Best US Genealogy Websites

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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Get in touch with your American roots with these leading websites for US genealogy research.
Second only to the Family History Library, this Fort Wayne, Ind., resource has a formidable online presence, too, with databases including military records, family histories and Bible data, plus gateways for African-American and Native American research. Use the Genealogy Center Surname File to identify others researching your same surname.
Though focused on records of New England ancestors, this subscription site ($79.95 a year) from the New England Historical Genealogical Society is also strong on New York and Pennsylvania. You can tap some 3,000 databases as well as back issues of publications such as New England Ancestors, The American Genealogist and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine.
Don’t want to commit to one of our “heavyweight” subscription sites? Search more than 677 million US census records (1790-1940), then pay only for the results you want to view, starting at $7.95 for 1,000 credits. There’s also a subscription plan, priced at $34.95 for six months. 
Contact your local or state library’s reference desk to ask whether it subscribes to this institution-only site. If it does, you’ll find images of US censuses to 1940 (not all are fully indexed, however), the PERSI database, 28,000 family and local history books, Freedman’s Bank records, the US Serial Set and Revolutionary War pension and bounty applications.
Speaking of libraries, the nation’s book collection has a pretty impressive site of its own, home to its online catalog, the American Memory collection, the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and the ever-growing Chronicling America newspaper collection. About 7.6 million newspaper pages were accessible there for free.
The Online Public Access system provides one-click searching of everything in the “nation’s attic,” from the online catalog, to old photos and maps, to WWII enlistment files and the Rough Riders’ service records. Use eServices to order reproductions of census pages, court records, immigration and naturalization records and land files.
Approaching two decades (as of 2016) of service to genealogists, this free volunteer site continues to serve as an essential jumping-off point for individual state and county pages. Special projects also found here include maps, tombstones, transcriptions, military pensions, censuses and more.

Back to the 101 Best Websites of 2014 main page.

From the September 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine