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Genealogy Resources

There are two basic groups of resources either online or through traditional research: Location-based and Surname-based. You can find out about people by researching the places that they were or by what their surname is. General resources are often indices to one or the other. On this page the emphasis will be on free resources available online.
Location-Based
Site Description
USGenWeb The USGenWeb Project started out with the ambitious aim of creating a web site for every county in the United States. It has come close to this in a few short years with volunteer help. Starting from the main page you can select a state, and from the state page you can select a county/parish/town.
WorldGenWeb Patterned after the USGenWeb Project, the WorldGenWeb Project creates web sites for various countries of the world. Some countries also have separate sites for political subdivisions.
ALHN Like the USGenweb Project, the American Local History Network is a volunteer organization creating web sites for counties all across the United States.
GenConnect The GenConnect Project is a group of message boards which allow researchers to post messages, search through them, and post responses.
GenForum Similar to the GenConnect query boards only for state level instead of county level.
Surname-Based
GENDEX GENDEX was an index to web sites. A person could submit the names of persons from their web site, and GENDEX would redirect searches to that web site. Sadly this project closed without any way of replacing it.
WorldConnect The WorldConnect Project allows persons to submit files created by their family tree software, filter out living persons, and present their data in a standard, searchable format.
SSDI The Social Security Death Index is a file of all the persons who have had a death record filed with the US Social Security Administration. Although this is available many places online, I believe the Rootsweb index is the best because it allows you to enter a post-it note on a person's record so other searchers can contact you.
GenConnect Just like the location based, there are message boards for thousands of surnames.
GenForum Similar to the GenConnect query boards.
Miscellaneous
Gradfinder Gradfinder is only free index to school alumni that I've found. There are a lot of alumni sites but they all want you to pay before they will give you another alumni's email address. The downside is that it is not as big as a lot of others. The only way to fix that is to get the word out!
familysearch.org The resource site of the Mormon church has the Ancestral File and IGI (International Genealogical Index) online as well as a catalog to the resources they have for sale and available for loan at their many Family History Centers. They also have PAF (Personal Ancestra File, a program for entering and organizing your family tree) available free to download.