As more records go online worldwide, a click of a mouse can take you back in time by hundreds of years in a matter of minutes via websites designed to help you hunt down your past. Though some sites charge a fee, some of the best are free.
If you don't get a match right away, don't give up.
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Many libraries have a subscription to the site and some offer a library edition you can access from your home computer for free.
also sponsors Roots Web.— a free, all volunteer-based project that includes local history, gravestones and old church records. Census Bureau does not have digitized census records, but and have digitized many of these records from 1930 and earlier. These websites are subscription-based, but access is free of charge and unlimited from any National Archives facility and from many public libraries.
Social Security death records: Here is a repository (at ssdi.
Roots Web.ancestry.com) that will give you details about your ancestors who had Social Security numbers and died in 1962 or later when the records were computerized.
Family Search.org: This exhaustive free database of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes databases from around the world and a wide range of documents from births, baptism and death records.
Footnote.com: This subscription site is sponsored by that provides access to original documents, including orphan records, military pensions, Confederate papers and much more.
Findagrave.com: An online repository of more than 60 million grave records and millions of photos.
Italiangen.org: You don't have to be Italian to benefit from the great volunteer effort on this site to index New York's five boroughs' vital records.
Try spelling your ancestor's last name different ways if you come up with a blank, because errors are rampant throughout historical records.
Ancestry.com: A subscription-based service that searches 6 billion records worldwide.
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