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Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree shows how rewarding and informative building a family history can be. Genealogy instructor Jeff Sengstack teaches how to find lost ancestors, connect with living relatives, and collaborate with others to grow a family tree. He explains how to use the Family Tree Maker application along with Ancestry.com and other internet sites to track down census data, immigration records, and other important documents, and then organize family tree data. Jeff also presents tips on how to scan old photos, create video slideshows, and build family web sites. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Jeff's free genealogy tips from the Exercise Files tab.
I want to give you a tour of the major genealogy family history websites. By no means will this be an exhaustive tour. We are going to look at a handful of the more than 200,000 such sites. I have created a PDF that you can download that lists these sites so you can follow along with that. We'll start with Cyndi's List, the grandmother of all such sites. This is an aggregator site started by Cyndi Howells. It has links to genealogy family history websites around the world and the number of links is now more than 264,000. You don't go here to track down a particular ancestry. You go here to get some help as you do your family tree research.
Let's move on to the major records repository, starting with the big one ancestry.com. This is owned by the same company that owns Family Tree Maker. They're very closely connected as you have noticed with your ancestry hints, those little green leaves. I will talk about ancestry .com in a separate video. Let's move on to the other major site. This is called familysearch.org. It's owned by the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The reason the LDS Church is involved in family research is they believe that they can baptize the dead by proxy thereby bringing family members into the Church after they have died thereby allowing people to see each other after they died.
And so that's why they do so much family research. You can come to this site whether you are Mormon or not, and it's a great site. It has lots and lots of information starting with some research help over here, and how to get started in family research. It's building a huge family tree that you can connect yours to if you care to. And I think more importantly right now they have this prototype that they are working on, and gathering all sorts of records and images. So for example, I can just click on this particular hit that I set up already for this tutorial and take a look at this census record and here I am looking at the census record about a family member for free.
And I can download it or print it. No charge. And this is a huge thing and this is getting bigger and bigger by the day. This is still a prototype. It's still in beta, but it will soon be released to the public and you can research all kinds of things on here and not have to pay for all those images. Let's move on to one other major site. It's called worldvitalrecords.com. This was created by folks from ancestry.com. It does compete with ancestry.com, although it does not have the same scope as ancestry.com. GenealogyBank is one of the major newspaper archives.
And I recommend this as well as the website called NewspaperARCHIVE. Let me do a search here real quick on Jacob Hendershot. I have been kind of focusing on him here. Do the search on him and since he is kind of an ancient ancestor, he probably won't be in the newspapers here. But let me just show you what it looks like if you search on somebody. You get a little preview of the page and then you can click on it and it will show you the whole page and you can read the news about that particular person including obituaries, advertisements and business listings. Now we are going to move on to family trees and message boards and the big one there is RootsWeb.
RootsWeb has a couple of strong features. It's creating this huge family tree called the WorldConnect project. They have got more than 500 million names so far on file, trying to connect all this various trees together. And it's a great way to go to see if you can find your tree or information about your tree and connecting your tree to their tree. It also is a great way to share information using the surname list and you can use their site to track down other folks who are researching your surname. Let's move on to this site, OneGreatFamily. This is another site whether they are trying to put together a humongous tree, trying to connect people from one tree to the next.
They have a separate interface for how you can work with them. Let me show you how that looks. Here's a small tree that I uploaded to them and the little exclamation marks show where my tree connects with somebody else and if I click on that it will open up this interface and I click on Collaborate and it shows other folks connected to my tree, and I can simply email them. This particular fellow I emailed and his tree has more then 250,000 members in it. I have mentioned him in another tutorial video but just wanted to mention him again. He has amassed a huge database on the northeast part of the United States and has done a remarkable job, and I tracked him down via this site.
That's how I found him by seeing that connection of the little exclamation point and then tracking it down. The little lightning bolts show where someone else has got your family tree name but they have a little disagreement in terms of what they think the data should be, and you can look at those disagreements if you care to and see what the difference is. Here it's Annie, and here it's Anne. So you can see there are subtle differences sometimes. Okay, let's go back to the browser. myfamily.com is a place where you can share family information and photographs with other family members.
It too is owned by the folks that are on ancestry.com and it's just a good place to upload images and videos. You can find immigration records at two sites, or more than two but two in particular. Castle Garden is the main immigration center for the United States on the East Coast. It was the first immigration center before Ellis Island. It has a database on more than 12 million immigrants from the years 1820-1892. After 1892 Ellis Island took over and you can go here and search for folks on Ellis Island and see if they came through here and a lot a people did.
I have two library sites that I want to tell you about. WorldCat is the sort of card catalog for thousands of libraries around the world. So I am going to search on Hendershot genealogy. I will click this and there are books about the Hendershot genealogy. I am going to click on this particular one, Hendershot Ancestor Genealogy by William Hendershott. That takes us to this particular listing where it shows all the libraries that carry that book, and in particular it shows the Allen County Public Library. I just want to mention that because the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana of all places is one the greatest genealogy libraries in the world.
It pretty much competes directly with the Family History Library in Salt Lake City owned by the Mormon Church. This is a great place to go if you want to do genealogical research. Let's go to GWM, the Golden West Marketing listing of genealogy libraries in the US. It's just a good place to go if you want to track down a local library that has a good genealogy section. There are two sites they are related to cemeteries. interment.net lets you search cemetery records, as does Find A Grave. Let me just do this one for you. Search there, type in Charles Barg, and we will try Kansas, because I know that's where he lived, click on that, and we have got Charles Barg there and the little symbol there indicates that they are actually the picture of headstone.
There it is and it gives you also the picture of the gate to the cemetery. People go around and take photographs of this and send in the information to this site. That's the great way to get photographs of headstones and also cemeteries in general. Finally let's go to a major search site that I like to use, Google. And Google, there are some trick to searching Google. I have mentioned them before, but let me just give a quick run through on that. We will search for let's say Jacob Hendershot, just like that with no quotes and we get 529,000 hits for Jacob Hendershot.
That's probably a bit more than we need. So I am going to put quotes around that now, because it's finding every site that has the word Jacob on it, every site that has the word Hendershot on it, where they are on they are on the same site but they are not necessarily side by side on that site. So now I am going to click that again. Now that I put quotes around it, we are looking for the specific phrase Jacob Hendershot. Now we are down to 2670 sites and I will put in Jacob J Hendershot and see what happens there. And now we are down to two sites. So you can see you can narrow things down if you care to do it that way. Or since two is really narrow, I am going to put Jacob Hendershot Genealogy, and this gives you 590 sites where Jacob Hendershot is related somehow to genealogy research.
And this is really the way that you can hone in on your search on Google or other search sites, but as you recommend Google as the number one search site. So those are the major websites that I recommend you take a look at. I think every single one offers something of value to you.
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