Major Databases for Beginning United States Research

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''[[United States|[[Image:Hand and keyboard.jpg|thumb|right]]United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]] [[Major_Databases_for_Beginning_United_States_Research|Major Databases for Beginning United States Research]]''
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Value of databases, strategies for using them, and a list of significant U.S. genealogical databases on the Internet with brief descriptions of each.  
 
Value of databases, strategies for using them, and a list of significant U.S. genealogical databases on the Internet with brief descriptions of each.  
  
'''Definition.'''A database is a collection of information organized for rapid search and retrieval. This implies the use computer technology, but in a way, even a paper family group record collection could be called a database. Databases can be online, off line, or a combination of both. Some databases are associated with user fees; most are free. Sometimes separate databases partially overlap and contain near duplicate information from the same sources. Most indexes used by genealogists are databases. Search engines like ''Google'', and lists like ''Cyndi’s List'' are not considered databases for this discussion. Various types of American genealogical databases in various media include for example:  
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'''Definition.''' A database is a collection of information organized for rapid search and retrieval. Databases can be online, off line, or a combination of both. Some databases have user fees; some are free. Sometimes different databases overlap or contain information from the same sources. Search engines, such as ''Google'', and lists, such as ''Cyndi’s List'' are not considered databases for this discussion. Various types of American genealogical databases in various media include, for example:  
  
• ''Family Group Record Collection—Archive Section'' (microfilm)  
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• ''[[Family Group Records Collection]]—Archive Section'' (microfilm)  
  
• ''American Genealogical Biographical Index'' (books and online)  
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[[American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI)|''American Genealogical Biographical Index'']] (books and online)  
  
• ''Pedigree Resource File'' (compact disc and DVD)  
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[[Pedigree Resource File|''Pedigree Resource File'']] (compact disc and DVD)  
  
• ''FamilySearch.org'' (online)  
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[[Overview of FamilySearch|''FamilySearch.org'']] (online)  
  
• ''Periodical Source Index (PERSI)'' (book, microfiche, and online)  
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• ''[[Periodical Source Index (PERSI)|Periodical Source Index]] (PERSI)'' (book, microfiche, and online)  
  
• ''Freedman’s Bank Records'' (compact disc, and online)  
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[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8755 • ''Freedman’s Bank Records'' ](compact disc, and online)  
  
• ''Vital Records Index—North America'' (compact disc)  
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[http://www.amazon.com/Vital-Records-Index-North-America/dp/B000ES0HTW ''Vital Records Index—North America''] (compact disc)  
  
''New England Historical Genealogical Society Register'' (periodical, and online)
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'''Value of Databases.'''Genealogists use databases to quickly find compiled genealogies and original and derivative records. The primary advantage of using databases early in the research process is their ease of use. As a result of the rapid growth of the Internet and genealogical databases, it is likely that many of our American ancestors in the 1800s and earlier will be found in at least one database.
  
'''Value of Databases.'''Genealogists use databases to quickly find compiled genealogies and original records. The primary advantage of using databases early in the research process is their ease of use. As a result of the rapid growth of the Internet and genealogical databases, it is likely that the majority of our American ancestors in the 1800s and earlier will be found in at least one database.  
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Usually genealogists build a wider search for further non-database original sources on the foundation of information found in databases of derivative sources, and from databases showing images of original sources.  
  
Usually genealogists build a wider search for further non-database original sources on the foundation of information found in compiled-genealogy databases, plus the easy pickings from databases showing images of original sources.  
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'''User Beware.''' Genealogical databases must be used with caution, especially those consisting of derivative sources. Such databases are often poorly documented and contain many errors. Nevertheless, such databases are one of the first places to search for ancestors, provided the user understands the risk that derivative sources contain numerous inaccuracies. Always verify information downloaded from a database by locating the original source from which the data came.  
  
'''User Beware.''' Genealogical databases must be used with caution, especially those consisting of compiled genealogies. Compiled genealogy databases are often poorly documented. Also, almost all compiled-genealogy databases contain many data errors. Nevertheless, such databases are one of the first places to search for ancestors, provided the user understands the risk that compiled information probably contains numerous annoying inaccuracies. Always verify information downloaded from a database before you add it to your “good” genealogical files. Wise genealogists will always strive to see the original sources with their own eyes.
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'''Jurisdictions.'''Many of the larger databases, such as FamilySearch and Ancestry, combine material from many different sources, jurisdictions, and time periods. Worldwide, national, state or provincial, county, town, and individual family databases exist.  
 
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'''Jurisdictions.'''Many of the larger databases such as FamilySearch and Ancestry combine material from many different sources, jurisdictions, and time periods. Worldwide, national, state or provincial, county, town, and individual family databases exist. Since there are more records from the 1500s to the present, most databases cover all or part of this era. But a few reach back into Biblical times and genealogies.'''<br>'''
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== '''How to Use Databases'''  ==
 
== '''How to Use Databases'''  ==
  
'''''Search databases early.'''''Search worldwide, multiple-source databases like FamilySearch and Ancestry.com when you begin research on a family. Also search databases for the states and counties where the family lived.  
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'''''Search databases early.'''''Search worldwide, multiple-source databases such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com when you begin research on a family. Also search databases for the states and counties where the family lived.  
  
'''''At first enter with only a little search information''.''' When searching computerized databases, enter only a little search information to start. If this results in too many matches, add another piece of search information and repeat the search. Slowly add more information one-piece-at-a-time until the number of matches is reasonable. <br>
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'''''At first enter with only a little search information''.''' When searching computerized databases, enter only a little search information to start. If this results in too many matches, add another piece of information and repeat the search. Slowly add more information one piece at a time until the number of matches is reasonable.  
  
'''''When the first search doesn’t find data . . .'''''If the original search results in no matches, remove most of the details in the search request. Alternatively, try variant name spellings in the search request. Wild card name searches may also be supported in some computerized databases. <br>
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'''''When the first search doesn’t locate data . . .'''''If the original search results in no matches, remove most of the details in the search request. Alternatively, try variant name spellings in the search request. Wild card name searches may also be supported in some computerized databases.  
  
 
== Databases Online  ==
 
== Databases Online  ==
  
Here is a list of some of the best free databases on the Internet (or partly free at Family History Centers, or Family History Library)—good sites to begin research on a family that lived in the United States.  
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Here is a list of some free databases on the Internet (or partly free at Family History Centers, or Family History Library). They are good sites to begin research on a family that lived in the United States.  
  
''[http://www.familysearch.org/ FamilySearch.org]'' Largest free online collection of genealogical databases including Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index, 1880 U.S. federal census index, Pedigree Resource File, U.S. Social Security Death Index, and the Vital Records Index—North America.  
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''[https://www.familysearch.org/ FamilySearch.org]'' Largest free online collection of genealogical resources including Historical Records Collections, FamilySearch Research Wiki, FamilySearch Forums, Five Minute Genealogy videos, on-line classes, and more.<br>
  
[http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=0 ''FamilySearch Record Search Pilot''] Free index to 55+ U.S. - Canada sources, including '''''selected''''' federal and state censuses, birth, marriage, and death records, funeral home records, Freedman's Bank and Freedman's Bureau records, military pensions, probate records, passenger lists, WWI draft registrations, and land records, plus many other International records.  
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[https://www.familysearch.org/ ''FamilySearch Historical Records Collections''] Free index and/or digital images to more than 500 U.S. - Canada sources, including selected federal and state censuses, birth, marriage, and death records, funeral home records, Freedman's Bank and Freedman's Bureau records, military pensions, probate records, passenger lists, WWI draft registrations, and land records, plus many other international records.  
  
''[http://www.ancestryinstitution.com/search Ancestry.com]'' Partly free at Family History Centers, (a personal paid subscription has even more databases) it includes indexes for all U.S. censuses 1790-1920, passenger arrival list indexes 1820-1957, and World War I draft registration card indexes 1917-1918.''<br>''
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''[http://www.ancestryinstitution.com/search Ancestry.com]'' Library Edition. Free access at [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|Family History Centers]].  
  
''[http://www.freesurnamesearch.com/ FreeSurnameSearch.com]'' WorldVitalRecords.com, RootsWeb Surname List, Find a Grave, MyTrees.com, Ellis Island, Newspapers, Everton Pedigrees and Family Group, and many others.<br>
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''[http://www.castlegarden.org/ Castle Garden]'' Free index to New York City passenger arrivals from 1820 to 1892, containing roughly 12 million immigrants.  
  
''[http://www.lib.byu.edu/fhc/ BYU Family History Archives]'' Digital family histories from the Family History Library, Allen County Public Library, and Brigham Young University. Rapidly adding more titles.  
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''[http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/ Civil War Soldiers and Sailors]'' 1861-1865 index of Union and Confederate veterans, giving the regiment, company, rank, and film number.  
  
''[http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/ Civil War Soldiers and Sailors]'' 1861-1865 service records of Union and Confederate veterans giving the regiment, company, rank, and film number.  
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''[http://www.ellisisland.org/default.asp Ellis Island.org]'' 1892-1924 New York City passenger arrival index showing ethnicity, arrival date, residence, age, ship, port of departure, passenger manifest image, and ship’s image. The best index for this site is at [http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/eidb/ellisgold.html?firstkind=starts&FNM=&lastkind=starts&LNM= ''Ellis Island in One Step''].  
  
''[http://www.ellisisland.org/default.asp Ellis Island.org]''1892-1924 New York City passenger arrival index showing ethnicity, arrival date, residence, age, ship, port of departure, passenger manifest image, and ship’s image. The best index for this site is at [http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/eidb/ellisgold.html?firstkind=starts&FNM=&lastkind=starts&LNM= ''Ellis Island in One Step''].  
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''[http://www.fold3.com/documents Fold3.com]'' Free access at [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|Family History ]]Centers. Digital original sources such as naturalizations, Revolutionary War papers, Civil War papers, Mormon Battalion pensions, newspapers, Southern Claims Commission, and Texas births and deaths. Formerly known as Footnote.com
  
''[http://www.footnote.com/searchdocuments.php?xid=87&img=29&kbid=1031 Footnote.com]'' Free at Family History Library. Digital original sources such as naturalizations, Revolutionary War papers, Civil War papers, Mormon Battalion pensions, newspapers, Southern Claims Commission, and Texas births and deaths.  
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''[http://www.gencircles.com/ GenCircles.com]'' Indexes user-contributed family trees.  
  
''[http://www.gencircles.com/ GenCircles.com]''Indexes individual pedigrees, and databases like IGI and World Family Tree.  
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''[http://www.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/do/index HeritageQuest]'' $: This website contains indexes (1790-1820, 1860-1880, and 1900-1930) and images (1790-1930) to U.S. federal censuses; over 22,000 family and local histories; PERSI, an index to 2 million genealogical periodical articles; Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land warrants; Freedman’s Bank records; and U.S. Congressional records. It is free at the Family History Library, larger Family History Centers, and many public libraries.&nbsp;Check with your local library for free access to HeritageQuest.  
  
''[http://www.genealogytoday.com/surname/finder.mv?Surname=Gendex Gendex Surname Finder]'' Searches free databases like RootsWeb, OneGreatFamily, and obituaries; fee sites include Ancestry, Family Tree Connection, GenealogyBank, and Footnote.com
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''[http://www.americanancestors.org/ NewEnglandAncestors.org]'' Free at Family History Library. Births, marriages, deaths, tax lists, church records, wills, family histories, diaries, ''The Great Migration Begins'', and the ''New England Historic Genealogical Society Register''.  
  
''[http://www.heritagequestonline.com/ HeritageQuestOnline.com]'' Free at Family History Library and larger Family History Centers. Indexes and images to U.S. federal censuses 1790-1820, 1860-1880, and 1900-1930, over 22,000 family and local histories, 2 million genealogical periodical articles, Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land warrants, Freedman’s Bank records, and U.S. congressional records.  
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''[http://www.onegreatfamily.com/Home.aspx OneGreatFamily.com]'' Free at Family History Library. 80 million name family tree created from shared submissions by individuals. Also includes Social Security Death Index 1962-present.  
  
