Useful Web Resources for Genealogy and Local History

Major Genealogical Resource Collections & Tools on the Web

101 Best Websites

From the Family Tree Maker Web site, this very comprehensive list contains 13 major categories:

AASLH: State Historical Societies

The American Association for State & Local History's Resource Center provides this page of links to State Historical Societies. Requires free registration to use national, state, or local materials.

AfriGeneas African Ancestored Genealogy

The Librarians' Index to the Internet calls this "a searchable collection of census records, slave data, and other documents. There is a surname database, calendar of reunions and other events, discussion forum and chat section, archived e-mail list, a beginner's genealogical research guide, and more. With its intent to find and document the last slaveholder and the first African in each family, the site encourages submissions of information and adoption of regions and topics for further research."

The Statue of Liberty—Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

Volunteers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have transcribed the detailed passenger lists, known as ship manifests, of the more than 22 million immigrants who came to Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. You can search for individuals in Passenger Search. Some areas of this site require registration (free), others require membership in the Foundation. The database is experiencing heavy use, so try to access the site during off-peak hours.

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American Local History Network

The American Local History Network (ALHN) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose purpose is to serve as the hub of a network of freely-accessible, independent historical and genealogical web sites maintained by volunteer webmasters. All ALHN websites are categorized by State or Topic.

Includes birth, death, marriage, divorce, and vital records from one easy-to-use search interface. Discover new connections to your family tree with cemetery listings, obituaries, burial, military records and much more. gives you access to over 1.3 billion digital records and is adding approximately 50,000 new records every day!

Bentley Historical Library (U. of M.)

A very substantial set of resources for Michigan and Washtenaw County genealogy and history.

Census Finder A Directory of Free Census Records

According to LII, this site contains over 35,000 links to census information. Primarily containing sites with U.S. data, the site also has some links to Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. (Not all areas of the countries covered are represented.) Types of sites include county/parish/province archives, message boards, and maps. Other features include a guide to historical museums in the U.S. and a section for Native American information. Advertising may obscure the free content, but it's there and worthwhile.

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Census Links

A directory of over 7,000 sites for genealogical research. While the majority are for the United States, several other countries are included. Resources for the United States may be browsed at the state or county level. Research Aids contains links specifically about the United States census. Searchable.

Census Tools

A collection of free Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to download for recording census data. Includes forms for all federal U.S. Census data, some state censuses, Canadian, English, Irish, and Scottish censuses, and special topics such as the 1890 Surviving Veterans and Widows Schedule.

Christine's Genealogy Website

Christine Cheryl Charity's comprehensive collection of African American genealogical resources.

City Directories of the USA

City Directories, arguably one of the most over-looked resources by genealogists, have been around since the 1700s. This web site will attempt to identify all printed, microfilmed, and online directories, and their repositories, for the United States...[in order to] answer these questions: does a directory exist for a locality? If it does, where can it be found? Includes examples of directory use and a bibliography.

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Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

The initial focus of this site is the Names Index Project, containing information from the 5.4 million military records in the National Archives.

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

Over 263,150+ links for family history ! 254,750 of which are organized and cross-referenced in 180+ categories.


Developed by the Church of Latter Day Saints, this site links to more than 1 billion names of people some back to 1500—many with family charts. It also includes links specific to African American, Jewish, and Hispanic research. It also has a Spanish Language section. Family Search International in April 2010 announced plans to add 300 million additional names extracted from original sources that include many collections that have never before been available online.

Frequently occurring First Names and Surnames from the 1990 Census

Includes lists of the 10 most common surnames, the 10 most common female first names, and the 10 most common male first names, as well as a search form which allows one to learn how often a name appears in the 1990 U.S. census.

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A very plain, but informative, site with a wide variety of information on heraldry and related topics, in the form of texts, images, and links. There are 500+ articles and 2100 images available.

