Monday, January 5, 2009

First Web Resources for Researching your Family Tree!

This video, along with the links below, should help you get started on a lot of totally free resources out there on the Web for finding your ancestors and the all-essential, birth, death, marriage and census data. Some sites will give you the information for free but will require a fee or subscription for the actual records...

I find that what you can find truly for free varies depending on the ancestor, the timeframe, his or her location, etc...  These links should give you plenty to start with, and I will be bringing up more interesting websites and reviews in the future!  Stay tuned!


Search the Social Security Death Index
(one of several sites to do this):

Order your deceased ancestor's SS-5 (Social Security application) ONLINE at:

FamilySearch has listed a LOT more free records and indexes online on this PDF:


On a side note, because there is a lot of confusion surrounding these, I thought I'd paste in what the Social Security Association has to say about genealogical research and what they can do to help:

Q9: What information is available from Social Security records to help in genealogical research?

A: You might want to start by checking out the Social Security Death Index which is available online from a variety of commercial services (usually the search is free). The Death Index contains a listing of persons who had a Social Security number, who are deceased, and whose death was reported to the Social Security Administration. (The information in the Death Index for people who died prior to 1962 is sketchy since SSA's death information was not automated before that date. Death information for persons who died before 1962 is generally only in the Death Index if the death was actually reported to SSA after 1962, even though the death occurred prior to that year.)

If you find a person in the Death Index you will learn the date of birth and Social Security Number for that person. (The Social Security Death Index is not published by SSA for public use, but is made available by commercial entities using information from SSA records. We do not offer support of these commercial products nor can we answer questions about the material in the Death Index.)

Other records potentially available from SSA include the Application for a Social Security Number (form SS-5). To obtain any information from SSA you will need to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

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