United States of America Genealogy Guide
Free links & Tools
for Genealogy Research in the USA
Genealogical Information on this page can help you uncover your USA FamilyTree Archives and Discover Your Heritage. There are links for beginners to Self-Educate, while others can use these Tips to Brush up on the Basics. Scroll down to find specific USA Family Tree Research Information and General Ancestry Search tips.
Help Page USA & More:
Click on Topic Below for genealogical tips
GENEALOGICAL CODICIL FORM - DOWNLOADABLE (MS Word document) of A Genealogical Codicil to My Last Will and Testament, Provided by the Vancouver Canada Branch of UELAC.
One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse - Provides EASY and EFFICIENT SEARCHES of Ellis Island, Castle Garden, Other Ports, US Census, New York Census, Vital Records and much more. Some of the links provided are free and some are Pay To View... SO READ BEFORE CLICKING ON RESULTS. A dollar sign next to a lookup link means Pay-To-View the complete results
Personal Ancestral File Downloads, PAF User Groups
The sad news regarding EASY, FREE, very accessible family tree research, is that FamilySearch (LDS/The Mormons) will no longer host Personal Ancestral File (PAF) so that the program can be easily downloaded from their site. They are also going into partnership with Ancestry.com.
Most people I know plan to keep their desktop computers running with their current software and programs. If your computer needs a replacement part then all you need is the part that broke (like a new hard-drive) *not* a whole new computer.
THANKFULLY these kind saints (on the list below) have put PAF online for you to download.
While they are online go ahead and download them. Be sure to check anything you download with your virus checkers. Burn to a disk to save your very own backup or to give to a friend. (test on your spare computer if you have a spare)
(PAF) FamilySearch simplifies your genealogical record keeping
. Windows-based, Free program, print reports and charts and supports GEDCOM [Genealogical Data Communications]. PAF4 is *much* easier to read and use with a larger, clearer type face although PAF-5 creates better Family Tree WebPages. Therefore, I use both of them. Paf is *extremely* user-friendly and easy, easy, easy to use. I love it. PAF is almost effortless to use and I never had to read the directions. A big plus for me is that PAF is NOT bloat-ware so it doesn't slow up the computer. PAF also does *not* FEED information about you back to the companies who created it like some snoopware. PAF is very compact and easy to view, and it does NOT spy on you, so I've stuck with it.
I have tried many genealogy programs such as Ancestral Quest, BrothersKeeper, FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, and more. NOT ONE one of them is/was as simple, effortless and straight forward as PAF. You can practically use it while you're sleeping it is so easy. So I UNinstalled the others, got the junk cleaned out of my hard-drive (cache, temp files, etc) that the other programs installed in different places and 'Thank God' someone here knows how to clean out my Computer Registry and I happily returned to PAF. You can be exhausted and distracted and Paf is still simple and easy to use.
NO PROBLEM. Paf runs on W98se, W2k, XP, Win7, W8 and more. GO HERE Go here to learn about running PAF 5.2 on a Win 8 TABLET and also using
W I N E to run Paf on a MAC: Personal Ancestral File Forum
The USGenWeb Census Project On-Line Inventory of Transcribed Census Links. - USGenWeb Census "On-Line Inventory" lists all the states down the left and when you click on a state, the right side will open to show the links to all the transcribed census files for that state. The search is great for finding the specific state, county and year. Some have a "view" of the actual record.
Cyndi's List of Printable Census Forms - use these to record the the information you located. They can be a great help in reading column headings on the microfilmed census records and help you understand what to expect on each census
Where to Write for USA Vital Records - Click on the USA State where birth, death, marriage, divorce occurred for full information on where to write for vital records and how to obtain the record.
Freedom of Information Act Request - You can get a copy of your ancestors FBI, CIA or other Government File by using a FOIA letter of request. This one was developed by Mike Ravnitzky who has personally filed more than 5,000 requests for copies of restricted Government Archives.
NARA's holdings of electronic records - use the Internet to check more than 50 million historical records at the US National Archives, (NARA) from Civil War battles to other Military Records. Supposedly they will eventually have access to immigration files but so far its slim pickings. The database draws from the records of 20 federal agencies.
NARA Military Service & Pension Records - The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
To get your own military records or those of your parent, grandparent or other ancestor, write a letter to:
National Personnel Records Center,
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Military Records Requests FAQs - good list of information on requesting Military Records. NOTE - many USA States have Historical Archives so do a search for: "Military Records + State" on google, msn, yahoo and your favorite.
Social Security Death Records Index - Interactive Search by RootsWeb. IMPORTANT NOTE: "generally speaking" you will *not* find anyone listed who died before 1962 listed on the Internet. If you can't find your ancestor in the US Social Security Death Index Online, do what I did; obtain the Official State Death Notices on each ancestor. Their death notice will have their SSN on it. I also included a copy of each individual's Death Notice on the copies of the SSN app I requested. All of my grandparents had names that many other people share (ie: Maria Nigro) so it made it a lot easier to just get the number off the State Death Record.
U.S. Vital Records Information - Commercial site lists where to obtain vital records for each state, territory and county of the United States with good subcategories for cities, etc.
U.S. Vital Records Room at D'Addezio.com - United States Vital Records listing every county by state. Please Note: On all the "Vital Records" links here and above, except for the actual payment for records from Government Offices remember to go for the FREE stuff first. Try doing your own research for at least 5 years, then "if you hit a brick wall", you may need to pay to belong to a group or buy CDs etc., but forgetaboutit until you have exhausted free or do-it-yourself resources.
United States Genealogy Links - Databases for all of the States, includes ships passenger lists, census records, cemetery transcriptions, military records and more.
Find a Grave - More than 13 million grave records. If the graveyard or cemetery of your ancestors is on this site and it has photos of the headstones, try contacting the submitter and make a request for a photo of your ancestor's headstone, if its not already there. It happened for me!
Funeral Homes Online - they don't have all of them listed, so you might find it by searching Google. (also includes Cemetery Lookup)
The Political Graveyard - find where notable people in your ancestry are buried includes a Gazetteer and lists of Cemeteries and Memorial Sites.
Helm's Genealogy Toolbox - is the oldest comprehensive genealogical site. It contains links to over 130,000 genealogical pages, a genealogically focused search engine, and digitized original records by Matthew L. Helm.
- The oldest and largest free genealogy site has THOUSANDS of Databases and Files for your Genealogy Research Needs. Literally hundreds of millions of names. They were the best now they have sold out and slowly changes are being made but they are still easy to use and a great source of info.
Repositories of Primary Sources - A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for Genealogy Research. (includes a great selection of Italian Genealogical Links among others.)