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Genealogy Internet Resources

Amanda Pape

This page contains links to web sites outside of Tarleton.

The links are provided as a convenience for research.

Tarleton has no control over, and is not responsible for the content found on external sites.

Please contact the subject-specialist librarian if you have research questions, would like library instruction, or have material purchase requests.

Amanda Pape
Special Services - Office B05B
phone: 254-968-9251
email: pape@tarleton.edu

Help is also available by using the Ask a Librarian page, emailing  reference@tarleton.edu, calling (254) 968-9249, or coming into the library.

Genealogy Subcategories:

Forms & Charts

Before beginning your genealogy research, you should fill out a pedigree (or ancestral) chart (what is sometimes commonly called a family tree), and a family group sheet for each person you are researching.  Using such forms helps you record what you already know and identify any gaps in information.  These and other paper forms are available to download for free from Ancestry.comAbout.com Genealogy has advice on filling out these forms.

start here

FamilySearch.org is a free service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is the best place to start your research. The website has research guides, the catalog of the Family History Library, full-text original records, and full-text of genealogy reference books.  A free FamilySearch account allows creation of family trees, uploading images, and sharing information, and is also required to view images of some original records.

In addition, even if images of original records are not available at this site, it can provide information to make microfilm or textual searches easier.  For example, in the Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973 collection, Erath County records often have the volume and/or page number in the Reference ID field.

Primary Source Materials for Texas

Portal to Texas History has digital materials from collections throughout the state.  A number of college yearbooks (such as Tarleton’s Grassburr) and Texas newspapers from smaller towns or universities (such as our J-Tac) have been digitized, and if you search on a surname (adding a location if the surname is common), you may find obituaries, marriage notices, photos, and other articles about your ancestor.

Texas Heritage Online provides unified online access to over 775,000 of Texas' historical documents and images by partnering with over 240 libraries, museums, and other institutions across the state.

Other Texas Sources

Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) makes descriptions of the archival, manuscript, and museum collections in repositories across the state available to the public. The site consists of the collection descriptions or "finding aids" that archives, libraries, and museums create to assist users in locating information in their collections. Consider these an extended table of contents which describe unique materials only available at the individual repositories.  Keep in mind that in most cases, the collections themselves are NOT available online.

The Handbook of Texas Online from the Texas State Historical Association offers a full-text, searchable version of the complete text of the six-volume print edition, with articles added and updated weekly.  This is a good resource for learning more about particular locations in Texas, including towns that no longer exist, as well as individuals and organizations that are a part of Texas History

Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a number of resources for genealogical research, including military records, land records, and Republic of Texas records.

Texas General Land Office (GLO) archives include maps and information on Spanish, Mexican, bounty, donation, and headright land grants in Texas.  There is an online land grants database and a surname index to land grants as well.  GLO is in the process of digitizing the original documents and many of them can be viewed online.

Newspapers

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, offers a variety of digitized newspaper pages from the National Digitized Newspaper Program. Over 700,000 pages are in the database. Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 by everything, by date, by state, by specific newspaper, etc.  Or, use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Stanford Newspaper Data Visualization plots over 140,000 newspapers published over three centuries in the United States on an interactive map with a timeline slider from 1690 to 2011. The data comes from Chronicling America.  You can use this tool to find newspapers in a particular time and locations (and language) by following the instructions in our library blog post.

Maps

Fire Insurance Maps (mostly Sanborn) can help document the history of land and buildings.  This web page from the University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection provides links to fire insurance maps, mostly online, from other states and cities, as well as guides on using them. 

Google Maps  has a My Places feature that (when you are signed in with a free Google account) can be used to mark locations on maps and then share those maps publicly or with selected others. You can track a family through time, marking every place they lived, a migration trail they followed, or Civil War battlefields where an ancestor fought. You can also use Google Maps to look up an address and see how the area looks in the present day through the Street View feature.

Cemeteries

Find A Grave features user-contributed material (think Wikipedia for cemeteries), so keep in mind it may not be accurate. It has over 116,000 entries (as of May 2014) from cemeteries all over the world, often including headstone photos, personal descriptions, photos and obituaries, GPS coordinates, and links to other relatives. It can be searched by cemetery name and by surname.  The TCU Library has some directions and tips on searching individual grave records.  The option “browse by US county” is available from the Cemetery Search page.

BillionGraves is similar to Find A Grave.  Volunteers collect images of tombstones with an iPhone/Android camera app and upload them to the site.  Other volunteers transcribe the information from the photos to make them searchable.

Immigration - Passenger Lists

Ellis Island – Port of New York Passenger Record Search is provided by The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation.  Keep in mind that not all immigrants came through Ellis Island!

Galveston Immigration Database from the Galveston Historical Foundation allows free searches of the names of more than 130,000 passengers from the period 1846-1948 who first disembarked in Galveston.

General Genealogy Sources

Family History Center Locations – An interactive map to find the nearest Family History Center sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Some items that can be borrowed from the Family History Library, such as microfilm, must be sent to one of these centers to be used.

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet features links to more than 331,000 genealogy sites as of May 2014. The links are categorized and cross-referenced in over 200 categories.

USGenWeb is a network of volunteers working to create a center for genealogical research for every county in every state in the United States.  Projects include cemetery surveys and transcriptions of tombstones, obituaries, marriage and other records.

Where to Write for Vital Records tells you where and how to obtain birth, death, marriage, and divorce records in every state.

Rootsweb, a project of Ancestry.com, has links to both free and subscription databases, research guides, and online community.

Access Genealogy offers links to mostly free genealogy databases and sites.

National Archives Resources for Genealogists include census, immigration/naturalization, land and military records.  More information is available on conducting Research at the National Archives in Fort Worth.

Guides

Library of Congress Guides to Genealogical Research

National Archive Publications – Genealogy Guides and Finding Aids

Genealogy.com Learning Center

FamilyTreeMaker Online Genealogy Classes

Libraries

Sometimes the information you need is only available at a library.  It’s a good idea to find and contact the libraries in the area you are researching, to see what they have available.  The Internet Public Library’s Library Locator page has links to various websites you can use to find libraries throughout the world.

Find A Library allows you to search for Texas libraries participating in the TexShare cooperative program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  Contact information, websites if available, and a map link are provided.  With many public libraries in Texas, you can get a library card if you reside anywhere in the state, and sometimes use that card from your home to access online databases and other resources. 

WorldCat is a catalog of over 1.4 billion items at more than 10,000 libraries worldwide, maintained by OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center, Inc., a global library cooperative.   Search on a last name plus the word family (both together within quotation marks) to find genealogies and family histories.  If the name is common, add another term, such as a place, to focus on the most relevant matches.  If you find a promising source, you can see what libraries have it, and/or perhaps request the item or copies of relevant pages through interlibrary loanFamily Tree Magazine has a brief tutorial on searching WorldCat, and OCLC also has a WorldCat quick reference guide for genealogy.

06/2014