Adoptees and Genealogy

There are times when you can work on genealogy for hours and never seem to get anywhere. As you know, it can be a lot of work trying to trace your family tree. If you are adopted, there are extra complications, especially if you do not have full information about your birth parents. If you are an adoptee or you have adoptees in your family, here are some genealogy resources that can help you trace your lineage.


Web:

http://www.cyndislist.com/adoption.htm
http://www.genforum.genealogy.com/adoption/


Canadian Genealogy Resources

Is your family from Canada? If so, you are in luck. You can find all you need to know about your Canadian roots without having to actually put on snowshoes and trek across icy plains to a remote library that is only open for three hours on St. Swithin's Day. Now that's what I call cool, eh?


Web:

http://www.cyndislist.com/canada.htm
http://www.islandnet.com/~jveinot/cghl/cghl.html

Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.canada


Genealogy Discussion by Ethnicity

There are lots of genealogy discussion groups available on Usenet, many of which are devoted to various cultural and ethnic heritages. These groups focus on the following cultures: Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg, Canada, France, Germany, Hispanic, Nordic, Slavic, United Kingdom and Ireland.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.african
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.australia+nz
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.benelux
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.french
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.german
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.hispanic
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.nordic
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.slavic
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.uk+ireland


Genealogy Events

Are you looking for some hot genealogy action? These sites will give you the details on upcoming events such as courses, seminars, meetings, tours, lectures, festivals and reunions. If you are planning a shindig of some sort, post it here so people can see what is going on in your genealogical neck of the woods.


Web:

http://www.cagenweb.com/events.htm
http://www.fgs.org/fgs-calendar.htm


Genealogy Mailing Lists

When you participate in a mailing list, you can meet lots of people, including other researchers who are working in the same lines as you. Scan these collections of mailing lists, and see what suits your needs. There is something for everyone here, including lists devoted to specific surnames.


Web:

http://lists.rootsweb.com/
http://www.cyndislist.com/mailing.htm


Genealogy Marketplace

If you have any genealogical items you want to buy or want to sell, this is the place to do it. Just about anything goes: books, services, maps, documents, and much more.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.marketplace


Genealogy Methods and Hints

It's always good to have help when you are working on a family history. These Web sites have lots of hints about what to do and what not to do, as well as suggestions as to good sources of information. The Usenet group is a place to ask questions or offer advice to other genealogical researchers.


Web:

http://community-2.webtv.net/mpetzolt2/helpfulhints/
http://www.a1webdesign.com/rebick/26tips.htm
http://www.amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/
http://www.rootsweb.com/~kycarter/tips.html

Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.methods


Genealogy Resources

Genealogy is a popular pastime on the Internet, and there are many people (and some companies) that have created related Web sites. But how do you find what you want? Start with these sites: well-organized collections with oodles of resources for the genealogically inclined.


Web:

http://www.cyndislist.com/
http://www.genealogy.org/
http://www.genealogytoday.com/genealogy/enoch/
http://www.gengateway.com/
http://www.genhomepage.com/
http://www.refdesk.com/factgene.html


Genealogy Scams

I got a special "genealogy" offer in the mail. Perhaps you have seen one yourself. Some company wants to sell you a complete history of your family from the beginning of time, or the full names of every single person in the world with your surname. The offers sound inviting, but you should always check them thoroughly before you turn loose any of your money. Some of these pitches are real scams and they are targeted specifically at inexperienced genealogists or anyone who is working on a family history. Read this overview and learn about the types of suspicious offers you should avoid.


Web:

http://www.alden.org/genealogy/scams.htm
http://www.ancestordetective.com/watchdog.htm
http://www.cyndislist.com/myths.htm
http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/comconsumer.htm


Genealogy Search Engine

When you want information fast (or as fast as it gets in genealogy), it's good to know where you can get what you need. Here are search engines that will let you search databases of online genealogical resources to find the ones that are in your area of interest.


Web:

http://www.gendoor.com/
http://www.gensource.com/ifoundit/


Genealogy Software

Once you get started with genealogy, you will find that using a computer makes things a lot easier. For example, the program I use is able to print nice charts of various parts of the family tree. I then send these charts to relatives and ask them for changes and additions, which has worked out nicely.


