The Top 90 Genealogy Blogs

Genealogy can be a fascinating study, but it can also be a tremendously frustrating one. Record keeping in some areas historically range from thorough to non-existent. Unraveling the mystery of our forbearers often involves plucking out snippets of fact from local rumor, brief mentions in obscure records, and questionable historical writing. Fortunately, there are a great number of talented and experienced genealogists willing to share their information, advice, and expertise through their blogs. Some of these are simply records of personal family searches while others are treasure troves of research methodology, resources, technological aids, and genealogical news and events. Some provide elegant and delightful ways to preserve your cherished photos and discovered memories; others teach you how to preserve your heirlooms and memorabilia.  Whatever direction you wish to go in your family history journey, these blogs can help you get there as painlessly as possible.

Letters from a WWII veteran to his parents (Photo by Cynthia Closkey)

Letters from a WWII veteran to his parents (Photo by Cynthia Closkey)

New & Shiny Incoming Genealogy Bloggers

  1. Tracing My Roots: Who Do I Think I Am? – Started in March of this year, this blog is elegant and well-written, and promises to be a wonderful resource and inspiration to other family historians. Excellent use of pictures, charming family stories, and details on research methodology and results. An excellent start. Check Out: Shopping Saturday – April 1917, for a playful look at the fashions advertised the year her grandmother was born.
  2. Climbing Greenwood – Begun in January of this year, this author of this blog has a delightful way of spinning the stories uncovered in the search for ancestors past. Plus solid explanations of methodology used with good use of historical imagery all housed on a blog with a clean look and easy navigation. Check Out: Good Bigamy v. Bad Bigamy, for an amusing historical account of the plural partnerships in the family tree.
  3. Michael Tormey’s “Legacy Blog” – This blog began in April of this year and already offers a beautifully laid out and well-written blog providing often amusing accounts of his own search for his ancestry. He also does an excellent job providing useful analysis of the tools he uses in his search. It is clear that, though the blog is new, the gentleman behind it has been at this for some time. Check Out: The Debate Over the Ethics of Photo Restoration, for a great analysis on the pros and cons of photo restoration, with a good example of before and after.
  4. The Family History Social – A bit older than its fellows on this list, this blog opened its digital doors in September of 2012. Since then it has been offering genealogy news, reviews on books and products, and updates on family history events. The design is clean and fresh and well organized, making it easy to locate anything you are after. Check Out:  Handy Research Tips – Cleaning That Long Lost Gravestone, for information on restoring an aged gravestone without damaging it.
  5. Roots from the Bayou – Started in November of 2012, this blog has been incredibly prolific since day one, with over 200 posts in its first half-year alive. Its author regales us with tales of his adventures in unearthing family history, even tromping about in overgrown dewberries in search of long lost gravestones. Except to find all manner of useful tidbits in this well-written and delightful new blog. Check Out: Military Monday – James Calvin Price, for a recurring them honoring our servicemen and women past, with photographs, gravestones, and as many details about their life as can be dug up.
  6. Genealogical Privacy – This three month old blog is focused on bringing together the knowledge and interests of privacy advocates, genealogists, and technology experts to help preserve privacy while encouraging family history research in our modern information era. Regular updates since its inception from a variety of experts on news and information relating to the intersection of technology, privacy, and genealogical research. Check Out: Death and Privacy – Part I and Part II, for an in depth look at the concerns relating to privacy and the dead.
  7. I-Descend – This is a two month old blog detailing the journey of one family historian. She shares with us her own insights and personal stories as she progresses in her search in a heartfelt and genuine way. She also offers reviews and suggestions for tools and research methods she’s tried. Check Out: Things We Don’t Speak Of, for a reminder of how genealogy can help us understand the roots of our families much better.
  8. SearchSmith – Another fairly young blog with big promise, it features regularly updated and well-researched posts detailing the stories from the author’s own family history. It offers readers information on interesting resources as well as delightful photographs and historical documents. Check Out: A New York State of Search – Beyond Ancestry.com, for a pretty thorough examination of some of the excellent genealogical resources available.
  9. The Ancestors Have Spoken – This blog, alive since late March, is a great example of a digital archive for personal family history. The author includes pictures and stories, research methods and tools, and shares the joy of discovery with her readers. Check Out: Journey of Discovery: Felipe Espinoza Jr., Part #1, for a solid review of her search for her grandfather’s history, including the details of her research and tips for those conducting their own similar searches. She also shares with us the excitement of discovery.
Reuban Cozart (seated), San Marcos, 1934 (Photo offered by Justin Cozart)

Reuban Cozart (seated), San Marcos, 1934 (Photo offered by Justin Cozart)

