Here are some sources you should be using in your genealogical research. Some are free and some are fee-based. I’ll continue to make updates to this page so you may want to bookmark for future reference and convenience.
My Most Recommended
This is the premier genealogy site on the Internet. With billions of records from all over the world, you can do much of the initial legwork of your genealogy on this site alone. It has every U.S. census, each with a searchable index, old newspaper records, military records, city directories, old yearbook records, old photographs users have uploaded, user uploaded family trees, and more. It is also an excellent place for getting in touch with other relatives you may not have met before who are working on the same line or lines as you. This is a membership site. Prices vary according to the level and length of membership you choose.
Who Do You Think You Are?
The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History
by Megan Smolenyak
Based on the popular TV show of the same name, this is the definitive book for getting started with genealogy for beginners.
Family Tree Maker
The most popular software for keeping track of your family tree, this program has been around for nearly 15 years.
This free site is run by the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons). It has millions of genealogical records from all over the world available for free, and is an excellent supplemental search site for anyone getting started in genealogy.
- Ancestry.com App (Apple and Android devices, free)
The most well-known subscription genealogy website online has an app to go with it. While you can use it for free, it works best when you attach it to a subscription to Ancestry.com. You can use the app to search through Ancestry.com‘s records while you are on the road or away from home, and even add information to your online family tree with it. With a subscription, you get unlimited downloads of records. If you don’t have a subscription, there is a small fee for each record you download to your device.
- Who Do You Think You Are? App (Apple and Android devices, free)
Who Do You Think You Are? is both a TV show and a magazine in the United States and the UK. Its associated app allows you to access a growing community of genealogy enthusiasts and exchange information about common family lines you may be researching. New genealogists can ask the friendly community for advice and experienced genealogists can answer, and maybe get interesting information in return. You may also connect with people who have family documents and photos they can share with you.
- MyHeritage App (Apple and Android devices, free)
You can create and edit an online family tree directly from this app. One thing that makes it stand out from other genealogy apps is that it allows you to incorporate photos into your tree through the app. You can also use the app to look up records to a limited degree, though MyHeritage does not have as many records available as other genealogy sites and apps. You also have to subscribe to the site to view the full records. You can still see the index to the record search results without a subscription. The app supports 32 languages, which is another advantage, because it allows you to connect to newly discovered overseas relatives through its international genealogical community.
- FindaGrave.com App (Apple devices, free)
This app lets you search the vast FindaGrave.com website from your mobile device. You can also use the app to upload photos of headstones you find during your own research, and write biographies of the people the stones commemorate if you know anything about them. Transcribing inscriptions from the stones is also possible through the app. You can post requests through the app for local researchers to get photos of your ancestors’ graves that you aren’t able to travel to see in person. If you have an Android device, the BillionGraves.com app does these same things.
Famed for its extensive collection of searchable old newspaper records, GenealogyBank also offers access to recent obituaries, old U.S. government records, and the Social Security death benefit index. This is a membership site with a modest annual fee.
Named after the proper way to fold a flag in the military, this site works in conjunction with the National Archives to digitize the nation’s military records from the Revolutionary War onward. There is also a large collection of searchable old newspaper records on this reasonably priced membership site.
A free site with user-uploaded information from states and counties across the country. You will find some things here that aren’t available anywhere else online. The amount of information each county page has depends on how active people have been in that area in uploading genealogically important information.
Over 100 million graves are listed, often with pictures of headstones, lists of relatives, and sometimes even obituaries on this free, searchable website.
- The Top Online Resources for Researching Your French Ancestors
- Resources for Tracing Your Canadian Ancestors Online
- Online Resources for Researching Your Scottish Ancestors
Another popular family tree program that has a very useful mapping feature to show you how your ancestors migrated over the years.
- Roots Magic
An alternative and more beginner-friendly version of Family Tree Maker, Roots Magic also allows you to record DNA results and apply them to your relationships on your family tree.
- Evidence!, by Elizabeth Shown Mills
This book explains how to properly cite the evidence you usually find in your genealogical research.
- Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills
This updated version of her previous book tells all about how to cite cyber sources and physical artifacts you find in your genealogy research.
- Genealogy Standards, by Board for Certification of Genealogists
This book tells you everything you need to know to become a certified genealogist.
- Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries, by Maureen A. Taylor
This book teaches you all about how to identify old photographs, use them to trace your ancestry, and solve long-standing genealogical mysteries through them.
- Forensic Genealogy, by Colleen Fitzpatrick
This book is for advanced genealogists, and shows them tips and tricks for discovering clues to their family history in the most unexpected of places, using techniques used by criminal forensic specialists. Your family tree will be opened up to a whole new world of discoveries after reading and using this book.
- The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT
The famed genealogical library of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, this is a must-see library for most genealogists.
- The Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington, D.C.
An extensive genealogical library concentrating on Revolutionary War patriots and their ancestors and descendants. Free to members. Non-members pay a nominal fee to use the library.
- National Archives Library in College Park, MD
If it’s in the National Archives, you will find information on it here. This is a great place to search for ancestors who were in the military, the government, or did business with the government.
- National Genealogical Society Library in Arlington, VA
The nation’s largest genealogical society has an extensive library of hard-to-find genealogy books and member-submitted family trees.
- New England Historic Genealogical Society Library in Boston, MA
If you have New England ancestors, you will not find a more extensive collection of records devoted to just them anywhere in the country.
- Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
With a copy of every book or piece of media ever produced in the United States during its entire history, you are sure to find something of genealogical value here. It is a must-see library for any genealogist.
Please note that some links are affiliate links and I do earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I do have experience with all the resources listed above and I highly recommend them in your genealogy research to achieving your goals.