There are quite a number of free genealogy websites out there that enables you to do a free online ancestors search or find information on how to conduct the research.
However, if you want to do more advanced stuff than mere a search, most sites do require that you make an account.
Sometimes you can choose between a free account with limited resources and a paid account with access to everything. And sometimes there is not choice, you have to pay. (Such you-have-to-pay-websites are not listed on this page.)
Once you’ve made an account, they provide you access to a large range of tools to play with and which enable you to save your work on their server.
The websites listed below are all free to use or at least have a free option so that you don’t have to spend a dime on tracing your ancestors if you don’t feel like it or simply can’t afford it.
First I will list the genealogy websites that only offer completely free genealogy tools and information, next I will present the websites that are partially free.
As you will discover there are many gateways to finding your ancestors all depending on which information you already have.
Thus you want to go to different sites all depending on the type of already harvested information – one place if e.g. you know absolutely nothing yet, another place if you have a name and want to go through a database, yet another place if you have a particular ethnic heritage etc.
So have a look at one of the 10 recommended free genealogy sites below and see which one will suit your needs the best.
There are of course many, many more really great free websites that will help you find your ancestors, but the ones below have been chosen because they’re good, of course, but also because they are different and thus hopefully one or more will suit your particular needs.
Completely Free Genealogy Websites
FamilySearch: The all in One Solution
When you enter FamilySearch you immediately get the impression that this is a very professional site. It offers a large range of free, high quality tools to help you finding your ancestors. They even offer phone support free of charge.
They also very proudly announce that they have the “largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world” since they date back from 1894 when they were called Genealogical Society of Utah.
Once you’ve made a free account you may, among other things, search their records for deceased ancestors or look in already submitted genealogy trees to see if your family line is already drawn.
When you’ve retrieved some info yourself you may upload old photos and personal stories etc. to make your own family tree.
The USGenWeb Project: When Your Point of Departure is a US State
USGenWeb Project is a resource that is great if you know in which state and county you
are looking for your family history information.
There is a list of all US states which links to a particular state’s genealogy website and from there on, you may continue via links to the counties.
National Archives: Resources for Genealogists
This US Government site offers a wealth of information both articles on how to do it and lots and lots of links out to specific areas that might just suit your need.
You may find access to the 1940 census (scanned microfilm), military records, immigration records (ship passenger lists), naturalization records and land records.
You’ll also find dates on genealogy events if you want to meet fellow genealogist enthusiasts.
Also as special treat, if you’re at a National Archives facility, you may access from a link on Archives.gov the otherwise none-free services of Ancestry.com for free.
Cyndi’sList: An Extensive Archive (Directory) with Links to Genealogy Resources
Cyndi’s List is an archive or catalogue or more correctly, directory, with links to everything imaginable related to genealogy, family history and ancestors search. It’s a bit like Yahoo – just specializing in genealogy.
In this way there are no tools or information as such but if you know what you are looking for or have a specific topic in mind, you might just find the right link for the site you need to move a step closer to your ancestors.
FindAGrave: When Looking for a Grave
If you’re wondering where your ancestors or maybe a famous person may be buried, Find a Grave is definitely the site to visit and everything is free.
FindAGrave has both a cemetery database and a database with more than 141 million graves and you may also add a burial record yourself and maybe add a tombstone photo, a bio along with a virtual flower.
BillionGraves: When Looking for a Tombstone
BillionGraves is a really clever concept and it’s completely free. Via their app they encourage everybody to go down to their own local graveyard and upload pictures of tombstones. At the same time a GPS location is recorded to each picture and the app automatically uploads the pictures to the website.
And all there is left to do is to type in the name, birth and death year from the tombstone(s) thus adding the info to the database making it accessible for everybody.
In this way users may help each other finding their ancestors all around the globe.
AfriGeneas: Find Your African Ancestry
AfriGeneasThis is the place to search if you want to learn more about your African ancestry. You may browse through databases with census records, death records, marriage records, photos and their surname and slave data collection from 1619-1869 which are records (wills) kept by slave owners.
Also there is an excellent beginners guide that you might want to take a quick look at before you dive into your family history adventure.
AfriGenas is also a community with events and chat rooms for those interested in more than just researching their family history by themselves.
JewishGen: Tracing Your Jewish Heritage
JewishGen is a site for both experienced and beginning genealogists. Besides a beginners guide there are lots of different databases and tools to help you find Jewish ancestors.
You may e.g. search in memorial books written post Holocaust, Jewish family trees, Jewish communities database, burial registry, Holocaust victim and survivor database and search by country database.
You can also make your own webpage and thus share your family tree and connect with other genealogists.
Partially Free Genealogy Websites
MyHeritage: For Tech Lovers
If you’re a gadget geek and love the delights of modern technology, you’ll find that MyHeritage has a range of features specifically for smart phones and tablets.
MyHeritage offers a free basic plan as well as a payment-based subscription. Unfortunately it is not that easy to see exactly what you have free access to just by browsing through the site. It seems you have to make an account first.
Besides technical features, MyHeritage’s proudest feature is probably their community that focuses on connecting families and relatives through their network.
Besides this you may search their records database for ancestors, search among family trees and create your own family tree by uploading photos and adding names and stories.
FamilyTreeMagazine: For Tips and Guidelines
As the name FamilyTreeMagazine suggests the primary feature of this site is their paid product family tree magazine. This magazine is for true genealogy enthusiasts as it goes beyond mere ancestors search and providing a range of other related topics such as historical traveling and scrapbooking etc.
The Family Tree Magazine does, however, have free resources as well particularly in terms of guideline articles on how-to-do-it but also free family tree templates, forms and charts. However, in order for you to be able to use the charts, you need to submit your email address.
Pages on This Site You Might also Like
Free Family Tree Search – Recommended Websites and Apps to Help You Find Your Ancestors
How to Do Ancestors Search and Family History Genealogy Easily
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