Research Resources

This section serves as a directory of resources that can help your research efforts. There is an amazing amount of useful information online . . . it’s just a matter of finding it. This page points you to a number of resources offering lessons, tips and concepts on the research basics. Additional pages discuss resources for more specific areas.

Research Basics

Getting Started

  • Family History Library Webinars
    This page lists the current schedule of webinars plus the archive of previous presentations that have been recorded and archived so you can view them at any time. All are free.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are beginning to research your family history or if you are a seasoned veteran, The Family History Guide has something for everyone. It is an online learning center covering a broad range of topics. And, it costs you nothing to use.
  • How to Begin Tracing Your Family Tree – Kimberly Powell
  • 38 FamilySearch Search Tips (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University likely holds answers to at least some of your family tree questions. The trick to finding those answers is learning how to dig through the incredible amount of ancestor information on the free genealogy website. Whether you want advanced search strategies to narrow your results, power tips for finding your family in unindexed records or on microfilm, or want to enhance your online family tree with add-ons, this e-book will help you.
  • 48 Search Tips (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University
    This e-book is full of tricks, hints and hacks to unlock new family tree discoveries. It also contains helpful guides to using the genealogy website, including an exclusive excerpt from the Unofficial Guide to by Nancy Hendrickson.
  •’s State Research Guides (PDF – free download) –
    Each state research guide includes historical background, a chronology, helpful information on census and vital records, highlighted collections for that place on Ancestry, and links to important resources beyond Ancestry.
  • Section, Range and Township – Research in Public Land Records – Kimberly Powell
  • Sample Family History Research Plan – Lisa Alzo
  • U. S. GenWeb Project is a group of volunteers who provide free online genealogy information and help. They do this by building websites for the states and counties in the United States.

Genetic Genealogy

  • Which DNA Test Is Right For Me? (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University
    This guide not only pinpoints which DNA test is perfect for you but to also provides free science cheat sheets that will explain all the jargon used online, as well as articles about the history of DNA and genetic genealogy research. Also included are charts on most pages, for those who need a visual guide to the complex reading material.
  • Jump Into Genetic Genealogy (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University
    This e-book contains some of Family Tree Magazine’s best tips relating to genetic genealogy, including articles on debunking genetic genealogy misconceptions, tricks for using DNA to break through brick walls, and a resource roundup of tools to analyze your Y-DNA, Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Autosomal DNA (atDNA) test results. Together this collection stands as a comprehensive guide to understanding the complex relationship between DNA and family history.

Local Resources

Military Research

  • How to Find Military Records (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University
    You’ll get an overview of the conflicts, from the larger, record-generating ones, to the lesser-known conflicts and discover what military records might be available, as well as where to find them. You’ll also get tips on the type of information military records can reveal, from pension records that will help you find not only your military ancestor but widows, to the bounty of information found in draft records. And finally, you’ll get a chance to put this information into practice with some worksheets and exercises you can use to find your ancestors’ war records and discover new details.
  • American Merchant Marine at War (website) provides historical information regarding the United States Merchant Marine from the American Revolution to the present.

Research Management

  • Surnames: Family Search Tips and Surname Origins (PDF – free download) – Family Tree University
    This free e-book contains some of Family Tree Magazine’s best genealogy tips relating to family names, including articles on basic surname research strategies, tips for seeking ancestral maiden names, what your surname reveals about your ethnic heritage, how to refining Google surname searches, and what you can learn by understanding surname meanings. Together this collection stands as a comprehensive guide to sorting out the surname snags in your family search.

Research Tech

  • Historical Map Overlays for Google Maps and Google Earth – Kimberly Powell
    You can overlay any historic map in Google Maps or Google Earth, but getting everything to match up accurately through geo-referencing can be quite tedious. In some cases others have already done the hard part, making available free downloads of historical maps sized, geo-referenced and ready for you to import directly into Google Maps or Google Earth.
  • The Researcher’s Digital Toolbox (PDF – free download) – Denise Olson
    This guide presents a collection of tools that will support your genealogical research efforts. These are general-purpose tools that will help you find, collect and organize information about your family history.
  • How to Create a Genealogy GEDCOM File From Genealogy Software or Online Tree – Kimberly Powell – GEDCOM files are the standard format used for sharing family tree information between programs, so are often necessary for sharing your family tree file with friends or family members, or for moving your information to a new software or service.
  • Sharpen Your Digital Pencil: An Introduction to Metadata (PDF – free download) – Denise Olson
    Metadata is the digital equivalent of the penciled note you hope to find on the back of an old family photo. This guide shows you how metadata can help you organize and manage your photo collection and your family research.
  • Research Delivered: An Introduction to Newsreaders (PDF – free download) – Denise Olson
    This guide is an introduction to newsreader and the Feedly news reading platform. The newsreader is a pleasant and efficient way to keep up with a large number of news sources. This guide shows you how to get started with Feedly and find news sources that can help your research effort.

Online Resources

Kimberly Powell as put together an amazing collection of Genealogy Online resources. These include family history databases, indexes and digitized records collections. Many of them are free.