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Family Research Tips & Tools
Genealogy Resources

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Tracking Down
Your Ancestors


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Finding Your
Roots Online


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The Census Book:

A Genealogist's Guide
to Federal Census Facts, Schedules
and Indexes


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Organizing Your
Family History


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The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods
for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall


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The Hidden Half of

the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy


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Family Tree Maker 2010 Deluxe


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The Complete Idiot's
Guide to Online Genealogy,
Second Edition


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Address Book
for Germanic
Genealogy 6th ed.


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Genealogy 101:
How to Trace Your
Family's History
and Heritage


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Genealogy Online
for Dummies


o offer tips and tools for those interested in genealogy and familty history research, we have a blog called Relative Musings. The home page will always have the most recent entry on top. An index to the blog articles appears here. Our aim is helping people discover all the free and low-cost resources available -- namely, finding family for free.

Blog topics include genealogy tips as well as personal musings on the results of my own research. The blog augments our two key Web guides -- Genealogy Resources and Brick Wall Genealogy -- with links to advice and databases. We also have a group at GenealogyWise called Finding Family for Free, with more ideas for you. And follow us on Twitter for genealogy updates, tips and strategies.

Finding Family For Free: A Series     [ Top ]

As long as you have an Internet connection, you can begin your family history research free -- except your personal commitment of time.

Part I - Interview Family Members: Start with what you and your family already know about the close generations of your kin. The key is to get it organized and recorded.

Part II - Google Searches:  Thanks to a wealth of genealogy detail on plain HTML Web pages, a basic Google search can turn up information on your ancestors, for free.

Part III - Census Records: Census documents offer a wealth of details about family members. See how can help you start census research for free.

Part IV - Immigration Records:  Using free online immigration databases for Castle Garden and Ellis Island in New York City can help you discover when ancestors arrived

Part V - Charts & Forms:  Before going too much further, obtain forms and charts for organizing your research and the family details you discover. Links to a wealth of free forms, charts and more provided.

Part VI - This free Web-based service allows people to upload information they have gathered about ancestors -- and lets others find the postings via a search tool.  Check to see if any of your ancestors are included here.

Part VII - Email Lists: offers more than 30,000 email discussion lists based on surnames, U.S. states, international countries or other. You can connect with people with genealogy interests similar to yours -- and you may find just the missing information you've been needing.

Part VIII - GenForums: offers a large number of free online forums for surnames, states, counties and countries. Learn how they can really help you make discoveries.

Part IX - USGenWeb: Extraordinary volunteers transcribe documents, run Web sites and more. Learn how the network of county and state sites within USGenWeb can help you.

Part X - City Directories:  Transcribed early city directories -- whether online or in a library -- can help you discover your ancestors' line of work, their residential address and the time period they lived in a certain locale. And perhaps illuminate how your ancestors met their mates.

Part XI - Obituaries: Obituaries can help fill in your family story, both with specific facts you've been seeking and also a sense of an ancestor's life.

Part XII - Multiple Documents: Gathering many different documents and records on a single person or family will help you produce a hightly accurate family tree or history -- and can help you break through a brick wall in research. These will likely will come at a modest cost.

Part XIII - Continuous Correspondence:  To keep moving forward, keep up a steady flow of correspondence with cousins, people who post about a surname of interest, genealogy and history societies and more.

Part XIV - Alumni Class Notes: If your ancestors attended a college or university, you may find class notes on engagements, weddings, births, careers, awards and, at the end, obituaries.

Part XV - Books:  If your ancestors had their lives recorded in biosketches, memoirs, biographies or family genealogy books, your own family research will benefit.

Census Sources: Here are various ways to find United States Census Records online and free.

Genealogy Volunteers: When you've hit a brickwall on a family line, turn to discussion groups and forums where volunteers can help you.

City Directories Again: Use old city directories in libraries, via rented microfilm or on the Web. They can be the key to unlock family mysteries.

Top 10 Genealogy Sites: Here are the top 10 Web sites, both free and paid, that helped me find all of my ancestral lines.

Misspelled Names: Genealogy records are full of mispelled names. Learn to see a name in a record that might be your ancestor and follow up. I did and finally proven my father's ancestry.

All Google Searches: In addition to regular Google searches, search Google Books, News Archives and more. You'll find your family free!

