How Do You Trace Your Ancestors?


Quick Answer

Trace ancestors using websites such as the USGenWeb Project, MyHeritage and Ancestry.com. Archives.com provides finding aids such as microfilm indexes in preparation for a free visit to the U.S. National Archives.

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Full Answer

The USGenWeb Project provides links to free genealogy information for every state in America. Ancestry.com is a subscription site that enables searches of 6 billion records, including federal census records. The company also runs RootsWeb.ancestry.com, a free project focusing on local records. MyHeritage is a website that provides access to census and voter lists, immigration and travel records, military records and newspapers and other records. It also enables users to search public records including court records, tax assessments, license applications, vehicle registrations and property liens; school and university data; and vital records such as birth, marriage and death records.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration holds essential records for genealogy research such as census, military, land, naturalization and immigration records. NARA, through Archives.gov, provides online microfilm indexes and guidance on how to trace ancestral history using the different records. Ancestry researchers also can access Ancestry.com and Fold3 free at any NARA facility, as the National Archives subscribes to these sites.

Searchers also can hire a professional genealogist to search records, trace ancestors, assist with DNA analysis and advise on how to conduct the search.

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