Advice & Inspiration

  1. The Practical Archivist – If you are interested in preserving heirloom treasures, priceless photographs, tintypes, or trinkets, then the Practical Archivist is the blog for you. She has been blogging for quite a few years with excellent advice on how to preserve your cherished memorabilia. The site offers a fantastic amount of resources for the family historian. Check Out: How to deal with a mouldy photograph, with useful and timely tips on saving photographs from the dreaded scourge of mold.
  2. AnceStories – This long running blog offers a wealth of information for any family historian. The author has compiled information on a ton of region specific data, reviews tools and resources, details of her own research methodology, and much more.  Check Out: Who Are Our Brickwall Ancestors, and Why Aren’t We Blogging About Them Regularly? For a fantastic post encouraging bloggers to share details of ancestors they are having trouble researching to encourage crowd-sourcing new information.
  3. Knowing William – This fantastic blog just celebrated its one year anniversary. The author covers her own search for details about her ancestors, with a focus on a particular leaf of her tree named William Park. In each post she covers her own search along with a helpful how-to that can detail useful research tactics, resources, or tools she’s found useful. Check Out: Everything I Know About William, for a summary of… well… everything she knows about William, her “G-G-G-grandfather”.
  4. Posts About Dead Relatives… – As you can probably surmise from the fantastic name of this blog, the author does not take life too seriously. Tongue-in-cheek humor can be found peppered throughout some excellent posts covering the gamut of family history research. Pirates and vampires even show up, alongside more mundane topics like the Mayflower, DNA, and the Civil War. Check Out: Arrrrrgggghhhh…or is it Oy!…or Hello Sailor….or all of the above, for a playful and thorough examination of various literary interpretations of swashbucklers and historical accuracy.
  5. KK Genealogy – An Aussie blog, well-written and full of personal touches that make it well worth digging through. This blog provides a great template for family historians wanting to create a digital archive for uncovered family memories and share their own trials and tribulations with the genealogical blogging community. Check Out: Who Am I? Displaying a fantastic and fun method of sharing family history.
  6. The Armchair Genealogist – Tons of great advice in a pretty and well-organized blog offered up for the masses of newbie and old-hand family historians alike. It’s easy to dive right into the topics of greatest use to you with the tabs directing newcomers to beginner tactics, old hands to research tips, Irish genealogy, writing challenges, and more. Lots of tips and suggestions for researching and connecting with ancestral stories. Check Out:  A 10 Step Plan: Getting Sources & Citations Under Control, for a useful guide to citations for genealogists, a necessary evil that many armchair historians are not as comfortable with, complete with a handy printable mind map.
  7. Finding Eliza – This long running blog offers an excellent glimpse at the power of family history research and DNA analysis combined. There are also stunning family photographs, alongside excellent personal and family storytelling. Overall, a fine example of a living and digital family history archive. Check Out: Fancy Free in The Hollywood Bowl – 1944, for a lovely glimpse into her father’s history via a letter and a photograph.
  8. How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey – Another fantastic example of an ongoing digital family history archive, this regularly updated and well-written blog follows the unveiling of the author’s family tree. Photographs, records, data mining via technology, and great storytelling paint a picture of her family history.  Check Out: Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Mary Mitchel Jones, in which she shares the discovery of a genealogical gem.
  9. Heritage Zen – The author of this blog is a librarian, and it shows in the details she puts into her posts, complete with citations for the photography and resources utilized in her research. Armchair historians should take note and learn from her meticulous attention to detail. Her blog also often features insightful posts weaving context into the stories unearthed about her ancestry. Check Out: Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women, for sharing the details of her female ancestor’s struggles and putting their stories and their strength forward.
  10. Ginisology – This blog is primarily a place to discuss and display the rich history of the author’s family tree, and is a fine example of a living, digital family history archive. The blog itself features an elegant design and is well organized, making it easy for individuals who may have overlapping branches to find details useful to them. Family histories are often presented alongside a scrapbook style collection of photographs and memorabilia.  Check Out: Remembering Opa ~ Adalbert Haf 1907 – 1968, for the story of a beloved grandfather remembered.

 

Marlee Family Photograph (Photo offered by Berkeley T. Compton)

  1. Into the Briar Patch – This simple yet elegantly designed blog is an example of what a great digital family history archive can become. Each post includes rich stories, photographs, and scanned documentation. They often detail the source material in citation form. The posts often inspire lively discussion. Check Out: Sepia Saturday and a Fearless Female: Child, Young Woman, Grandmother. Can You ID Her through the Years, for the story of her grandmother’s life and struggles, a fantastic use of crowd-sourcing, and a vision of a lovely and headstrong young woman as she aged.
  2. Journey to the Past – A pleasant mix of personal storytelling, insights into genealogy methods and tools, and a living family history archive, this blog offers a lot to the potential reader. Long running (since 2010) and frequently updated, it is an especially good resource for folks with family history in the state of Michigan, as much of the author’s research is focused there. Check Out: Tips and Tricks: Ordering Military Service and Pension Records from NARA, for a good review on what it takes to order records, the costs, and what to expect from your order.
  3. Kinexxions – Not just genealogical information, but also gorgeous photography from the author, Becky Wiseman’s, travel. Her posts are often filled with thoughtful personal insight. She has the great fortune to have access to writings and photographs going back several generations, and shares with us lively stories of the cast of characters on her family tree. Check Out:  Maude and Romey, for a detailed and delightful family account, complete with her great-grandmother’s writings and family photos.
  4. Shades of the Departed – This blog has recently celebrated its fifth anniversary in the genealogical blogosphere. In that time, it has offered some great tips for fellow family historians and excellent resource material alongside its primary focus: beautiful old photographs and the stories behind them. Check Out: Twice Told Tuesday – Where Bad Citizens Are Made, for a retelling of the trials and tribulations that greeted European immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, with news clippings and photography to bring it to life.
  5. Granny’s Genealogy – This blog chronicles the research and discoveries of the author’s personal family history quest. Other armchair genealogists can learn from her trials and successes, and enjoy the retelling of her family history alongside scanned documents and family photography. Check Out: Remembering Dad, for a bittersweet tribute to a father lost too soon and its personal impact on the author.
  6. Crowes Nest by Elizabeth Powell Crowe – A recounting of the blogger’s personal efforts to unearth all the branches on her family tree. She does an excellent job of describing the highs and lows of armchair genealogical research. Along the way she shares her discoveries and strategies. Check Out: The Laws of Genealogy Kick In…., for an excellent example of unexpected success in precisely the wrong areas.
  7. Looking4Ancestors – This blog is a combination of practical advice and personal journey. The author is focused on Canadian ancestry, so readers focused on that region would do well to dig through the details found and posted on this blog. She shares methodology, technology advice, and more. Check Out: Tuesday Teachings – Two Essential Resources for English and Welsh Research, for tips on uncovering ethnic ancestors as efficiently as possible.
  8. Photo-Sleuth – This blog is an excellent resource for individuals wanting to learn more about the history of their family photographs. The author, Brett Payne, creates fascinating posts full of historical details about the evolution of photography with stunning examples provided to demonstrate. Check Out: Sepia Saturday 175: Andy Warhol Looks a scream, Hang him on my wall, for a richly detailed history of the photobooth with early examples.
  9. Creative Gene – This genealogy blog has a focus on polish ancestry, and those with family originating from the Michigan area with polish descent may find tidbits of use here. The author also embarked on a NaNoWriMo challenge, and completed two novel-in-30-day projects successfully and was kind enough to share her journey with her readers. Lots to discover here for the family historian. Check Out: The Family Bakery, for a detailed and rich retelling of a personal family story of business, struggle, success, and family influence.
 Part of the Pugh Family Tree showing the Savi/Corderan connection (Photo offered by Herry Lawford)

Part of the Pugh Family Tree showing the Savi/Corderan connection (Photo offered by Herry Lawford)

  1. CanadaGenealogy or Janes Your Aunt – This long-running blog (alive since 2005) is run by an experienced and savvy genealogist with many years of experience researching family history. Her research focuses primarily on Canada, with forays into the US, Great Britain, and Sweden. She offers her readers advice, event reminders local to the British Columbia area, snippets of her own family history, great ideas for other family historians, and a bit of women’s history as well. Check Out: Eaton’s Women’s Club – Winnipeg Manitoba 1940 – Amanuensis Monday, for a delightful contribution to this blogging tradition, with photographs and details of the ladies of that particular club.
  2. Little Bytes of Life – Offering tidbits from the blogger’s personal family history, product and resource reviews, handy tips and upcoming events, and even some family recipes. Her updates can be spotty, but she is relatively active overall and has been around since 2007. Check Out: Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Day 14 – Fruitcake (It’s in the Genes), for an amusing history of America’s relationship the dreaded desert.
  3. The Broersma Ancestry – Primarily a beautiful living archive of the author’s family history, this blog also includes helpful tips and research resources for other family historians. Check Out: Falling In Love From Across The Street, for a lovely tale of love, local history, and a little bit of San Fran history.
  4. The Educated Genealogist – Lots of family history discoveries presented right alongside memories in the making, with practical advice, book and resource reviews, and ongoing events and news. Check Out: Women of DAR Come in All Shapes and Sizes, for a fascinating look at what sort of woman joins the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, including the surprising Mrs. Tom Thumb.
  5. What’s Past is Prologue – This blog would serve as a great inspiration for other armchair genealogists. The bloggers style of writing encourages thought and new directions of research as she shares her family traditions, memories, and discovered connections. She also offers advice from her own experiences. Check Out:  Haller’s Army, for a great review of an avenue of research for those with Polish descent, Haller’s Army during the first World War.
  6. Janet the Researcher – This blogger shares with her readers the insights she gains in her own journey of discovery. She discusses methods she uses to research, shares bits of uncovered family history, and how she is tackling writing down her family history to preserve it for future generations. Check Out:  Flash Family History – Johnston and Love, for a snapshot of her lesser known maternal grandparents.
  7. A Genealogy Hunt – This blog is written in a rather unusual style, each post seeming more like a letter from a friend than a personal journal or essay. The blogger shares with readers discoveries and research methods in a friendly and welcoming tone. Check Out: Smith Groh Genealogy – 1876 – GGG-Grandaunt Marie Achange Almanda Parise – Port Daniel, Quebec, for an example of the inviting and informative posts typical of this blog.
  8. Adventures in Family History Writing – This blog does an excellent job showcasing one way of creating a living family history archive, and includes the author’s process of creating a written family history. Check Out: The Family History Writing Challenge – Day 2 – The Home Place, for a glimpse into the process of writing.
Ancestry.com research with iPad, Ancestry app and laptop, with Ancestry.com (Photo offered by Quester Mark)

Ancestry.com research with iPad, Ancestry app and laptop, with Ancestry.com (Photo offered by Quester Mark)

The Digitally Savvy Genealogist

  1. Ancestry Insider – For family archivists who utilize Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org to speed up or assist their own research methods, this site is full of excellent information on how to get the most out of these programs. This site includes very thorough and fair reviews on both products, provides warnings about issues and bugs, teaches readers about nifty shortcuts and research methods, and more. Not sponsored by either company. Check Out: Indexing Tips: The Palmer Method, for a detailed overview of one popularized method of cursive writing in the early 1900s.
  2. Family Oral History Using Digital Tools – The author of this blog does an excellent job introducing readers to the array of technology capable of recording oral histories from elderly relatives. What better way to create an archive of family history than hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth? Future generations can enjoy the memories of family members they may never have the chance to know. Plus family memories, memorabilia, resources, and more. Check Out:  After Two Decades – The Conversation That Changed Everything, for a heart wrenching account of one piece of family drama with an unexpected ending, and how poorly designed technology can put a major cramp in things.
  3. Olive Tree Genealogy – This site is designed for users of the Olive Tree Genealogy site and similar sites that offer free genealogy records. This blog offers its readers tutorials, news, and resource reviews. Check Out:  My Military Ancestors, for a lovely look at the service members in the author’s family tree.
  4. Genealogy Tools – As the name would suggest, this blog is dedicated to learning the tips and tricks of various digital genealogy tools, including websites, programs, and applications. The author does a great job at focusing each post enough to provide useful and specific advice, and often includes detailed steps along with visual aids or videos to assist readers. Check Out: Your Source and Citation Information Is In Danger, for a warning to readers about the unreliability of GEDCOM tags with regard to citations, and how to prevent issues.
  5. Android Genealogy – If there’s an application, trick, or tip usable on Android devices to assist in your genealogical efforts, this site concisely introduces you to it. Frequently updated and several years old, there’s a lot to discover here for Android-using family historians. Check Out: Androids Downunder, for a quick glance at Aussie genealogists showing their love for their Android devices.
  6. Moultrie Creek Cool Tools – Moultrie Creek provides a number of services, but this particular section offers articles focused on the technological gadgets, applications, and tools to know about or do better with for genealogical research. Many of the articles are focused on telling family history, instead of just researching it, and as such they offer some really creative ways of storing and presenting material. Check Out:  Become a Magazine Publisher with Flipboard, for a fantastic iOS and Android app that allows users to create their own magazine accessible by other users.
  7. Family Tree Maker User – This blog, not officially affiliated with Family Tree Maker, walks its readers through all sorts of uses of the program, with detailed directions, applications, troubleshooting, and visual aids. A great resource for any user of Family Tree Maker. Check Out: Evidentia Export to Family Tree Maker by a GEDCOM file, for a typical example of how the blogger instructs readers on how tackle a potential challenge.
  8. Jlog – A great technology blog for genealogists, with a clean, minimalist design that makes it easy to find what you are after. Jlog offers regular updates that focus on the ways in which computers can ease research, and ways readers can make better use of their computer time and programs.  Check Out:  Tips for Handling Distractions, for a very useful discussion of how to handle the endless distractions connected computers and life in general can so easily provide.
  9. Rootsmithing – This regularly updated blog, written by an Assistant Librarian (there does seem to be an awful lot of librarian genealogists), features lots of useful information ranging from methodology advice to technological aides to genealogical research. Articles are well written and the blog itself is very well organized, making it easy for readers to spot what they are after. Check Out:  Patents – Your Inventive Ancestors, for an intriguing avenue of research you may not have considered utilizing free Google tools.
Gravestones at the Church of St. Andrew, Minterne Manga  (Photo offered by Ell Brown)

Gravestones at the Church of St. Andrew, Minterne Manga (Photo offered by Ell Brown)

Gravestones & Beloved Dead

  1. Reisterstown Lutheran Community Cemetery – This blog offers posts with beautiful pictures of aged gravestones, census records, death certificates, photographs, and more for the cemetery and its history. A great resource for some, and perhaps an inspiration for others. Check Out:  Dr. James C. Larsh, for a picture-filled memorial of one Dr. Larsh, 112 years since passed.
  2. The Association of Graveyard Rabbits –A great resource for folks interested in preserving gravestones and markers and the cemeteries which house them, this online journal provides information of use to preservationists, photographers, and historians. Check Out: Tech T.I.P. – A Little Inspiration, for some insight into how technology can help preserve the historical treasures gravestones and markers represent
  3. Digital Cemetery Walk – This blogger meanders through cemeteries, snapping photos and sharing them us. The photographs are often accompanied by research on epitaphs, local history, or genealogical information. Interspersed are reviews of good books on the subject, news, and unexpected historical gems. Check Out:  Saw Lee surrender, for a great story behind an old gravestone.
  4. Granite in my Blood – This blogger offers up a fantastic resource for genealogists as she offers an archive of gravestone, mausoleum, and grave marker images with associated research. Other tidbits include local historical stories and areas. Check Out:  Sophia Baker, for photographs of the decedent with story, and a small mystery.
  5. Scottish Gravestones – A beautiful collection of early gravestones from around Scotland offered up to preserve the imagery and honor their place as Scottish art. A great resource for family historians with Scottish ancestry. Check Out: This small collection of disturbingly beautiful gravestone carvings.

Ethnic & Regional Orientation

  1. Aunt Kate – This English genealogy blog offers a clean and minimalist design, easy to navigate and well-written. Most blogs tend to focus on one or two individuals, with as much data and storytelling as the author can dig up. Often they include period images and snippets of records. Check Out: Chicksand Street, London, John James Firmin, on the evolution of a street and several fellows attached to its history.
  2. Midwestern Microhistory – If you have ancestry from the Midwest, this blog offers a lot of potential gems for you to discover. It includes reviews of useful resources, relevant news, snippets of history, and more. Frequently updated and several years old. Check Out:  “I” and “we” in genealogy writing, for a discussion on the use of these words and how they can set the tone of an account.
  3. Walking the Berkshires – Less about genealogy and more about local history, it is nevertheless an excellent resource for individuals with family from the region. Rumor, historical fact, reenactment experiences, and historical documents. Well worth a gander.  Check Out:  Favorite Entries from Revolutionary War Soldier Diaries, for a fascinating glimpse into the minds of the earliest of American servicemen.
  4. Mississippi Memories – As the name implies, this blog celebrates the history and heritage of Mississippi families and regions. Photographs, memorabilia, storytelling, and research comes together to create a delightful and useful digital archive of memories. Check Out:  Crossing the Color Line, for a story of how genetic genealogy is changing the way many of us look at our ethnic heritage.
  5. Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi – Though the author of this blog is deceased and, obviously, will no longer be updating, it deserves a place in this list for the wonderful resource it was. Interested parties can acquire copies of the entire archive of over 900 articles stored on the blog. Each filled with delightfully well-written and thoroughly researched tidbits of history from the region. Well worth acquiring for any historian in with an attachment to the area.
  6. British Genes – A resource site for armchair historians and genealogists with relations in the UK. Research methodology, useful resources, news, and more. Frequently updated and several years running. Check Out:  Photography – archives need to move with the times, for a genealogist’s response to a relevant news story.
  7. Geder Genealogy – An simple and elegantly designed blog that offers up the Geder family genealogy in a living digital archive that is full of stories, historical tidbits, and photography.  Check Out: Emancipation Proclamation, for a simple yet powerful reminder of a basic human right being restored to countless individuals.
  8. Genealogy Canada – For all those Canadian family historians, this blog offers frequent updates of use. Conference and event details, uncovered resources, news, and more. Check Out:  Mapping the Mosaic, for a quick introduction to a Montreal resource.
Tintype of the Moser Family; About 1893 (Photo offered by David C. Foster)

Tintype of the Moser Family; About 1893 (Photo offered by David C. Foster)

  1. Help! The Faerie Folk Hid My Ancestors! – This playfully titled blog offers its readers great resources for unearthing their own Irish ancestry. It includes resources, news for genealogical researchers focused on the area, and colorful local stories and the author’s own genealogical discoveries. Check Out:  Perchance to Dream… of Family History, for sharing one of those ‘aha’ moments.
  2. Nordic Blue – For Minnesotans, Midwesterners, and those of Nordic ancestry, the family history detailed here may be of use. Even a smattering of Washington state history as well. Check Out:  Solving the Case of the Missing Civil War Soldier: Thor Paulsen Sloan, detailing a missing soldier uncovered, complete with an old letter, a tintype, and historical details to bring the tale alive.
  3. Brooklyn Historical Society Blog – The history of Brooklyn is rich and full of characters, and well worth examination regardless of family ties to the area. This blog does a great job in uncovering and preserving those memories.  Check Out:  Photo of the Week: Ruby’s Bar, for a great snapshot of gentleman at the pub offered up with some local history.
  4. Eastern Washington Genealogical Society – This six year old blog offers local genealogists and those with ancestors from the region a place to share information, events, methodology, and uncovered documentation. Check Out:  Did you know: Spokane County Library Offers Civil War Information? An uncovered resource for locals interested in digging up family history.
  5. Sandusky History – This nearly seven year old blog provides history alongside great photography and records from the Sandusky, Ohio area. For any who have a connection to the region, this site offers a wonderful resource for digging up information. Check Out:  George Reber’s Homes on West Washington Street, for photographs of beautiful homes and the history attached to them.
  6. Seeking Michigan – This unique blog focuses on history related to the state of Michigan. The blog offers a simple design with each post offering just a snippet of photographic or memorabilia history from the region. A glimpse into the history of the state. Check Out: Remembering Maritta Wolff, a glimpse of a literary darling of Michigan from the 1940s.
  7. West in New England – This blog serves as a living digital archive of the author’s family history, but also provides a glimpse into the history of New England and some its characters. Worth review for any with a connection to the state. Check Out: “Out Mother Lurana”, for a snapshot of a headstone, its inscription, and historical reference.
  8. Itawamba History Review: The Itawamba Historical Society – This blog is an extension of this Mississippi historical society dedicated to the preservation of the locality’s history and heritage. As a result, its posts are a treasure trove of information and reference material for those with ancestry from the region. Check Out:  A Lost Corner Scene ca. 1900, for a photograph with names and some basic data on those pictured.
Letter to her family - Author: Julia Grace Wales, Dated: January 26, 1916 (Image offered by BiblioArchives)

Letter to her family – Author: Julia Grace Wales, Dated: January 26, 1916 (Image offered by BiblioArchives)

Genealogy News & Resources

  1. Genealogy Blog – This long running and very frequently updated online newsletter contains tons of information for family historians, including genealogy news, reviews, upcoming events, research method ideas, resources, and much more. Check Out: Iowa Supreme Court: Married lesbians have constitutional right for both to be on baby’s birth certificate, for a review and reader response on a controversial civil rights issue that may have a major impact on tracing family histories.
  2. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter – Sponsored by MyHeritage.com, this site provides daily updates with detailed product reviews and useful research methodology overviews for the family genealogist. Good insight on genealogy news, plus information on upcoming events, and fascinating historical tidbits. Well worth reading. Check Out: Imperial War Museum and brightsolid to Bring First World War Stories to Life Online, for a push towards a fantastic and much needed resource.
  3. Clue Wagon – With a refreshing sense of humor and a wide variety of content, Clue Wagon is a more laid back and amusing ride through genealogical news and topics. Check out: The Worst Question in Genealogy for a pointed look at whether it is better to go deep or go far when exploring your roots.
  4. Hidden Genealogy Nuggets – Hidden Genealogy Nuggets is a blog concerning genealogical topics from methodology, pictures, and articles centered around the United States over its lifetime. It is updated at least weekly and occasionally daily. Check Out: Using Diaries In Your Family History to see how and why diaries are an important research tool.
  5. Genealogy’s Star – Almost all of the daily content on Genealogy’s Star is original writing or research by James Tanner, a computer-savvy lawyer with over twenty years of experience in research genealogy. A definite choice for one of those blogs you pull up first when seeking useful advice. Check Out:  Why Do We Blog About Genealogy? to hear him answer the question.
  6. Renee’s Genealogy Blog – Renee is a researcher, experienced Family History Consultant, and an employee for RootsMagic. Her blog contains her personal writings, focused frequently on technology and genealogy combined, and almost every piece of official family history related documents she comes across. Check Out: Do I Still Need a Desktop Genealogy Program or Is Family Tree Enough.
  7. NARAtions – The site itself is admittedly more packed with information than the blog, though the blog is useful for updates on NARA and history related news on top of some interesting articles on various historical figures and events. Check out: Rolling Into Court to find out how hard candy branding helped develop some business law.
  8. Climbing My Family Tree – Centered around a woman’s attempt to find just about every branch she can about her family tree, you will find tons of old newspaper clippings, diary entries, letters, and documents of every kind related to dozens of different people, including herself, her husband, and her 5 children. Check Out: Her My Virtual Cemetery page for a side by side of the gravestones of 75 of her ancestors.
  9. The Geni Blog – Here is a blog for Geni, a MyHeritage company, with a decent spread of company news and original content that includes weekly family trees done for famous people from all walks of life. Check Out: Family Tree Tuesday – Bear Grylls to get a glimpse into a family of staunch politicians and athletes who gave the survivalist his strength and courage.
  10. Donna’s Genealogy Blog – Donna Moughty is a professional genealogist who specialized on 19th century Irish families. The content is divvied up largely between Irish research, personal family facts, and content discussing technology and methodology that aids in genealogical research. Check out: Putting Your Family Tree Online for why you should so and tips to help you.
  11. Deb’s Delvings – Deb Wayne is the owner of a genealogical research service company and a blog writer. Her work and articles focus on explaining the technical aspects for the use of DNA in genealogical research. Check out: Useful DNA Tests for Genealogy for a quick primer on the most useful types of tests to use and how to get the most out of them.
  12. Transylvanian Dutch – The name of the blog points to the diverseness we often find in our family histories, just as the author of the blog, John Newmark, has done and shared with the blogosphere. He shares the information and experience he has collected along his search. Check Out: Data Backup Day: My Data Backup Plan, to get some useful tips every researcher should follow.
  13. Geneablogger – This site is mostly useful for its repository of over 3000 genealogical blogs, but it does feature a daily updated blog feed that covers news about genealogical research and related topics. Check Out: Genealogy Blog Roll for their compendium of family history sites.

The Best of the Best

  1. Genea-Musings – This blog frequently comes up in popular genealogy blog listings for a reason. It’s hard to categorize the site because it is full of a variety of useful and fun posts, from news and methodology to humor and personal family stories from the author. Check Out:  Tuesday’s Tip – California Digital Newspaper Collection, for useful tips on digging juicy data out of California newspaper archives.
  2. Dear Myrtle – With one of the longest running and most popular blogs in the world of genealogy, Myrtle’s name is probably one you have heard before. In addition to a blog that is updated almost daily with content on genealogy or her work, and you can fight for a spot in one of her webinars held every other day or so. Check Out:  Metadata Is Your Friend, to see an archived video of one of her webinars.
  3. Geneablogie – A popular blog delving across the spectrum of genealogy news, advice, and reviews of genealogy related software and materials. The blog is authored by Craig Manson, and it receives updates roughly three times a week. Check Out: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study to read a story about an ancestor of Manson who was part of the Tuskegee Experiments
  4. Boston 1775 – A ridiculously cool, very well designed, and fascinating compilation of historical tales, detailed and well-researched analysis, and rumor pertaining to the origins of the American Revolution in the state of Massachusetts. Frequent updates, delightful writing, and a great glimpse into a vital period in American history. Check Out: The Mystery of Tertias Bass, for a perfect example of following the trail of an individual lost to time.
  5. Root Dig – Straight talk from an experienced genealogist, this blog is full of research examples, reviews of products and resources, advice, and even valuable news for other family historians. Regularly updated and long-running, there is a lot to find here. Check Out: Is It Ancient History and Does it Matter? This post provides some food for thought about the potential consequences of digging up and discussing sticky family matters.
Human Haplogroup Maps (Image by T. Michael Keesey)

Human Haplogroup Maps (Image by T. Michael Keesey)

Genetic Genealogy

  1. The Genetic Genealogist – Focused on the intersection of genealogy and genetics, this blog updates its readers with news and changes to the companies involved in genetic genealogy analysis. The author also provides insight and methodology to make the best use of information gained from this new branch of genealogy.  Check Out:  Thought For the Day – Crowdfunding Genealogy, for an intriguing idea to generate funding for genealogical research.
  2. DNA – Genealems Genetic Genealogy – This blog covers news and updates on genetic genealogy as well as reviews of products, resources, and books related to general genealogy. It keeps readers updated on ongoing events and tries to explain the process and methodology for those who are not familiar with it. Check Out: Ancestry.com and the DNA Business – Oil and Water? This post offers analysis on the friction between the traditional genealogical business model and the genetic testing aspect of the business.
  3. Your Genetic Genealogist – This blog keeps an eye on news related to genetic genealogy, including changes to the companies that offer the service, sales, and other promotions. Readers are able to keep up with seminars and conferences related to the field as well.  Check Out:  Citizen Science Helps to Rewrite the Y Chromosome Tree and Illuminate the Ancestral Roots of African American Project Members, for a review of a breakthrough moment in genetic genealogy science.
  4. Eurogenes Blog – This blog narrows its focus to news and discoveries related to European ancestry uncovered through genetic methods. Regular updates with good explanations and references to posts mentioned. Check Out:  Modern European ADMIXTURE components = Neolithic ecological zones (+post-Neolithic in-situ expansions), for a detailed examination of early Neolithic distribution and the potential influences which acted upon the population.
  5. Lost Colony Research Group – This blog includes a mix of local history, genetic genealogy in action, and related news. It focuses on those who “emerged from the sands of Cape Hatteras, NC.” My only complaint is the lack of consistency in design. Check Out: The Dare Stones; Hoax or Genuine, for images and the story of a strange marked stone found in North Carolina.
  6. The 23andMe Blog – Run by one of the industry leaders in personal genome research, the 23andMe Blog updates very regularly on all manner of topics of interest to the intersection of genetics and genealogy. All the quality you would expect from a company-sponsored blog, with topics centered on science and research, news, genetic health issues, and ancestry. Check Out: Your Lifestyle, Your Health, Your Genes, for a good overview on how DNA and our health interact and how we can have positive (and negative) influence on our genetic coding.

And finally, if none of these excellent blogs suit your needs, you are sure to find at least something that tickles your fancy in this list of nearly 3,000 genealogy related blogs, or in this collection of new and interesting genealogy blogs. If you are looking for blogs focused on a specific surname, region, or individual (or a number of other search parameters), you should check out this blog finder offered by Genealogue.

 

88 Must Have Resources for the Online Genealogist

Family Tree Plate by Libertygrace0

Family Tree Plate by Libertygrace0

This collection of resources can help you uncover nearly all of the missing leaves on your family tree. Included are searchable databases of vital records, helpful guides, genealogical communities, unique tools, regionally targeted articles with a global reach. The first portion is entirely free. Those that require payment are listed at the end. While not every record is available online through every service, it is possible to use database searches to uncover local records you require, then community based organizations to share labor and access what you normally would be unable to all from the comfort of your own home.

Free Resources

Database Searches

  • Access Genealogy is a resource with a clean interface that allows you to search millions of records, including an excellent catalog of Native American records. Links are cross-referenced and organized by type and location.
  • The Olive Tree Genealogy is not quite as well organized as Access Genealogy but contains links to passenger lists and lots of resources for the American and Canadian genealogical researcher. They also feature several guides to help people get started.
  • Family Tree Searcher helps users do a quick search to organize a basic family tree with just a little information. The innovative part of this site, however, is their use of simple quizzes to help genealogists refine their search methods based on family information they have.
  • The National Archives is a beacon of information for the online genealogist. Their database searches cover both online and in-person resources and cover census records, immigration, land records, military service, and even bankruptcy records. They have a calendar of US genealogy workshops and also provide useful guides.
  • The UK National Archives is useful for those of European descent. It contains a number of useful searchable databases including birth, death, and marriage certificates, wills, service records, and more. They even offer a paid research service.
  • The USGenWeb Project is a site created by a group of volunteers that organizes genealogical information organized by state and county. There is tons of information for local history and databases that cull from yearbooks, local newspapers, cemetery and vital records, military records and more.
  • The WorldGen Web Project is another volunteer organization that catalogs genealogical information and historical records from all over the world. It is organized by region and country and includes information pulled locally to help folks research their international ancestry.
  • Cyndi’s List is an incredibly powerful search tool containing an immense library of over sixteen thousand links related to genealogy online. Each is categorized and cross-referenced. Cyndi’s List is often one of the first stops for any online genealogist and certainly one to keep handy.
  • Family Search is a free online database hosted by the LDS Church granting access to thousands of records compiled by the organization over a century of their own genealogical research.
  •  Search Systems is a free online database that includes birth records from the US, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
  • MyHeritage offers a free genealogy search that covers thousands of databases at once and can intelligently sort through spelling and phonetic variations and more.
  • Marriage Records Search is a comprehensive list of marriage records organized by state.
  • General Land Office Records provides a searchable database including image access to millions of federal land titles from 1820 to the present. They also have images related to survey plats and field notes going back to 1810.
  • Interment.net includes a searchable database of thousands of burial records around the world.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission includes a searchable database of cemeteries and war dead from the World War era. It also provides historic resources and publications that may be of use to genealogists.
  • Library & Archives Canada includes a database search that looks through Canadian vital records, census and enumeration data, immigration and citizenship records, land use records, military records, and more.
  • Genealogy from the US Census Bureau offers a handful of surname and historical data searches, but does not provide more modern information to protect confidentiality.
  • The National Archives of Norway is a government database containing searchable digital archives with access to parish registers, census results, and church books from Norway.
  • Vital Event Indexes is the resource for the British Columbia Archives and contains indexes for historical births, deaths, and marriages as well as WWII overseas casualty listings and baptisms.
  • 1901 Census Online contains the records for the over 400 million people living in England and Wales during between 1841 and 1901. You can find individuals in orphanages, hospitals, barracks, and specific addresses as well as research naval and merchant vessels.
  • Ancestor Search provides a searchable database of surnames and their meaning and history.
  • The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project is an online database compiling information drawn from Ontario Counties.
  • Family History is a well-designed interface that organizes US census and vital record databases organized by year, surname, and state. It also offers message boards organized by surname and helpful guides.
  • Australian War Memorial is a database that houses collections of art, photographs, film, sound recordings, private records, military heraldry, and military technology along with rolls for those lost during active duty. They provide a searchable database to help with locating specific individuals.
  • Missouri Digital Heritage contains a searchable index of the Missouri Death Certificates. It also has links to  further historical information from the area.

Genealogy Blogs

  • Learn About Genealogy is a blog with biographical stories about a number of individuals compiled through personal stories, old newspapers, parish records, and more.
  • Mad About Genealogy  includes a number of articles and a few resources, with a unique focus on New Zealand records.
  • The Genetic Genealogist  is a personal blog that provides very well researched articles about how genetic research impacts genealogical research.
  • Family Tree Maker User is a private blog created by a user of the software Family Tree Maker created by ancestry.com. They have no connection to the company and discuss what they have learned in using the program.
  • Genea-Musings is a popular genealogy blog featuring research tips and techniques, news, humor, and some family history research from the author.
  •  The Genealogue is another popular blog focused on all sorts of topics related to family history research.
  • The Ancestry Insider is a blog written from the unaffiliated perspective of a frequent user of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. It reviews features and provides fair critique of both sites.
  • Creative Genealogy focuses on the author’s experience as a genealogist and reviews products and sites she uses as well as discusses ways to present family trees.
  • GenealogyBlog is a blog by long time genealogist and accomplished writer and editor, Leland Meitzler. Running since 2008, it has covers a great deal of genealogy related topics.
  • Your Genetic Genealogist is a blog by Cece Moore, a genealogist who has worked with ISOGG, 23AndMe, and Family Tree DNA.  Moore provides great insight on the major genealogical testing companies and makes a concerted effort to help educate those new to the search for their roots.
  • GeneaBloggers is a guide to blogging for genealogy bloggers. It provides writing prompts, generates community, and showcases blogs and related ideas.
  • Boston 1775 is a resource that compiles historical information, analysis, and gossip emerging from the origin of the American Revolution in Massachusetts.
  • Dear Myrtle is a highly popular genealogy blog written by an award-winning author and frequent speaker at related conferences. The blog covers a range of topics related to family history research.
  • Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter is a blog that specializes in reviews of various online genealogy tools. The amount of content is staggering, with a decade of daily content that includes book reviews, genealogy related news, tips and resources for those delving into their family history, and more.
  • AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors is a general family history blog written by avid genealogy enthusiast Miriam J. Robbins. In the blog, she details the journey she has taken while investigating her origins and provides links and reviews of various genealogy resources.
  • ThinkGenealogy is a blog focused on genealogy and how it intersects with new technology, software, and innovative ideas.
  • Family Oral History Using Digital Tools is a blog that looks at how digital tools and media can help preserve family memories.
  • Genealogy Reviews Online is not quite what it sounds like. Primarily, it focuses on the author’s own family history, though it does include some genealogy news and reviews.
  • GeneaBlogie is a personal genealogical blog focused primarily on a handful of family lineages, but also has some great suggestions for other genealogists.
  • 24-7 Family History Circle is a blog focused on family history covering a wide range of related topics and interests that is written by an ancestry.com newsletter editor, Juliana Smith, along with other accomplished genealogical writers.
  • Rootdig is a personal blog that discusses general research suggestions and other items of interest to the genealogist.
  • Walking the Berkshires is a personal blog which tells the history of the Berkshire and Litchfield Hills region.
  • Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi is the blog of the now deceased Dr. Terry Thornton that covers an exhaustive collection of well researched information from the region.

Handy Tools

  • Misbach Enterprises offers a number of free PDF charts that can be used to track your family tree.
  • Free Genealogy Forms & Charts includes a list of free charts and forms useful for the hobby genealogist.
  • Family Tree Tools offers a search through Google Books database by uploading your GEDCOM files for your ancestors. You can also use the same files to search Facebook for pictures and details of living relatives.
  • Family Echo is a free tool that allows a family to construct an online family tree that is completely private and shown only to other family members. Users can upload GEDCOM or FamilyScript files as well.
  • TribalPages allows users to build an online family tree and a family website that can privately secure photographs, charts, relationship configurations, events, stories, and more that can be accessed by the whole family.
  • Make a Family Tree using the free online tool from PBS. It simply allows you to create an online family tree that can be shared with your relatives. A good way to get kids involved.
  •  EDraw is a free flowchart creation program. While it is not specifically designed for creating family trees, its ease of use and nonexistent cost make it a quick, useful addition to any researcher’s toolset.

Helpful Guides

  • Genealogy Today is an incredibly useful tool that caters to beginners and old-hands alike. They feature an array of database information, guides designed to teach valuable skills and get your research started right, book reviews, and more.
  • Information about Genealogy is a resource provided by the South Central Library System in Wisconsin that provides some basic information and database search tools.
  • Where to Write for Vital Records is a resource provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that lists state by state (and US territory) who must be contacted to gain access to vital records including birth, death, marriage or divorce.
  • Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation provides some information about genealogy research and how DNA can impact that.
  • Practical Archivist is the personal blog of a professional archivist that provides excellent advice on how to preserve and organize photography and other family treasures.
  • The International Society of Genetic Genealogy is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 to encourage, educate on, and promote the use of DNA testing for genealogical research. Their website has a collection of useful resources, keeps track of genealogical events across the world, and offers recommendations for the best testing services to use.

Unique Resources

  • GeneaBios is a fascinating site dedicated to telling the stories of our ancestors. These biographical sketches are put together by genealogical researches from the information culled from public records. While your particular ancestor may not be included, these are a fascinating read.
  • Genealogical Journeys In Time  is a private website with lots of community based genealogical resources. It includes a chat room, message boards, links, resource pages and more.
  • Rootsweb is a community organization supported by ancestry.com. It includes mailing lists, message boards, website directories, free hosting for genealogical websites, search engines and databases, as well as helpful guides for those starting their search.
  • Pinterest offers a whole array of interesting tidbits, information, and ideas relating to genealogy. This can include photographs of tombstones, old pictures, records, and unique ideas for displaying your own family trees.
  • Mundia is an Ancestry.com related website that focuses on creating a dynamic family tree. Basic membership is free and while it is presently in beta, premium membership is also free. It tracks actively your family connections and suggests additions instantly as it continuously searches new information.
  • Books We Own is a collected list of resources owned by volunteers who will share what they know with others requesting information.
  • Behind the Name is a searchable database that explains the etymology and history of surnames.
  • Obituary Daily Times is a daily index of all the published obituaries. It doesn’t have the actual obituaries, but does have ways to help you locate the original.
  • All Family Crests includes a searchable database full of family crests and coat of arms. It offers claddagh or signet rings with the engraved family crest, prints, and plaques available for sale.
  • Scotland’s People is an index of names and images reviewing life in Scotland in the years between 1901 and 1911. It provides a fascinating glimpse of live in Scotland during that era.

Paid Services

Software

  • Family Tree Maker is software developed by ancestry.com that helps you organize your genealogical data. It is recognized as the best genealogical software available and has the widest range of features available. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, offers excellent help and documentation, and is incredibly easy to use. It costs $39.99.
  • Legacy is another excellent bit of software that can help you create wall charts, organize genealogical information, and assist in your search for your ancestors. It has slightly less features than Family Tree Maker but is fairly close overall in capability. It does not have a Mac specific version and the cost for the basic program (download only) is $29.95. There are a number of additional add-on programs that add features and cost.
  • Wholly Genes includes a number of tools and programs designed to help the genealogist, including The Master Genealogist, a well-reviewed software package that helps with the search and organizes information as well as many other products.

Subscription Services

  • Ancestry is a subscription service that grants you an easy to use interface for uncovering your family tree. It includes access to vital records, immigration records including passenger lists, census records, military records, and more. It also features advice columns and pages of useful links.
  • GenServ is an older genealogy website with thousands of accessible files that can be accessed with an annual subscription. They have thousands of searchable databases with genealogical information. The information can also be obtained without a subscription by contacting the site owner.
  • Archives is a subscription based service that provides users with millions of images and billions of digital records that are constantly being added to. It also provides a number of expert-written articles on genealogy.
  • Geni is a subscription service that offers three levels of service. The basic free plan allows you to create a family tree and access some community forums and store up to 1 GB of photographs and documents. A $5.00 monthly subscription offers enhanced search, more storage space, and direct support services. $7.95 allows instant family tree matches and unlimited media storage as well.
  • OneGreatFamily  is a subscription service that is unique in its structure. It is building a massive database of family links from all over the world. It continuously searches through familial connections and intelligently updates family trees as it makes new connections based on information the user provides.
  • AGES-online is an annual subscription service that grants access to a range of utilities and search databases along with charts and reports that can help you uncover your family tree. There are two present subscription models with a third one coming. Economy costs $39.95 annually and grants you all the basic features already listed, $59.95 gets you access to story-writing, personalized genealogy website, and multimedia support. The enhanced model will add streaming media.
  • FamilyTree is an online resource that can help with family history research, including surname research, guides, and information providing a glimpse into cultural practices.

One-Time Fee Services

  • FamilyTree DNA is a service that utilizes your unique DNA signature to trance your genealogical history. They can link your DNA to over 400,000 records for a one-time fee.
  • 23andMe Ancestry is a DNA genealogical database that uses your genetic information to link you to potential ancestors from a massive database. It costs a one-time fee of $99 for basic service.
  • Family Tree DNA is a company that specializes in DNA testing for determining ancestry. In addition to offering a number of highly specialized and targeted tests, they pool the results of their research into larger projects that allow their clients to work together and find out if they have a common link.

Consultant Services

  • DNA Consultants is a testing company that provides a detailed DNA Fingerprinting test and analysis. The report details the most likely ethnic and regional sources for your ancestry. The test is best used for people with a European ancestry, but it is functional for any ethnic background.
  • Genealogy Research Associates is a firm that helps with all aspects of family tree research. They offer their services for performing research into your family history, teaching you the steps to gathering information about your ancestry, and even helping you obtain necessary documents and records.

Unique Services

  • National Geographic’s Genographic Project is an initiative by the prolific organization to catalog the ancestry of indigenous people worldwide while allowing others to both participate and fund the research. If you want to help a number of projects that receive money from the project and investigate your own past, then purchasing one of their advanced Geno 2.0 kits is a great way to do both.
  • Moultrie Creek is an online book store that specializes in family history resources. Their available collection includes guides on researching and organizing your ancestral background, historical documents, samples of other’s family trees, and even a fiction section with a focus on stories involving genealogical research.