I use three websites for my genealogy research most of the time. The first is familysearch.org, a free site managed by the Mormon church. The Mormon Church is the world’s leader in creating records for genealogy. They are located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the mission of the Mormons to digitize as many records as possible. The members of the church volunteer for all kinds of jobs to help with this huge endeavor. Every Mormon church has a Family History Center in the church that is open to the public. Members volunteer to work at the center and help anyone interested in doing research. I have visited my local Mormon church to do research. If a visitor finds a record that is on microfilm, it can be ordered from Salt Lake City for a rental fee, is sent to the local church and the researcher can then view the microfilm on a reader. Copies can be made of the records.
I subscribe to ancestry.com. This site charges a subscription fee and it varies depending on how many databases a researcher is able to access. A subscriber can create as many family trees as wanted. What is nice about this website is that a researcher can see other family trees created by other researchers as long as the tree is a public tree. If I find information on another public tree that fits with my research, I can add it to my tree. Another service offered by ancestry is DNA analysis. I will talk about that in another post. Another nice feature is that in many cases, a researcher can view and make copies of actual documents. For example, the federal government census’ have all been digitized. A researcher is able to view the actual census pages of ancestors.
Ancestry helped me break down a huge brick wall when I was starting my research and preparing for my trip to visit ancestral homes. I originally knew that my grandmother was born in Volhynia but not the name of her village. I was able to find the ship manifest that showed her information when she immigrated to the U.S. Included in her information was where she came from. That is how I found her village of Emilin. It was an amazing moment in my research.
The third website I use is specific to my ancestors. It is called The Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (sggee.org). This site only costs $40 per year for a membership. The people who use this site have similar ancestors in common. There is also a forum where researchers can ask questions of other members. Members also volunteer to digitize records from Eastern Europe where the Germans lived. I was able to find information about my Weber line on this site all the way back to the 1700’s in Poland.