Networking with GenealogyWise: The new social network for genealogists can link you to people who can help. Visit me there or visit my Finding Family for Free group at GW!

Twitter for Genealogy: Learn how to use this free Web tool to connect with genealogists, new ideas for research, and to share with others.

Genetic Genealogy: Explore your deep ancestry by having your mtDNA or Y DNA tested. You can find your roots and ancestral migrations from thousands of years ago.

This is a series of genealogy and family history
research ideas to help you find your family and ancestors for modest or no cost.

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First Steps in Genealogy: A Beginner's Guide to Researching Your Family History


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The Sleuth Book for Genealogists: Strategies for
More Successful
Family History Research


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They Came in Ships:

Finding Your
Immigrant Ancestor's
Arrival Record


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Books, Family
Tree Software
& More


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500 Brickwall

Solutions to
Genealogy Problems


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More Brickwall
Solutions to
Genealogy Problems


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Netting Your Ancestors:

Research on the Internet


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Deep Ancestry:
Inside The
Genographic Project


More from Relative Musings      [ Top ]

Seeking German Ancestors:  If your ancestors were born in Germany, you may find this entry in our Relative Musings blog to be helpful in determining where they were from and how to connect with people in Germany who may be able to assist you.

Go on Location:  An extraordinary way to learn about your ancestors is to visit the towns and cities -- and even the houses -- where they lived. Read about a visit to the Benjamin Church House in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, for an example.

Sherman A. Bradley: A three-year search for his ancestors led to the Bradley family of New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut, in the 1600s, and then back to Yorkshire, England.

Frederick Bruce: A three-year search led to the discovery of Martin Friedrich Bruss, wife Sophie nee Stiemke, and sons August, Martin and Johann arriving together in 1839, among the Old Lutherans from Prussia who left for religious freedom.

Genealogy Products    [ Top ]

Visit our Genealogy Shop for family history and genealogy books, software and other and products today. Check out the sections for German genealogy, Irish genealogy and much more.

See also our
> Genealogy Resources and
> Brick Wall Genealogy
Web pages for more help in researching your family history and roots. And visit us at GenealogyWise for social networking!.And

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Genealogist's Guide
to Discovering Your

Germanic Ancestors


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Cream City
Chronicles: Stories

of Milwaukee's Past


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Genealogist's Guide
to Discovering Your Female Ancestors: Special Strategies

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Your Guide to the Federal
Census: For Genealogists, Researchers, Family Historians


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Courthouse Research

for Family Historians: Your
Guide to Genealogical

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Smart Family History:
New Ideas for Maximising
Your Research

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Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records


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RootsMagic Family
Tree Genealogy


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The Complete Idiot's
Guide to Online Genealogy,
Second Edition

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The Unpuzzling Your

Past Workbook:
Essential Forms and
Letters for All Genealogists

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In Search of Your German Roots. The Complete Guide to Tracing Ancestors in Germanic Areas of Europe

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Encyclopedia of

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More Brickwall
Solutions to
Genealogy Problems


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Planting Your Family
Tree Online: How to
Create Your Own

Family History
Web Site

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Map Guide to the
U.S. Federal


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Walking With Your Ancestors: A Genealogist's Guide
to Using Maps
and Geography


aps for Genealogy   [ Top ]

Using Maps in Genealogy Research: a fact sheet with links and map resources

Using Maps and Gazetteers: three reasons why maps can help your ancestor search

Search Old US Maps and use search tools to find locationst

Maps of Wisconsin   [ Top ]

1895 Wisconsin Atlas: state and county maps plus index to towns, cities

Historical Maps of Wisconsin: digital maps

Wisconsin History Reference Maps

WorldAtlas Map Collection for Wisconsin: historic maps. outline maps, plus facts about Wisconsin, famous people, more

Wisconsin Counties Map and click for individual county maps in PDF format


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Map Guide to
American Migration
Routes, 1735-1815


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The Atlas of
Ethnic Diversity
in Wisconsin


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Finding Your Family
on the Internet: The Ultimate Guide

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They Became Americans:
Finding Naturalization Records
and Ethnic Origins

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They Came To
America: Finding Your
Immigrant Ancestors

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Finding Your German Ancestors : A

Beginner's Guide


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Created 5/1/2009 | Updated 2/11/2013

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