Genealogy is becoming more popular every day. Many people are interested in learning about where they come from and who their families were long ago. Genealogy is the study of families and family history. It is about using records like birth and death certificates, census lists, maps, photos and stories to learn about our ancestors and trace our family tree back in time.
Knowing about our family history is important, so we decided to make a list of best genealogy sites for you to discover more. It helps us understand who we are and where we came from. When we research genealogy, we find out the names of our grandmas and grandpas from long ago, where they lived, what work they did, and who their parents were too.
More and more people are getting curious about their ancestors and doing genealogy research. The internet makes it easier to find old records and information to study our family's past. So let's go through the handpicked free genealogy sites together.
What are Genealogy Websites?
Genealogy websites are special websites that people use to research their family history online. There are many big genealogy websites where you can search through lots of genealogy records like census lists, birth records, maps and more to help piece together your family tree. Some popular genealogy websites let you search through millions of records for free or make an account to save your family tree that you are building.
These websites make it easy to find records from across the country and all in one place online. You can search by name, location or other details to hopefully find information about your ancestors. Some websites even let you connect with other people researching the same family names to share what you have learned. Using genealogy sites is a great way to discover new clues and details to add more branches to your family tree from the comfort of your home on your computer or phone.
How We Picked the Best Genealogy Sites
There are so many digital sources out there, so we prioritized websites that partially or fully match with the following:
- Number of Records: We picked sites with the most records like census, birth/death records, immigration records to have the best chance of finding ancestors.
- Easy- to-Use Search: Sites needed a search that was simple to use so anyone could find records without it being confusing.
- Cost: Free sites or sites with options to search free were better than sites that always charge money.
- Access Worldwide Records: The best sites had records from all over the world, not just one country, since families moved around.
- Tools to Build Family Tree: Good sites let you create an online family tree to save what you found and share with others researching the same lines.
- Connect With Others: Being able to message others researching the same surnames helps to share records and find new clues together.
- Provide Sources: The top sites showed where the records came from so you could confirm the information yourself if needed.
Comprehensive Genealogy Websites
MyHeritage is one of the top free genealogy websites that lets you find out about your family history. On the website you can make a family tree. You add names and info about mom, dad, grandma and more. There are lots of old records to search like census forms. As you add people, MyHeritage looks for records and relatives. It will show new matches to help your tree grow.
You can order a DNA test kit, too. It will show what countries your family came from long ago. MyHeritage is on computers and phones. This means you can use it anywhere. The site links you to other people researching the same family. You can message them to share what you found.
Ancestry.com is among free genealogy sites for researching your family history and genealogy. On the site, you can create your family tree and add family members with their names and birth/death dates. The website has lots of different historical records you can search like census records, birth and death certificates, military records, and immigration records. These records can help you learn more about your ancestors from long ago.
Ancestry.com has billions of records from countries all around the world. You can search by name to find if any records match your family members. The site also has family trees created by other users that you can look at. Sometimes you can find records or relatives added by others researching the same family. They also has DNA testing kits you can order.
3. 🥇 Our Pick - FamilySearch
FamilySearch.org is a free website that helps people research their family history and genealogy. On the site you can create your own family tree by adding family members and information like names, birth dates, and parents.
FamilySearch has access to a huge number of historical records that can help you learn more about your ancestors. Some of the records include census records, birth records, marriage records, death records, military records, photos and more. You can search these records by name to hopefully find matches to your family members from long ago. The website also has features that help you research and collaborate with others. You can share your family tree with other members and they can add to it too if they find connections.
Why is FamilySearch Our Top Pick?
FamilySearch is our top pick for researching your family history because it is completely free to use. On FamilySearch you don't have to pay any fees to search through billions of records from all around the world or to create your own family tree. Also, FamilySearch is always adding new records so there are more sources than any other site. They have helpful sharing tools too so anyone can contribute to your tree. Using free genealogy sites means you can uncover the most information about your ancestors without spending any money.
Regional and Specialized Genealogy Resources
This is one of the best genealogy sites where people can build their own family tree. They can add the names of ancestors they already know about. Then Findmypast will help them find more information to add to the tree by searching over 10 billion genealogy records. These records contain information like birth, marriage and death details that were logged officially in the past.
