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What is the best site to study geneology? (m)

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Depends on what you need. Ancestry has the best census info I have found.


If you know the state and county where your ancestors lived, you will want to google the usgenweb sites for those counties. They have material that volunteers have posted, often including some good transcriptions of source documents. Google "usgenweb" along with the county and state name.


http://www.familysearch.org is the Mormon site and it has a free software genealogical tracking program callled Personal Ancestral File that you can download. It works very well and handles large amounts of data (I have over 6000 in mine right now) as well as area for notes on each person, customizable data fields, multimedia capability (add photos, etc), prints a variety of reports, etc. Great place to start.

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A great deal of the information in the Mormon records is very good and valid. That information is the information transcribed by volunteers from original sources. For example, volunteers visit cemeteries and catalog names, birthdates, and death dates from tombstones and written records. HOWEVER, the Mormon records also contain genealogical charts composed and submitted by amateur genealogists. Some of that information is unreliable. If you use that type of thing from them or from Ancestry, you need to verify the research by checking original records (i.e., Social Security, Census, birth records, death records, etc.). Don't just rely on someone else's work without checking to see that they did a good, thorough job.



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What else you can do on familysearch.org:


From the front page, click on Research Guides. They have really good research guides in HTML and PDF format about researching various places at various times in history. It tells you what was going on at that time, what resources are available, and where you can find them.


Also look at the Family History Catalog. Sometimes the Research Guides will have links to information from the catalog. You can order those items on microfilm to your local family history center at a LDS chapel near you. There is a small charge for this.


Also, there's something called the Indexing project. They are taking different records they have in the family history library, scanning them into the computer, and having indexers read what is written on the record and type what they see, so it can be searchable by name. They will make the results of these projects available to researchers for free, eventually putting Ancestry out of business. Some of these projects are already available for researchers to search. Anyone can be a volunteer indexer. It's fun. Go to familysearchindexing.org.

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Besides ancestry.com and familysearch.org I like rootsweb.com . They have great mailing lists and I have found when I hit a wall that surname or location sites usually give me the best people to contact.


Also at some point you need to see actual records or a copy of them. Most records are NOT online. Most genealogy societies at some point want you to prove with actual documents that you are connected to their group if they have specific focus. In this case your best bet is to visit a genealogical library or the Family History Center (which are in Mormon churches). Most of these libraries have their catalog online so you can see what is there before you go.


Good luck!

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