Web:

http://www.cyndislist.com/software.htm
http://www.lkessler.com/gplinks.shtml
http://www.rootsweb.com/roots-l/compgen.html


Genealogy Talk and General Discussion

The Internet is a global community -- a great place from which to track down family members from way-back-when. Usenet offers a convenient forum not only to discuss ways of researching, what kinds of software and resources are available, or to compare anecdotes of your quests, but you can also ask for information on family names. Plenty of sharing goes on here. Find that long-lost second-half-cousin-twice-removed who broke all your crayons when you were seven and remind him you want all 64 colors, plus the built-in sharpener.


Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.genealogy
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.britain
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.computing
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.ireland
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.italian
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.misc
Google Newsreader soc.roots


Genealogy Terms

There are lots of special terms used in genealogy. Many of these have origins in other languages. Some terms are really arcane medical words. You will also find technical words relating to genealogy techniques and record keeping. The next time you encounter a baffling word, here are some good places to find a definition. Pretty soon, expressions like paucis hebdomadibus and collateral ancestor will be old friends.


Web:

http://home.att.net/~dottsr/diction.html
http://www.genealogy-quest.com/glossaries/
http://www.genealogy.com/Glossary/glossary.html
http://www.uftree.com/UFT/Nav/glossary.html


GenWeb Projects

The GenWeb projects are dedicated to providing a comprehensive collection of Web-based free genealogical resources. The U.S. GenWeb started in Kentucky. It works to provide resources for every county and state in the country. The GenWeb idea has spread and now there is a WorldGenWeb, which supports efforts to create a genealogical Web site for every country in the world, maintained by researchers who live in the country or are familiar with its resources. When your research takes you to a specific part of the world (or United States), the GenWebs are often the best place to start.


Web:

http://www.usgenweb.com/
http://www.worldgenweb.org/


Getting Started in Genealogy

Getting started in genealogy can be bewildering. If you are having trouble telling your tiny tafel from your soundex, here are some good places to start. These are easy-to-read beginner's guides to genealogy that will offer the help and guidance you need to begin a family search.


Web:

http://www.familytreemaker.com/mainmenu.html
http://www.rootsweb.com/roots-l/starting.html


Heraldry

Heraldry is the tradition, dating from the Middle Ages, of displaying symbols or pictures (called charges) on shields. During tournaments, knights were recognized by the shields they carried. (Such tournaments were refereed by officials called heralds -- hence, the word "heraldry".) The charges on the shields identified individuals and families, and were passed to successive generations (the Middle Ages' version of a vanity license plate). As centuries passed, these charges were adapted into insignia for the nobility and were used not only on shields, but as seals for documents. Later the designs were embroidered into articles of clothing. In fact, the phrase "coat of arms" comes from the practice of embroidering family designs onto the surcoat that was worn over chain mail armor. (This served to make you easily recognizable by the person who was running you through with a sword.) Here are some interesting sites on the Net that explain heraldry, give a basic primer, and tell what some of the symbols mean. The Usenet group is for the discussion of heraldry. All these resources will help you better analyze your family's coat of arms. (Or, if your family does not have a coat of arms, you can concoct something suitable for your next reunion, and start a brand new family tradition.)


Web:

http://renaissance.dm.net/heraldry/primer.html
http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/
http://www.digiserve.com/heraldry/
http://www.heraldica.org/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader rec.heraldry


Jewish Genealogy

I grew up in a Jewish family and I found these resources particularly interesting, because I was able to find a huge number of ancestors that I could feel guilty about not inviting to my Bar Mitzvah.


Web:

http://www.genhomepage.com/jewish.html
http://www.jewishgen.org/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.jewish


Journal of Online Genealogy

The Journal of Online Genealogy is a genealogy magazine with monthly articles. You'll find information for beginners, as well as discussions of advanced projects for more experienced genealogists. You will also find help in learning how to use the Internet for your research, as well as news of interest to the genealogical community.