Searchable database of more than 3.5 million records from over 7,500 cemeteries. contains thousands of transcriptions of cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions, from cemeteries in the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

Library of Congress Local History & Genealogy Reading Room

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and historical publications, which began as early as 1815 when Thomas Jefferson's library was purchased. In addition to these print resources, a strong collection of genealogical links is included on this page.

List of State of Michigan Historical and Genealogical Resources

Genealogy Research at the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan

A rich source for Michigan Genealogy & Local History Research, including excellent advice and bibliographies, and downloadable .pdf documents.

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Michigan Vital Statistics

Records of births, marriages, and deaths that occurred in Michigan and were filed with the state since 1867. Michigan divorce records since 1897 are also available.

NARA: National Archives and Records Administration: The Genealogy Page

This page provides many finding aids, "quick guides", and research tools that can prepare you for a visit to the facility, or requesting records from NARA. Records housed at the National Archives include Federal Population Census (1790-1930), military service and pension records, immigration and naturalization records.

Nat'l Archives of Canada

ArchiviaNet, the National Archives of Canada's online research tool "provides access to a variety of information resources related to the actual archival holdings." In the Canadian Genealogy Centre, you may search such topics as ethnic groups, births, marriages and deaths, census, military and immigration records.

The Newberry Library

Chicago's legendary privately-funded research library offers one of the nation's most prominent collections, including useful guides on ethnic groups.

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Genealogical Research at the  New York Public Library

One of the largest genealogical and local history collections in the country with "how-to" manuals, passenger lists, census records, U. S. military sources, D.A.R. and Irish sources.

Obituary Central

Research tools to help you locate obituaries across the world.

The Official Federal Land Patent Records Site

This is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation web site, offering access to Federal Land Conveyance records for the Public Land States. It includes image access to more than 2 million records.

Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid

Contains surnames, cemetery names and locations of over 2 million internments in the Ontario, Canada area.

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Interactive Search

Updated monthly, this master death index contains information on 86,525,982 Americans who were issued a Social Security number and for whom a death benefit is recorded. Updated weekly.

Surname to Soundex Code Translator

A very comprehensive list of sites and tools, including software. The National Archives established the Soundex system as a means to index the U.S. censuses by coding together surnames of the same and similar sounds, but of different spellings.

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USGenWeb Project

One of the most important genealogical websites. The USGenWeb project's web pages are designed and maintained by volunteers, providing websites from every county and state.

Where to Write for Vital Records

From the Center for Disease Control—Links to every state providing users with guidelines to access birth, death, marriage, and divorce records.

WorldGenWeb project

Much like the USGenWeb Project, the WorldGenWeb Project's goal is to have "every country in the world represented by an online website and hosted by researchers who either live in their own country or who are familiar with their country's resources."

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Michigan Genealogical Resources

Oakland County Resources

Libraries with Strong Genealogical Resource Collections

Genealogical Research Databases

Please Note: If you are coming in from the web at home or outside the Library, most titles on this list will require your Farmington Community Library Card bar code number and the last 4 digits of your home phone number for access. A few resources are available only from within the library, and these titles are so noted. Logo Image Ancestry Library Edition

 Ancestry Library Edition has a new, simplified search screen and contains the following enhancements not previously available in MeL: Passenger lists from all major U.S. ports including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans; Naturalization records ranging from 1700 to 1900; Immigration records for more than 100 countries Increase of more than 10 million names; an improved viewer for documents. 

Biography & Genealogy Master IndexBiography and Genealogy Master Index

 Indexes current, readily available reference sources, as well as the most important retrospective works that cover individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world. Bibliographic citations only. 

HeritageQuest OnlineHeritageQuest Online

Some full text. Includes all of the images and extensive indexing from the 1790–1930 U.S. federal censuses. It offers more than 22,000 digitized book titles, including early family histories and local histories. Additionally, there are more than 250 primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, probate records and more. It also includes Periodical Source Index (PERSI), Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, the Freedman?s Bank Records, and the U.S. Serial Set Private Relief Actions, Memorials and Petitions. )