Some of the key records it has include census records from the UK and Ireland from different time periods. Census records count everyone living in an area at a point in time and provide details like names, ages, occupations and addresses. Findmypast has census records dating back to 1841. It also has birth, marriage and death records, military records and records of people who migrated to other countries.
The main feature of this website is that it lets you create your own online family tree. You can add relatives you know about and build the family tree by linking parents to children across generations. The website has over 9 billion individuals already in its database that you can link your ancestors to.
It also has a large collection of genealogy records you can search to find information about ancestors. These include birth, marriage and death records from Europe. There are archives of documents like old census records. You can see pictures of gravestones and memorials that other users have uploaded from cemeteries. Members can collaborate with each other on the site. You can ask for help finding relatives. People can leave notes and proof on each ancestor's profile.
This is one of the best genealogy sites in France. It contains a large collection of historical genealogy records that can be searched to find details about ancestors. These include civil registration records like birth, marriage and death records from across France dating back centuries. There are also census records and military archives.
Members can view digitized copies of many official documents through the site. This helps find clues and confirms details to add to family trees. Filae partners with local archives and genealogy associations to add more sources. Users can collaborate with each other on the site. They can view each other's shared family trees, leave notes, and ask for research help in forums.
DNA Testing and Genetic Ancestry
23andMe is a company that provides DNA testing kits and reports about ancestry, traits, and health. Their main website allows people to purchase testing kits and view their results. The ancestry features help people learn about their family history and where their DNA origins come from. The Ancestry Composition report shows what percentage of a person's DNA comes from over 2,750 geographic regions worldwide, sometimes down to a specific county.
Users can build an automatic Family Tree from DNA matches to relatives who have also tested. The DNA Relative Finder tool connects people to both close and distant relatives to help explore family connections. The Ancestry Timeline shows when a person's recent ancestors were living in different populations over generations. This is one of the best free genealogy websites to find out about DNA testing.
FamilyTreeDNA is a website that specializes in DNA testing for genealogy and ancestry research. Their main focus is helping people learn more about their family history and genetic origins through DNA tests.
One of the major features is that they offer a variety of DNA tests on their site. These include tests that examine autosomal DNA, Y-DNA for paternal lineages, and mtDNA for maternal lines. Customers take a DNA kit at home and mail it in to be analyzed in their laboratory. After testing, the results are displayed on the user's personal FamilyTreeDNA page. Matches to other testers in their database are shown, along with the amount of DNA shared and the predicted genealogical relationship.
Collaborative Genealogy Websites
Geni is a website for creating and researching family trees online. The main purpose of the site is to help people build their family history and connect with relatives researching the same ancestors. The core feature is the ability to build your own family tree on Geni. You can add relatives you know and link them to create generations across time. Over 255 million profiles have already been contributed by users.
This is one of the best free genealogy sites that has tools to collaborate with others. You can work together on the same shared family tree with family members. The site aims to connect members researching the same ancestors so they can share information. People can search through the huge collection of family trees and profiles already on Geni to discover new relatives and fill in branches of their own tree. Automatic tree matching finds potential DNA matches.
WikiTree is a website for creating a large shared family tree. The main goal is to build one single family tree with profiles of all people that anyone can contribute to. The key feature is that any user can add profiles and connect them on the main family tree. This prevents duplication of efforts. Profile information comes from multiple researchers collaborating over time.
Users can view existing profiles of the same person to combine details into one master profile. As more people add info, the profiles and connections become more complete. Members vote to reach consensus on details. There are tools for uploading sources as evidence, tagging surnames, and searching historical records. People leave notes on profiles to discuss research or ask questions.
Niche and Specialized Databases
11. USGenWeb Project
This is one of the best genealogy sites in US that provides genealogical resources and records for researching family history in the United States. It was created by volunteers in 1996 to make genealogy resources available online for free. The main feature is that it has individual website pages set up for each U.S. state and county. These local sites contain information that will be helpful for researching ancestors from that specific geographic area. Things like transcriptions of historical records, maps, photos, and links to other relevant sources.
Anyone can access these resources without having to register or sign in. You can browse the site and use the tools and records without providing personal information. It allows researchers to freely explore genealogy records from across the U.S. The site is maintained by a large volunteer community. People help create and update the local county websites with new findings. USGenWeb aims to provide free genealogical sources and support for people researching their family history nationwide.