Web:

http://www.onlinegenealogy.com/


Mayflower Genealogy

The Mayflower was a ship that brought pilgrims from England to New England in 1620. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth on December 26, 1620. Before leaving the ship, the colonists drew up an agreement -- called the Mayflower Compact -- establishing a temporary government based on their own intentions, rather than the laws of the English crown. These Web sites have information about the Mayflower and the people who descended from the original passengers. You can investigate wills, inventories, passenger lists, early writings related to the Mayflower, and explore links to other Mayflower resources. Somebody had to be descended from those adventurous pilgrims. It might as well have been you.


Web:

http://members.aol.com/calebj/mayflower.html
http://www.mayflowersociety.com/resourc.htm
http://www.ocmayflower.org/


Medieval Genealogy

Medieval genealogy covers the period spanning 500 to 1600 A.D. My cat, The Little Nipper, decided to do a bit of searching, and he found out that he is a direct descendent of Ronronnement, Son of Tueur D'oiseau, Seigneur de Thon, Comte De Chat. Imagine what you can find.


Web:

http://users.erols.com/wrei/faqs/medieval.html
http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.medieval


Mormon Genealogical Resources

You may already know that the Mormon Church has the largest genealogical archive in the world. However, have you ever wondered why the Mormons have such a strong interest in tracing their roots? Let's start at the beginning. According to Mormon doctrine, there exists a "premortal realm" in which spirits reside -- spirits who are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother (God and his wife). It is possible for a spirit to obtain a physical body and start a life on Earth. This affords the spirit the chance to acquire earthly experience and to progress toward perfection. (In other words, this is why we were born.) Life on Earth is temporary. After we die, our spirit goes to the "Spirit World" where we continue to learn as we await the Resurrection of Jesus and the Final Judgment. Since life does not end with death, it is possible for our earthly family to survive after death. This will only happen if, while we are alive, the members of our family go to a special temple and make certain promises called covenants. However, what about all our ancestors who did not have the benefit of the church's teachings? (The church only started in 1830.) How can they perform their covenants? Well, obviously, they can't, so we have to do it for them. Each Mormon family is encouraged to spend time in a temple, performing covenant ceremonies on behalf of their ancestors. Now you can see why Mormons care so much about genealogy: it allows them to identify their ancestors, and to do the "temple work" that will enable their entire family to be united throughout all eternity.


Web:

http://www.familysearch.org/


Native American Genealogy

Not long ago, a Native American friend of mine spent a lot of time researching his family tree. After he finished, he gave a wonderful presentation in front of all his friends and relatives with charts, diagrams, old photos and fascinating stories. When it was over, he turned to his wife and said, "So, did you learn anything?" She looked at him, smiled, and said, "You speak the truth, my faithful Indian companion."


Web:

http://members.aol.com/bbbenge/newlinks.html
http://www.hanksville.org/NAresources/indices/NAgenealogy.html


Notable Women Ancestors

Women are the invisible ancestors. As you research your genealogy, you will often find that many of the names you encounter will be those of men, simply because they were the ones who were documented. This Web site offers stories about women who stood out from the crowd, in spite of the fact that most women were forgotten over the years. Some of these women were famous, but many of them were everyday women whose personalities and actions were striking enough to cause them to be noticed and remembered. Aside from genealogy, this resource is also a great place to visit if you are doing research into women's history.


Web:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~nwa/


Roots

The mailing list roots-l has been a popular genealogy mailing list for many years. It has been spun into a major collection of resources and networking options for genealogists around the world. The Web site has a searchable archive of posts that have been sent to the mailing list. For example, this is a good place to find out if anyone has been making queries regarding a particular surname. The site has a sharing library where individuals who have time to share list books from which they are willing to do lookups for other people. Roots offers a registry of people who are researching particular surnames, so you may be able to find other people who might be related to you. Detailed information about the roots-l mailing list is also available at this Web site.


Web:

http://www.rootsweb.com/


Royalty and Nobility

Once, when I was in a Mormon Family History Center, I saw ex-Duchess Fergie at a microfilm reader, working on her family tree. (Actually, she was having trouble with her microfilm reader, and I had to help her load the film.) Before I went back to do my own research, I told her that it would be easier to do her research on the Net. I explained that there are lots of places with information about royal and noble lineages, and she wouldn't even have to remember how to turn the microfilm spool. I gave her a list of these resources to get her started. And, I told her, if you want to see what they are saying about you behind your back, try the Usenet group.