''[http://www.linkpendium.com/ Linkpendium.com]'' 5 million surnames and 715,000 locality links.  
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''[http://rsl.rootsweb.com/ RootsWeb Surname List]'' 1.2 million surname links to submitter contact data via this file.  
  
''[http://www.newenglandancestors.org/ NewEnglandAncestor.org]'' Free at Family History Library. Births, marriages, deaths, tax lists, church records, wills, family histories, diaries, ''The Great Migration Begins'', and the ''New England Historic Genealogical Society Register''.  
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''[http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/ RootsWeb WorldConnect]''&nbsp; 820 million names on family trees including births, marriages, deaths, parents, children, sources, pedigrees, family groups, and submitter contact data.  
  
''[http://www.onegreatfamily.com/Home.aspx OneGreatFamily.com]'' Free at Family History Library. 80 million name family tree created from shared submissions by individuals. Also includes Social Security Death Index 1962-present.  
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[http://usgwarchives.net/ ''USGenWeb Archives'']&nbsp; Free transcriptions of census records, marriage bonds, death records, wills, biographies and other documents, transcribed by volunteers, organized by state and county. Searchable.  
  
[http://sitesearch.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/search?sssdmh=dm13.160297 ''RootsWeb Search Thingy''] indexes 10 million free websites hosted by RootsWeb.
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== Other Databases  ==
  
''[http://rsl.rootsweb.com/ RootsWeb Surname List]'' 1.2 million surname links to submitter contact data via this file.  
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[http://www.findagrave.com ''FindAGrave.com'']&nbsp; Free. Over 55 million grave records, catagorized by state, county, town.&nbsp; Searchable.  
  
''[http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/ RootsWeb WorldConnect]''&nbsp; 820 million names on family trees including births, marriages, deaths, parents, children, sources, pedigrees, family groups, and submitter contact data.  
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[http://www.gendisasters.com ''GenDisasters.com''] Free.&nbsp; Transcribed newpaper and other historical accounts of train wrecks, tornadoes, fires, floods, accidents and other disasters.&nbsp; Searchable.
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[http://www.interment.net ''Interment.net'']&nbsp; Free.&nbsp; User-submitted cemetery listings.  
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== Related Wiki Article  ==
  
''[http://www.usgenweb.org/ USGenWeb Project]'' Free websites for genealogy research in every county and state.  
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See also [[Websites for Family History Beginners]].  
  
Pro Genealogy Sleuth&nbsp; [http://www.progenealogists.com/genealogysleuthb.htm http://www.progenealogists.com/genealogysleuthb.htm&nbsp;] listing of free and pay internet links by state and topic.
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{{H-langs|en=Major Databases for Beginning United States Research|es=Bases de datos para empezar su investigación}}
  
 
[[Category:United_States]] [[Category:Beginners]]
 
[[Category:United_States]] [[Category:Beginners]]

Revision as of 18:28, 12 October 2013

[[United States|
Hand and keyboard.jpg
United States]] Gotoarrow.png Major Databases for Beginning United States Research

Value of databases, strategies for using them, and a list of significant U.S. genealogical databases on the Internet with brief descriptions of each.

Definition. A database is a collection of information organized for rapid search and retrieval. Databases can be online, off line, or a combination of both. Some databases have user fees; some are free. Sometimes different databases overlap or contain information from the same sources. Search engines, such as Google, and lists, such as Cyndi’s List are not considered databases for this discussion. Various types of American genealogical databases in various media include, for example:

Family Group Records Collection—Archive Section (microfilm)

American Genealogical Biographical Index (books and online)

Pedigree Resource File (compact disc and DVD)

FamilySearch.org (online)

Periodical Source Index (PERSI) (book, microfiche, and online)

Freedman’s Bank Records (compact disc, and online)

Vital Records Index—North America (compact disc)

Value of Databases.Genealogists use databases to quickly find compiled genealogies and original and derivative records. The primary advantage of using databases early in the research process is their ease of use. As a result of the rapid growth of the Internet and genealogical databases, it is likely that many of our American ancestors in the 1800s and earlier will be found in at least one database.