12. Access Genealogy
This website contains collections of genealogy records, databases, historical documents, and other sources to help trace family trees. The main feature is that it has large collections of records organized by state and category, like birth/death records, census records, military records, newspapers, and books. These include things like indexes, transcriptions, and digitized original documents to search through.
Anyone can access these resources without needing to register or sign in. It allows people to freely browse sources and search within different record collections from across the United States to help with their ancestry research. The site aims to direct people to as many free genealogy resources online as possible to help uncover their family history. It continues adding new material regularly to its collections from different locations, ethnic groups, and time periods.
BillionGraves is a website that allows people to search cemetery records from around the world. Its goal is to digitally document all of the graves and burial sites on Earth.The main feature is that volunteers can use the BillionGraves app to take photos of headstones and graves in cemeteries. The photos are uploaded along with their GPS locations. Other volunteers then transcribe the information on the headstones to make it searchable.
Anyone can search the database of over a billion grave records for free. You can look up names of ancestors or explore cemeteries near an area of interest. Search results link to the transcribed grave photos on the site. BillionGraves partners with other genealogy websites so records found there are shared to sites like FamilySearch, MyHeritage and FindmyPast. This allows people to easily add discovered ancestors to their family trees.
Additional Genealogy Resources
Legacy.com is one of the best free genealogy sites that allows people to search and publish obituaries. An obituary is a notice published in a newspaper or online about someone who has died. The main feature is that it has a large searchable database of obituaries from newspapers across the United States. You can search by name to find obituaries of ancestors or loved ones who have passed away.
The site also lets you publish an obituary yourself. There is an online tool that uses your memories and information to write an obituary draft for you. You can then publish it on Legacy.com and in local newspapers.
15. Cyndi’s List
Cyndi's List is a free website that acts as a large index and guide to genealogy resources found online. It has been helping people research their family history on the internet for over 25 years. The main feature is it organizes millions of links to other genealogy websites into over 200 categories. Categories include things like census records, immigration records, vital records, biographies, maps and geographical sites.
You can search the site or browse categories to find helpful genealogy databases, archives, how-to articles and more. It makes it easy to discover new sources. There is also a tool to report broken links so the site stays up to date.
In conclusion, learning about your family history and where you came from is very interesting and important. By researching your ancestors, you can discover exciting details about your ethnic background and the lives and accomplishments of the people who came before you. Knowing the past helps provide context for your own life. Tracing your genealogy connects you to the larger human story.
What is the best website to find your family tree?
There is no single "best" website for building a family tree, as different sites have their strengths. We suggest you to try out several options from our list to find the best fit. Most experts recommend using multiple sites to leverage their different strengths and archives. Ancestry and FamilySearch, for example, are good places to start building a comprehensive family tree.
Is there a free genealogy site?
Yes, there are several excellent free genealogy websites available that we mentioned above. Here are some of them:
What can you find out from genealogy websites?
Genealogy websites allow you to search many different types of historical records that can help you learn about your ancestors, such as census records to see where they lived over time, vital records with birth, marriage and death information, military records, immigration records, obituaries that provide details about their lives, cemetery records with grave photos, church records of baptisms and marriages, court documents, old yearbooks which may have photos of them, newspaper archives that mention them, searchable family trees created by other researchers, and maps and directories to understand the places they lived.
Are genealogy websites accurate?
While genealogy websites are very useful resources that make a lot of historical records available online, it's important to remember that the information on them isn't always perfectly accurate. Records were completed by other people long ago and mistakes can happen when information gets copied or indexed over time. Also, some user-submitted family trees or profiles might contain errors. That's why it's good to try and verify important facts like names and dates using multiple records whenever possible rather than relying on just one source. Genealogists recommend taking what you find on websites as leads to pursue further in original records.
Do ancestry sites keep your DNA?
Yes, ancestry DNA sites keep your DNA profile on file. When you send in a DNA sample, they analyze it to determine your ethnic percentages and help find matches. But they store your actual DNA profile in their database permanently so it can be rechecked against new matches in the future as their databases grow larger. This allows people to continue finding new relatives through DNA even years after they first tested.