The largest provider of family history records and resources is MyFamily.com.Inc. It is the parent company over five major genealogy Web sites, as listed below. These five sites provide both free and paid subscription services and service more than 600 million page views every month. In addition to their extensive Web sites and databases, MyFamily.com publishes Ancestry Magazine, Genealogical Computing Magazine, Ancestry Family Tree software, more than 50 book titles, the 1-2-3 Family Tree package, and many databases on CD-ROM.
1. MyFamily.com (www.my
family.com) provides private Web sites for families around the world. Through a variety of easy-to-maintain family Web sites, families from all over the world can plan events, keep in touch and strengthen relationships. In a secure, password-protected environment, MyFamily.com users hold family discussions, create online family photo albums, maintain a calendar of family events and share family history information at Internet speed and ease.
2. Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com) With more than three billion names and 4,000 searchable databases, Ancestry.com is a primary online source for family history information. Users have access to all available U.S. census records from 1790 through 1930. Users can search by record type, locality, or simply view scanned images of original historical documents. Access to these records is available through both free and fee-based subscriptions. About half of what is offered on Ancestry.com is free to all visitors. Users also have access to free family tree software, downloadable charts and forms, message boards and an entire library of articles and research tips.
3. Genealogy.com (www.genealogy.com) The original owners of this site created the best-selling Family Tree Maker software. Though now under the MyFamily.com umbrella, they continue to offer a wide range of genealogical data. Genealogy.com members can search through thousands of family and local histories, military records and a vast library of birth, marriage and death records.
4. RootsWeb.com (www.RootsWeb.com) hosts one of the oldest established message board communities on the Web. On any one day an average of 7,500 messages are posted to their message boards and mailing lists. The Roots
Web Surname List boasts a registry of more than one million surnames. Its WorldConnect Project contains more than 210 million ancestor names. RootsWeb also hosts the USGenWeb and WorldGen projects and archives, the Obituary Daily Times, FreeBMD, and CyndisList.
5. Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk) maintains an extensive archive of records from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition to more than 200 million total names, the UK site offers rare England and Wales census records, some from as early as the 1500s, along with civil, ecclesiastical and immigration records.
Understanding these sites and what can be found on each is perhaps not as important as knowing that the newer genealogy search engines can usually find what you are looking for no matter where it might be housed on the Web.
Next column I'll discuss a few of the sites that do not come under the MyFamily.com umbrella.