Usually genealogists build a wider search for further non-database original sources on the foundation of information found in databases of derivative sources, and from databases showing images of original sources.

User Beware. Genealogical databases must be used with caution, especially those consisting of derivative sources. Such databases are often poorly documented and contain many errors. Nevertheless, such databases are one of the first places to search for ancestors, provided the user understands the risk that derivative sources contain numerous inaccuracies. Always verify information downloaded from a database by locating the original source from which the data came.

Jurisdictions.Many of the larger databases, such as FamilySearch and Ancestry, combine material from many different sources, jurisdictions, and time periods. Worldwide, national, state or provincial, county, town, and individual family databases exist.

Contents

How to Use Databases

Search databases early.Search worldwide, multiple-source databases such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com when you begin research on a family. Also search databases for the states and counties where the family lived.

At first enter with only a little search information. When searching computerized databases, enter only a little search information to start. If this results in too many matches, add another piece of information and repeat the search. Slowly add more information one piece at a time until the number of matches is reasonable.

When the first search doesn’t locate data . . .If the original search results in no matches, remove most of the details in the search request. Alternatively, try variant name spellings in the search request. Wild card name searches may also be supported in some computerized databases.

Databases Online

Here is a list of some free databases on the Internet (or partly free at Family History Centers, or Family History Library). They are good sites to begin research on a family that lived in the United States.

FamilySearch.org Largest free online collection of genealogical resources including Historical Records Collections, FamilySearch Research Wiki, FamilySearch Forums, Five Minute Genealogy videos, on-line classes, and more.

FamilySearch Historical Records Collections Free index and/or digital images to more than 500 U.S. - Canada sources, including selected federal and state censuses, birth, marriage, and death records, funeral home records, Freedman's Bank and Freedman's Bureau records, military pensions, probate records, passenger lists, WWI draft registrations, and land records, plus many other international records.

Ancestry.com Library Edition. Free access at Family History Centers.

Castle Garden Free index to New York City passenger arrivals from 1820 to 1892, containing roughly 12 million immigrants.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors 1861-1865 index of Union and Confederate veterans, giving the regiment, company, rank, and film number.

Ellis Island.org 1892-1924 New York City passenger arrival index showing ethnicity, arrival date, residence, age, ship, port of departure, passenger manifest image, and ship’s image. The best index for this site is at Ellis Island in One Step.

Fold3.com Free access at Family History Centers. Digital original sources such as naturalizations, Revolutionary War papers, Civil War papers, Mormon Battalion pensions, newspapers, Southern Claims Commission, and Texas births and deaths. Formerly known as Footnote.com

GenCircles.com Indexes user-contributed family trees.

HeritageQuest $: This website contains indexes (1790-1820, 1860-1880, and 1900-1930) and images (1790-1930) to U.S. federal censuses; over 22,000 family and local histories; PERSI, an index to 2 million genealogical periodical articles; Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land warrants; Freedman’s Bank records; and U.S. Congressional records. It is free at the Family History Library, larger Family History Centers, and many public libraries. Check with your local library for free access to HeritageQuest.

NewEnglandAncestors.org Free at Family History Library. Births, marriages, deaths, tax lists, church records, wills, family histories, diaries, The Great Migration Begins, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register.

OneGreatFamily.com Free at Family History Library. 80 million name family tree created from shared submissions by individuals. Also includes Social Security Death Index 1962-present.

RootsWeb Surname List 1.2 million surname links to submitter contact data via this file.

RootsWeb WorldConnect  820 million names on family trees including births, marriages, deaths, parents, children, sources, pedigrees, family groups, and submitter contact data.

USGenWeb Archives  Free transcriptions of census records, marriage bonds, death records, wills, biographies and other documents, transcribed by volunteers, organized by state and county. Searchable.

Other Databases

FindAGrave.com  Free. Over 55 million grave records, catagorized by state, county, town.  Searchable.

GenDisasters.com Free.  Transcribed newpaper and other historical accounts of train wrecks, tornadoes, fires, floods, accidents and other disasters.  Searchable.

Interment.net  Free.  User-submitted cemetery listings.

Related Wiki Article

See also Websites for Family History Beginners.