If you have a recommended addition, please contact me. – Greg

Some Free Research Services

Family Search
This free site is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). This is the largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world. Gain access to an amazing array of source material available free of charge – that other sites ( charge for.
Check out their free research pilot
. is a free Internet service owned and operated by, Inc. It contains millions of records and access to thousands of family trees including mine. It also has a very useful gedcom download feature that could save you time and effort – not to mention transcription typos.

FindaGrave.com5 stars
Excellent resource for locating grave markers, for sharing data, and for contacting someone who may have actually viewed a grave marker you’re interested in. You’ll also find a wealth of photos of markers – submitted by those who took the photos and can vouch for their accuracy. By joining, you can also participate yourself – submitting information and correcting those you find in error (it’s rare, but it happens). This is one of my favorite “hangouts”.

Gone But Not Forgotten (BGNF)
A free collection of gedcom files with indexes. As with and GenCircles, the data is only as good as the research done by those who posted it (in other words, beware of errors!).

Census Online
Over the past eight years, Census Online has grown from 25 links to nearly 40,000 and serves as the internet’s primary starting point for locating online census transcriptions.

GenCircles.com2 1/2 stars
Upload a gedcom file and this free service will help you find your ancestors uploaded by other users through their “SmartMatching” technology – basically an internal search engine.

Generous Genealogists
A vibrant, vital and growing community teaching and helping each other in the best methods and traditions of the genealogists of today, yesterday and hopefully tomorrow.

Some Fee-based Research Services
With more than 3 billion names and 4,000 searchable databases, is the #1 online source for family history information, including the web’s largest collection of historical records. They also offer a free trial period so you can check to see if it suits your needs. I especially appreciate their DNA section.
Few other family history sites are as trusted or as visited as, which offers a wide range of family and local histories, vital records, military records and much more.

Some Free Specific Resources
Stephenie Flora’s excellent collection of names, dates, and much more pertaining to the early days of Oregon and the Oregon Territory. Extensive.

Helm Family Research
Search for the Parents of the North Carolina Helms Brothers (1690-1750) by Ira L. Helms, Jr.

Huddleston Family Tree
Blood ancestry of my wife, Carol Hurd Bennette.

Joseph Bennette Ancestry on Rootsweb
I do my best to keep this database up to date.

Tennessee Genealogy and History
Part of the USGENWEB project. Great resource if your family lines go through Tennessee as mine do.

Illinois State Archives
A searchable repository of all vital records from 1763 to the present.

Indiana State Library Genealogy Database: Marriages through 1850.
Excellent resource for finding those pre-1850 marriages.

Missouri Marriage Records
These Missouri marriage records were submitted by GeneaLinks visitors. While they are not official proof of the marriage, they do provide a place to start looking for the official records. Some records do not have an email address. Many visitors submit those extra records they wrote down just in case they might need them later. In those cases, they do not have further information about the marriage.

Oregon Historical Records Index A searchable and growing database compiled by examining actual records held by the Oregon State Archives. Although I’m grateful for the work they’ve done, I’ve found many errors in the data, some of which seems to be derived from other (out of State) sources. Obituaries
A resource for finding obituaries in Texas – mostly the San Antonio area. Very limited resource.

Union County, South Carolina Probate Record Index 1787-1865
Index of Probate Records in the Union County, South Carolina Courthouse, 1782-1865. Very limited resource.

Washington State Digital Archives
Over 50 million records in a free growing searchable database. A great resource for finding records in Washington State.

Software I’ve Used

Roots Magic
Score (out of 10): 9
What I like: Intuitive user interface (UI), good support (tech support and useful forum), easy to use, user scripting, access to 11 search providers including and New FamilySearch from within the program, extensive features set, free version available, inexpensive. This is MY software of choice.
What I don’t like: Does not integrate directly with
Price: $30.
Comments: I’ve used this software for many years and am used to the interface and features. I find it easy to do just about anything I want to do – and the free forums and tutorials are extremely useful.

Roots Magic Essentials
Score: 6
What I like: Good for beginners and those on a VERY tight budget.
What I don’t like: limited reports and some other features.
Price: $0
Comments: Don’t bother with this except to test Roots Magic. I’m sure that after you’ve tried the free version, you’ll want the full functionality of the paid product. And the full product is only $30 – cheaper than the price of a video game.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF)2 1/2 stars
Score: 5
What I like: It works and you can’t beat the price.
What I don’t like: Too simplistic, aging user interface (DOS-like), a bit difficult to use.
Price: $0
Comments: Simple and fairly easy to use, it’s been around since Jesus was a kid. For the price, I think you’re better off using Roots Magic Essentials.

FamilyTree Maker (ver. 2010)2 stars
Score: 4
What I like: Tight integration with, pretty user interface (UI), available from Costco who will take it back without hassle.
What I don’t like: SLOW to load, unintuitive user interface (UI), a bit difficult to navigate, very basic reports, problems importing gedcoms, creates non-standard gedcom exports, a bit pricey.
Price: $40
Comments: I tried hard to get used to this software (used it for over a month), but in the end, all I can say for it is that it LOOKS good. But it is VERY hard to use – I don’t recommend it for anyone, especially beginners – this program will suck the enthusiasm right out of you.

More Resources

Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

Comprehensive links to EVERYWHERE genealogical on the internet. You could spend hours on this site alone. Great resource.

Tips – My list of favorite tips for beginning researchers. This list will grow over time as I add more resources.