Some days ago esteemed genealogist James Tanner wrote about his top 10 programs for his family history work. Although I use different programs from James, I agree that even programs which are not designed exclusively for genealogy can be an important part of our research toolkit.
For example, I use the Office suite of programs extensively and couldn’t manage without them (or something similar like Google Docs etc). I have my contacts, my Kunkel database, and my East Clare Irish research in Access. Innumerable Excel spreadsheets of information help to make sense of discoveries that I’ve transcribed from various sources eg Family Search microfilms. Since I much prefer to document my family stories in narrative format, I also routinely use Word.
Observant readers over time will notice I’m not a big fan of genealogical programs per se. Nor do I greatly like having my tree online, though I’ve recently succumbed. I’ve been using the wonderful Australian-designed Relatively Yours for decades but sadly it’s no longer being maintained in any shape. When I get a stretch of time I plan to learn either Family Historian or Roots Magic.
Randy Seaver’s Top 10 list reminded me how different our genealogical gateways can be, depending on our family heritage and how recently our ancestors arrived in their new country. So here is my list – I wonder how many Aussies will use similar sites?
- *** TROVE. *** Trove just has to be #1 because it’s a world-leader and gives us insights into our families that are unavailable elsewhere, or so serendipitous as to be un-findable otherwise. Not only does it offer digitised newspapers from around Australia, it has digital images, links to relevant books, journals etc. You’d be surprised how often family from other countries are mentioned.
- State and County Archives & Civil Registration: which ones I’m using will depend on which bit of my research I’m tackling at the time, but most typically I’ll use the Queensland (Archives/ BDM) or New South Wales options with diversions to other states or UK counties/shires.
- Scotland’s People. I love this site almost as much as Trove and I’ve been using it “forever”. It lets me see digitised versions of original records so I know they’re spot on. I don’t get the concern over cost, because used in conjunction with other programs to narrow the options, it is cheaper than a cup of coffee.
- Irish Parish Registers (National Library of Ireland) and Irish Genealogy (indexed for some counties including Dublin..YAY!)
- National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial for military records and war diaries.
- Clare Library Genealogy & Family History site. This has long been an innovative leader in Irish research – you know how good it is when you need to find ancestors in other counties. Another I’ve been using “forever”.
- Ask about Ireland for Griffith’s Valuation maps and listings (Can be temperamental at times, but is invaluable for Irish research). Use this in conjunction with the surviving Irish census records for 1901 and 1911 from the National Archives of Ireland.
- Find My Past (world) for its excellent and diverse records from Ireland, great migration records and UK and Irish newspapers.
- Ancestry (world) – I often use my subscription to “work the system” and narrow down other options to search elsewhere. I find it more useful than FMP for searching the Irish parish registers because of the option to search by place only. I also use it for DNA.
- Family Tree DNA & GEDmatch for researching my DNA links – not always successfully.
Thanks to both James & Randy for getting me to reflect on which gateways work best for my research on a regular basis. I found it interesting how much our needs vary depending on our ancestry and how recent the immigration.
I wonder which gateways my readers find most useful in their research.