Friday, July 16, 2010

Follow Friday: My Top Ten Genealogy Websites

Randy Seaver has a survey going (based on a NEHGS survey) to rank 8 popular genealogy websites. I ranked them, but realized they are not the most important sites to my research.  

So here's an entirely personal top 10, with four reappearing from Randy's survey -

  1. Ancestry.com - I can't live with out it.  Worth every penny.
  2. Google's search engines - especially for Books and Scholar.  I am finding that I'm using OpenLibrary.org and WorldCat.org a lot more frequently.  
  3. Library of Virginia Digital Archives - My gold standard for state archives.  I would adopt Virginia ancestors to research if I didn't have a bunch of my own just for the joy of using the site.  Chancery records, land records, WPA surveys, it's endless and wonderful.  
  4. Steve Morse's One Step search engine at jewishgen.org - I would never have found some of my immigrant relatives without his work.  I bless him.  
  5. Bill Tarkulich's Slovakia & Environs Genealogy Research Strategies  - Constantly updated and maintained and full of wonderful information and advice.  I just wish he'd venture across the border into Ukraine and unlock some doors there.  
  6. Familysearch.org - I'm a latecomer, but once they posted Slovakian church records I was hooked.
  7. Illinois State Archives databases  - The first state archives database I used and still enormously useful.  It's been surpassed by Virginia in the amount of material accessible, due no doubt to the circus-like state government (I have a ringside seat), but they still have one of the best sites out there.
  8. The Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University - Early Washington County Court records and much, much more.  They keep improving their website (so links keep breaking), but it's been worth staying up to date with them.
  9. USGenWeb  - I still find wonderful information and records here, but it's hard.  I know it's volunteer and I'm all admiration for them, but the broken links and limited updates are frustrating.  Still, when it works it's a wonder.  My blue ribbon goes to the Kansas site run by the Kansas State Library.  It's terrific and their Blue Skyways - Heritage site is even better.  
  10. Maryland State Archives - Terrific material, but has been difficult to navigate for me.  Just not as user friendly as Virginia's or Illinois' sites.  Still, their land records are marvelous and worth the effort.  

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting that you included Maryland on this list. I have just recently been working in that area and my first jaunts into their site have been disappointing. Guess if you say so, I'll try again. Thanks for the push/shove, I needed it.

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  2. It's not easy to use, Carol. I've given up a couple times, but since I knew where people lived and that they were landowners I persevered. It is NOT user friendly or intuitive. At one point I exchanged at least 4 emails trying to get into their land records. But I'm stubborn ;)

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  3. Excellent list. I hadn't known about the Archives of Appalachia before this - thanks!

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  4. I volunteer w/ the USGenWeb project and yes, I agree that the variation in commitment from the various county coordinators can be frustrating. But, remember, with volunteer submissions from all of us researchers, we can all help make the sites better! I'm active w/ NC, TN and FL so we will continue to do our best to help keep our sites top-notch

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  5. Blessings on you, Taneya, for your efforts. It is so worthwhile.

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