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Best Western US Genealogy Websites in 2013

By David A. Fryxell Premium


Genealogy at your fingertips doesn’t get much easier than this search for birth certificates (1855-1937) and death certificates (1844-1962). Click on a search result to view a PDF of the original record.

BYU Idaho
The star of this site is the Western States Historical Marriage Records Index, which has grown to more than 911,000 records. The most completely covered states are Arizona, Nevada and Idaho (which also gets two death-record databases), but it’s also worth a look for couples from California, western Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Utah, eastern Washington and Wyoming. New Mexico marriages from the 1700s are being added.

Colorado Historical Records Index
The nearly 2.5 million entries here, searchable by name, record type or time span, now include birth, court, land, probate and naturalization records added since July 2012. They further beef up a collection that already included a statewide divorce index (1880-1939), a Denver Death Index (1870-1905) and plenty of pre-1909 birth records.

Hawaii State Archives
Explore the Aloha State’s past using these digital collections and site-wide name search (of all collections indexed by name). Databases include WWI service records, tax assessments, vital records indexes and passenger manifests.

Nevada Census Database
No need to pay to do census research if your kin lived in the Silver State: All 310,000 of the Nevada federal census records (1860, 1870 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920) posted online here are searchable free.

Oregon State Archives
Find pioneer ancestors in the Early Oregonians Database of residents prior to statehood through 1860. Later Oregonians await in the Oregon Historical Records Index, searchable by surname, and the records indexed in the Historical County Records Guide.

Utah Digital Newspapers
Boasting more than 1 million pages—the first such state newspaper site to pass that milestone—this easy-to-search collection features 70-plus periodicals ranging from the 1850s to 2005.

Utah State Archives
Birth certificates (1905-1911) and cattle-brand books are new additions to the online collection here, notable for its database of more than 250,000 death certificates (1904-1960), linked to images of the originals. Court, city and county records as well as research guides will also help you zero in on Utah ancestors.

Washington State Digital Archives
Now topping 135 million records, this site offers powerful search capabilities to go with its records riches. Those include cemetery indexes, censuses, vital records, naturalizations, land records and a collection of digitized historic newspapers.