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Ancestor Search Help & How To

Search for your ancestors using this interactive directory of the best free genealogy search engines. Search top world-wide & specialized genealogy databases from one genealogy search site! The Ancestor Search site also has unique custom genealogy search engines found no where else.

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Genealogy Finding Aids, Search Tips, Guides and Help, and Record Resources

Genealogy Finding Aids, Search Tips, Guides and Help, and Record Resources

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Genealogy Database Search Engine Help

  • Surname Finder
    Enter your surname once, search multiple world-wide genealogy search engines. A surname specific search engine that searches genealogy databases and finds surnames even if a common word.

  • Social Security Death Index - SSDI
    Ways to find your ancestors in the US SSDI - even if you couldn't find them before - and what to do with the info when you do find them!
    • Info you will find on the SSDI
    • Info you will NOT find on the SSDI
    • Comparison of the 5 online SSDI search engines
    • Unique search tips to locate hard to find ancestors in the SSDI

  • RootsWeb Meta Search
    Search the many free RootsWeb search engines with a single click.
    • World Connect project
    • Obituary Daily Times
    • RootsWeb Surname List
    • Social Security Death Index
    • Gen Connect

  • New Family Search
    Mormon Genealogy - The largest repository of original digitized records in the world. Understanding the databases at the new LDS genealogy family site.
    • Search by Location
    • Search by Family Tree

  • Old Family Search
    The largest repository of genealogy in the world. Understanding the databases at the old (and still available) LDS (Mormon) genealogy family site.
    • Ancestral File
    • International Genealogical Index (IGI)
    • Pedigree Resource File (PRF)

  • U. S. Census
    The census can provide info about family members and relationships, locations, birth years, immigration, and military service.

    • U. S. Census Guide
      Guide, Clues & Research Tips for the U. S. Federal Census 1790-1930.
      • On-line and off-line census
      • Census finding aids and indexes
      • Census questions
      • What can be learned from the census
      • Census dates
      • NARA Census microfilm numbers

    • Census Database Chart
      Compares the on-line census by,, Heritage Quest, and the LDS for the years 1790 through 1930 so one can see at a glance which company has an index and census for each year. Also, lists whether the index is every name or head of household.
    • Census Abbreviations
      Guide to abbreviations found on US census

    • Census Microfilm Numbers
      Guide to NARA microfilm numbers for census index.
      • 1920
      • 1910
      • 1900
      • 1890 fragments
      • 1880

  • Family Trees
    Learn the difference between the various family tree databases online.

  • The Ellis Island Website
    Haven't been able to find your ancestor on the Ellis Island website? These ideas may help!

  • Soundex Searches
    The benefit of genealogy search engines that have soundex (phonetic) options. It is easier to find your ancestors on the soundex census index and soundex search engines if you understand the soundex code and its limitations

Google Search Help

  • Easy Google Genealogy Searcher
    Can't remember all the Google tricks you've heard? Want to learn some things you probably had no idea Google could do? Google Searcher puts advanced Google features on one page with suggested keywords and advice about how each feature is useful for genealogists. Learn the many possibilities Google offers for genealogy searches and become a Google expert.

  • Google
    If you haven't tried searching for your ancestors using Google, you will be amazed at all Google can do. Learn all the Google tricks.

  • Step by Step Google
    Follow these step-by-step Google interactives searches to learn all the Google tricks.

Record your Heritage

Records Repositories Help

  • Irish Records Resources
    Resources to help find your Irish Ancestor.

  • UK Records Resources
    Resources to help find your UK, English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Ireland Ancestor.

  • U.S. State Archives
    Archives often contain documents relating to the history of the state including military records and pension files, county and local histories, diaries, letters, manuscripts, directories, tax rolls, deeds, land grants, voter registration rolls, photographs and other unusual materials. Sometimes, the state archives will hold birth, marriage, death and probate records.

Relationship Help

  • Cousin Calculator
    Calculate the relationship between two blood relatives. Relationship and Family Terms and Definitions. Find out the meaning of such terms as a first cousin twice removed.

Resource Help

  • Ancestry Freebies
    Totally and always free databases at

  • Genealogy Freebies
    Free genealogy resources: charts, lessons, software, databases, lookups, relationship charts, form letters, translation services, clip art, contests. All free!

  • Genealogy Free Trials
    Free trials to Ancestry and databases. Census, immigration, UK & Ireland, Newspaper Collection, Genealogy Library, Family and Local Histories, much more. Why pay when you can view for free?

Search Engine Help

Date and Calendar Help

Find Living People

  • Person Finder
    A Step by Step Guide finding long lost people.

  • People Finder
    A Premium Resource for finding lost family, birth parents, missing friends, military buddies, and loved ones.

  • Reverse Directory
    Enter name, address OR phone number. Find people on same block, or enter an address or phone # to get a name!

  • Build a WebPage
    Looking for missing pieces in your family puzzle? One way to have your distant cousins find you and facilitate your own research is by building a genealogy web page.

Software Help

Surname Help

U. S. Military Help

Military Records are an often overlooked way to find a tremendous amount of genealogical information.

  • U. S. Military Help
    Ways to determine if your ancestor served in the military and possibly received a pension. Instructions in ordering military records from the Nation Archives (NARA).

  • US Military Research guides
    Assistance in using NARA's records for your research for all US wars

  • US State Archives
    Order Military records for the US militia.

  • Confederate Records
    How to order Confederate records held at state repositories.

  • NARA Guide
    Ordering military records from NARA

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  •   Build your family tree online for FREE! will use what you enter to find more about your family's ancestors.

  •   Free Ancestry Databases
    Free databases listed by location and popularity.

  • Site Features

  •   Genealogy Records Search
    Search for your ancestors by record type.

  •   Search by Location
    Search for your ancestors by country.

  •   Free Genealogy
    Free genealogy resources: charts, lessons, software, databases, look ups, relationship charts, form letters, translation services.

  • Coupons & Deals
    Special offers, coupons, coupon codes, discounts, sales & deals

  •   FTM 2014
    Family Tree Maker 2014 list of improvements

  •   Mormon Genealogy
    Find your family in the free online databases of digitized original world-wide records.

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