In the United States, genealogy is a major and growing hobby, aided in large part by the increasing availability of both free and subscription on-line information resources. This chapter contains information on some of these on-line resources as a beginning to a more thorough treatment of the pecularities of pursuing genealogy research in the United States. The point of view taken here is largely that of an individual looking into his or her own history.
Genealogy Resources On-Line
- USGenWeb Project established in 1996, this project of 2500 volunteers has been serving as a FREE resource for county and state genealogy. Besides the independent websites there is a permanent Archive of 11 G's of information. The search engine for the USGenWeb Project Archives is located at http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/newsearch.htm. And the many special projects supported by the members of the USGenWeb Project can be found at http://usgenweb.org/projects/index.shtml
- Cyndi's List before there was http://www.Google.com there was Cyndi's List. Nine years later her website contains 243,200 genealogy related links. A FREE website.
- Family Searchit is associated with the LDS church and is a gateway to 150 years of genealogy research done by church members and other genealogists. A FREE website
Genealogy and Family History Internet Web Directory
- Genealogy and Family History Internet Web Directory Key worldwide educational Internet genealogical databases and resources, connected to thousands of related sub-sets, with billions of primary or secondary database records. A FREE website.
- RootsWeb the oldest and largest FREE genealogy website and server. It provides the websites, mailing lists and message boards used by so many genealogists. It is the host to many Genealogical and Historical Societies and the USGenWeb Project. A FREE website
- Ohio River Valley Families Online Searchable Database
- Minnesota Historical Society
- NEHGS - The oldest genealogical society in the United States
- Genealogy Sleuth - United States Records
- Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records (United States)
- The Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois
The vast majority of Americans are descendents of immigrants within the past 400 years. One of the points of interest for most researchers is "when did my family arrive in the United States?" This invariably has multiple answers as a result of mingling blood lines immigrant groups or distinct waves of immigrants. There are basically two parts to this question: "where was the entry point?" and "when was the entry time?" In many cases a researcher has one of these two pieces of information, often as an anecdote passed down orally through the family.
Major entry points
New York and Ellis Island
One of the most significant entry points in the United States in terms of the sheer volume of persons passing through it was Ellis Island, New York. Millions of immigrants entered the country through this point during its years of operation from 1892 to 1924. In 1982, Lee Iacocca, at the behest of Ronald Reagan, headed the formation of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF). In 2001, an activity of this foundation led to the establishment of the American Family Immigration History Center, which has made available on-line 25,000,000 immigrant arrival records for public access. The website for the Foundation, which prominently features a search interface for this set of records, is located at http://www.ellisisland.org/.