Web:

http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/~saw/royal/royalgen.html
http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/public/genealogy/gedcom.html

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.talk.royalty


Scottish Clans

Most people don't realize it, but there is a lot more to Scottish culture than the Loch Ness monster and Scotch whiskey. For example, they have bagpipes, Highland games, men who wear skirts, and a lot of cool clans (sort of like gangs in Los Angeles, only Scottish accents are easier to understand).


Web:

http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/
http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/home/scotland/genealogy.html
http://www.scotlandsclans.com/
http://www.tartans.com/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.scottish.clans


Surname Databases and Discussion

As a genealogical researcher, you know how easy it is to spend hours and hours and still come up with nothing substantial. However, here's a great way to come up with information quickly that is fun, interesting and just may help you out. Search for your name in one of the surname databases, and I bet you will find something of interest. For example, I found it interesting to see how many people in the database had the same last name as me.


Web:

http://rsl.rootsweb.com/
http://www.cyndislist.com/database.htm
http://www.gengateway.com/spring.htm

Usenet:

Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.britain
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.german
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.global
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.ireland
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.misc
Google Newsreader soc.genealogy.surnames.usa


Surname Origins

Have you ever wondered what your surname means? My cat wanted to find out about himself. His name is The Little Nipper, so he looked up "Nipper" on these Web sites. The closest he could get was that, in German, the name Nipps means "a dweller near water". Well, in a way, that makes sense, because I have a view of the ocean from my office, and The Little Nipper often sits on my desk, looking out the window while I am working.


Web:

http://www.familychronicle.com/surname.htm
http://www.vitalog.net/


Tombstone Rubbings

In the course of your genealogical field trips, you may one day find yourself in a cemetery, recording data from tombstones. One great way to capture the essence of the tombstone is to do a rubbing. Here are detailed instructions about how to do tombstone rubbings as well as hints on the type of information you can expect to find.


Web:

http://www.alsirat.com/taphophile/rubbings.html
http://www.amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/t_stone.html
http://www.genealogytoolbox.com/gravestonerubbingandtranscription.html
http://www.gravehunter.com/tombstone_rubbings.htm


U.S. Census Information

Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution mandates an "enumeration" of all the people in all the states of the Union. (What a job that has turned out to be.) In the United States, the primary purpose of a census is to count the population in order to distribute seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to define the legislative district boundaries within each state. However, census findings have many other purposes, most of which relate to allocating federal funds and developing social services. The first American census was taken in 1790; since then, a census has been taken every 10 years. Census records can give you basic information about families, some details about household members, and help you track family locations. These Web sites have information about how to use census records for genealogical research, as well as background information on the census itself. Since 2000 was a census year, there is a lot of information available.


Web:

http://www.amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/uscensus.html
http://www.census.gov/ftp/pub/genealogy/www/
http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/census/


U.S. Civil War Genealogy

Just imagine. You are sitting on the front porch, drinking a refreshing mint julep, when all of a sudden a group of Union soldiers come tearing through the yard on their way to burn down your house. No doubt about it, the years of the U.S. Civil War were a confusing, difficult time in American history. Fortunately for genealogists, there was a lot of effort put into keeping track of all the men who went off to war, and it is possible to search the old military records for information about these men. In addition, since this was a time of upheaval, many people were away from home, corresponding by letters. There are also a fair number of personal diaries. One problem, however, is that some courthouses were burned, and some records were lost permanently. That aside, there are a lot of great resources relating to Civil War genealogy. These resources will show you where to begin and what to do once you get started.


Web:

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/warweb.html
http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/civilwar.html


U.S. National Archives Genealogy Resources

See what the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has to offer in the way of instructional leaflets and helpful searching tips for genealogical research. They also give you a glance at microfiche records for census and federal court information such as bankruptcy records, naturalization records, land grant claims, and immigrant and passenger arrivals.


Web:

http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/


Vital Records in the U.S.

Vital records are official documents that record important life events such as births, marriages, deaths, divorces, and passages from one country to another. There is a great deal of important information you can glean from these documents, so be sure you know where to get them. These sites have a list of places to which you can write for vital records within the United States.


Web:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm
http://www.genealogyspot.com/records/vitalrecords.htm
http://www.vitalrec.com/