Best US Genealogy Websites in 2016

By David A. Fryxell Premium


 1. ☆ Access Genealogy

A visual makeover renders this collection of databases and links more inviting than ever. Researchers with American Indian roots will want to bookmark this site for sure, but it’s also worth a visit for its state pages, African-American records and links, military records and more.

A new project to digitize 28,000 pages of Congregational church records will add to the offerings at this already-overflowing site from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. An $89.95 annual membership gets you full access, although a few of the databases are searchable for free.

3. American Battle Monuments Commission

Find your military kin among more than 218,000 American military buried or memorialized overseas.

4. BYU Idaho Family History

A new indexing system makes it even easier to find your ancestors’ names in the Western States Marriage Index, with more than 912,000 records from a dozen states.

5. Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System

Find your Civil War ancestor in this database of 6.3 million (mostly) soldiers, Union and Confederate, from 44 states and territories. Then check out the extra details on the war’s politicians, religious figures, spies and more.

6. ☆ CSI: Dixie

Were your ancestors involved in the “Hamburg Massacre” or the “Boykin Mill Pond Incident”? Find out at this elegant site with keyword-searchable coroner reports from the American South (1800-1900). Although the volume is relatively small to date, it’s out of this world in its design, ease of use and clever organization.

7. Daughters of the American Revolution

In addition to an online library catalog, this site features three ways to tackle its DAR Genealogical Research System: the Ancestor database, member search and Descendants database.

8. Fold3 $

The 473 million records here are mostly focused on military history, all searchable and with images, and available for a $79.95 annual fee. A few databases (such as one with Navy and Marine Corps officers from 1775 to 1900) are accessible for free. Though US records star, an expanding collection also salutes the service of those from British Commonwealth nations.

9. HeritageQuest Online

This institutional website, now powered by, features US censuses, Revolutionary War records, family and local histories, the Periodical Source Index (aka PERSI) to genealogy articles, Freedman’s Bank records and the US Serial Set. See if your library subscribes—or beg your librarian to do so.

10. National Archives and Records Administration

Plenty of online treasures, from historical photos and maps to WWII enlistment files, make this site from the nation’s archives worth a stop. But don’t forget that you can also use it to order records that aren’t digitized: veterans’ records, census pages, court files, land records, and immigration and naturalization papers.

11. Nationwide Gravesite Locator

This stateside counterpart to the American Battle Monuments Commission, updated daily, searches US burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and more.

12. USGenWeb

Time flies when you’re having fun helping fellow genealogists! This state-by-state and county-by-county volunteer site celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Find out the other 101 best genealogy websites for 2016: