Finding Your Sources
The Internet – It is now a very useful tool for searching for genealogical information, especially for census records, historical newspapers, cemetery records, and local history documents. Undocumented family records and lineages will not be accepted. However, such family records may provide you with avenues or clues for further research. Recommended sites include: ancestry.com; rootsweb.com, genealogy.com, heritagequest.com, newenglandancestors.org, and google.com. Below is a list of genealogical resources to assist in your research.
Ancestry – This is usually a good place to begin. Subscription. Note that the search menu includes a place called “catalogue.” This is where one may search for publications including vital records.
Family Search – This Website (Free but requires registration), maintained by the Mormon Church, provides access to its international ancestor files and ancestor search engines, research guidance and help, and its family history library catalog. The latter library catalog identifies microfilm copies of most New England town (and those of many other towns, states. and church records. These microfilmed records can be examined at local Family History Centers. They may be found by searching the web for them. Family search also produces information sheets on the genealogical information available for the several states and often counties and towns. This information is most easily accessed from Google by searching for “vital records” and then the name of the jurisdiction. This will point to various on line resources and also where to write for records if they are not on line.
RootsWeb – This Website claims to be the oldest and largest free genealogy site on the Internet. It offers access to numerous search engines and databases.
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites – This Website located claims to offer over 75,000 categorized and cross-referenced links to genealogy sites on the Internet.
American Ancestors – This is the site of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS). This is a major site and well worth exploring. Its data are not limited to New England. Subscription. Includes New England Historical and Genealogical Review
Fold Three – This site is focused on military information. It is large and worth visiting. Subscription.
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&BS) – This is a major site and worth visiting. Subscription. Includes NY Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Find My Past – Another, major site.
The Internet Archive – This is a massive site and extremely useful for finding genealogies. It reports results on screen usually in PDF format. (If not, you can change it to that format). The resulting document can be searched on line or it can be downloaded.
Heritage Quest – or via your Maryland Public Library (look for data bases). This site is useful for finding genealogies other printed material. It is free if accessed at home via your public library in Maryland. It is also a good way to find a Revolutionary War Pension application.
DAR Library – The Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution is an excellent American genealogy collection. It is free to use. Furthermore, while there one can access Ancestry, the NEHGS and other sites for free. The stacks are open. An important subset of the DAR Library’s material can be found in the Genealogical Records Committee Collection. This is a unique collection and it is searchable only at the Library. Be sure to locate what you want in the on-line catalogue before you go. The DAR Library has an unusual arrangement: It is organized by family names (on the right as you enter) and by location: state, county town. Hence it is important to know the name of the county where the information you seek is located.
Library of Congress Genealogical Reading Room – This reading room is located in the main Library of Congress Building. The catalogue may be searched. In order to use the resources of the Library of Congress one must have a Reader’s Card. This may be obtained in the Jefferson Building (the white, modern building next to the Library’s main building). It is wise to search for you item in the on-line catalogue before visiting. The stacks are not open; although, there are a number of useful reference books and publications available in the Genealogical Reading Room.
College and University Special Collections – Many college and universities maintain special collections some of which are of genealogical interest. Usually, the easiest way into such a collection is to search on a name and find a citation to such a collection. An example of a collection of genealogical interest is the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
State and local archives and historical societies – These are most easily found by searching on Google or other search engines. See, for example, http://stonehousemuseum.org/
Public Libraries – Some public libraries have remarkable collections. So it is worth looking at the web sites of libraries in areas where your research takes you. For an example, see http://www.washcolibrary.org/localhistory/westmdroom.asp
Massachusetts Mayflower Society – Research suggestions and links
Internet search strategy – A good way to use search engines is to search for couples (being sure to enclose their names with quotation marks).