine.)
Though others offer DNA testing, FamilyTreeDNA continues to offer Y-DNA and mtDNA tests in addition to autosomal, great tools to analyze your results, and more than 730,000 records awaiting your match. Paid testing services run $99 to $199; the FAQs and beginners guide here are free. 
This blazingly fast new site searches a library of 40,000 out-of-copyright works that have been digitized by Why not just search them there? Genealogy Gopher’s sophisticated software identifies the names, dates and places in the books and even expands abbreviations (“Wm” for William or “OH” for Ohio). Search results give you the source title plus a “snippet” view of the page with your source term highlighted; click to view the whole page and search inside the book. Genealogy Gophers will keep you digging for hours. 
Find your family history in a regular Google search or Google Books, overcome language barriers with Google Translate, map those ancestral places with Google Maps and Google Earth, then email your discoveries to your cousin with Gmail.
This slick metasearch site scours an ever-growing array of genealogy-specific resources you might never have thought to check. You also can explore sources geographically and register to use Live Roots’ research-management tools. 
This new search site spans more than one billion historical records, then puts your finds in historical context. You can register and log in to save your searches and finds, but it’s not necessary to get started.
Steve Morse has figured out how to drill down into genealogy databases—passenger records, census collections, vital records and more—and let you search them from a single, flexible yet simple interface.