Saturday, April 24, 2021

17 of my favorite Databases, Tools, Websites, and Approaches

Picture of Blog during it's 12th year.

In keeping with my purpose of the blog, I am celebrating the 17th blogiversary of this blog with a favorites listing(in no particular order).  I've compiled a list of 17 of my favorite Databases, Tools, Websites, or Approaches that are helpful in furthering my family history research .  I've written a description of how each can be used but check out the link for more information on each resource. Please remember to check with and support your local libraries, county archives, and area genealogy & historical societies.  They have many items you won't find online and they need your help to thrive now more than ever.

1.  Genetic Affairs--This site contains tools developed by Evert-Jan Blom to help with analysis of your DNA match lists using clustering.  You can register for free and purchase credits which allows you to run a wide selection of reports.

2.  TN State Library & Archives website--They are great about answering questions via the Ask A Librarian chat and I've found a great deal of information about ancestors by ordering copies of articles(request form sent by USPS) and thru TN Supreme Court Case File orders.

3.  U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6482

You will need to be subscribed to Ancestry's US Records or access from a library which has a subscription.  As a side note, some of the discharge papers for WWI and WWII can be found using the next site I mention.

4.  FamilySearch Catalog Place Search for Area of Interest  County Records available online

Make sure you are logged on to the FamilySearch website.  Select Catalog---Search by Place---Enter your Location(Country, State, County--for the US) in Place Search ---Select Online Availability option and then hit that Search Button.

As I mentioned in the previous listing, discharge papers that were filed within the county for WWI or WWII for your location of interest should be under the Military Records section you see when viewing the Search Results if available.  You'll need to click thru to expand the listings under each category. Be sure to check under each category.  I found my ancestors listed in School Census and Roadwork

5.  AncestryDNA--the largest autosomal DNA database.  Once you receive your results, you can download your raw data and upload to other sites such as MyHeritage, FTDNA, and GEDmatch to compare with others who have uploaded or tested there.  Be sure to read each site's User Policy/Terms of Service.  AncestryDNA is the site I recommend testing at especially if you are an adoptee or have unknown direct ancestors at the parent or grandparent level.   

6.  GEDmatch-Free to use site with an upload.  Is not a testing site but rather a site where results can be uploaded and compared to others who have tested at any of the major DNA testing sites and uploaded to GEDmatch. Tier 1 DNA analysis tools available at $10 a month but basic tools are free.

7. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2469

You will need to be subscribed to Ancestry's US Records or access from a library which has a subscription.  Often overlooked by many, City Directories offer an insight into the lives of townspeople.  See my previous blog post--In Praise of City Directories.

8  Contacting libraries, records offices, museums, local history societies, historians etc--There are still plenty of things that you can learn without making a physical trip to the library or courthouse.  When I first began research I wrote LOTS of letters of inquiry.  Today it's much easier.  You can email or call. Don't expect them to do research for you but they can point you in the right direction and sometimes can give you public information from their database.  I learned more about records of the company for which my grandfather worked by sending an email inquiry.  This is just one example.  Google that company from which your ancestor retired.  Call or email that library in the area where your ancestors lived.  Email that Register of Deeds.

9.  DNA Painter & Interactive Shared cM Project with Relationship Probabilities--The DNA painter portion is Jonny Perl's tool for Chromosome Painting & so much more when it comes to visualizing your research.  The interactive Shared cM Project with Relationship Probabilities is a tool by Jonny Perl which uses Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Project info and the probability chart by TheDNAGeek.  The WATO tool is invaluable.

10. Hathitrust.org---Free Online Digital Library

What's not to love about free books!  I've had luck finding city directories, county histories and Governor's papers collections.

11. U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895 https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1582

You will need to be subscribed to Ancestry's US Records or access from a library which has a subscription.  I have found a wealth of information on collateral lines in this database which has led me to other records for my direct lines.

12.  MyHeritage DNA Tools--love the DNA Tools. If you upload your tests from other sites you can unlock the tools for a one time fee of $29(this is per kit instead of per acct unfortunately) Occasionally they will run a special where the tools are free with upload.  They have a chromosome browser and clustering tools as well as Theories of Family Relativity for DNA matches.  Other tools are photo editing tools to enhance, colorize and animate old photos.  Their site would be better were they to up their maximum amount of persons in their tree for free accounts.  250 is just too small. I'm sure they are reluctant because they began as a Tree hosting site but they could do so and restrict the number of photos to free accounts.  Their Theories of Relativity algorithm would reap the benefits from larger trees.

13. Legacy Family Tree Webinars--educational webinars covering a wide variety of research topics and techniques.  You can register to attend webinars which are free for a limited time after broadcast or you can subscribe to have access to the entire webinar library. This is an EXTREMELY valuable resource.

14.  Google Docs/Sheets/Slides--The Google office products which help me to organize share and make notes and charts of my research analysis.

15.  Newspapers.com--A newspaper database that is part of Ancestry.  This is pretty much an essential tool for me.  I do subscribe to the Publisher's Plus which contains much more than the basic plan but it's worth every bit of it.

16.  Thriftbooks--I order from them a good and like that I can earn points which I can use toward purchasing more books.  I used them when I was gathering books to research a number of subjects:  Civil War, Slavery/African-American research, War of 1812, American Revolution etc. 

17.  Facebook County History & Genealogy groups--these groups have been very helpful when needing advice from others researching the same topic or location.  Use the search box to search for topics and locations of interest within the group listings.  

Hope this listing is helpful and I hope to be blogging for many more years.--Marie

1 comment:

  1. While unable to edit after the fact, I believe you can upload big gedcoms to myheritage. I have one three person tree with my dna kit assigned to my place. I upload a fresh gedcom and move my kit to my place on the big tree. To upload a newer big tree I move my kit to the small tree, delete the big one, upload a new gedcom, and move my kit back to the big tree. I typically harvest my Theories of relativity and then update my tree...sometimes a couple of times...trying to bait ToR with the biggest tree.

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