My Top 10 Genealogy Gateways

My Top 10Some 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?

  1. *** 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Irish Parish Registers (National Library of Ireland) and Irish Genealogy (indexed for some counties including Dublin..YAY!)
  5. National Archives of Australia and the Australian War Memorial for military records and war diaries.
  6. 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”.
  7. 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.
  8. Find My Past (world) for its excellent and diverse records from Ireland, great migration records and UK and Irish newspapers.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


15 thoughts on “My Top 10 Genealogy Gateways

  1. I too read Randy’s post and contemplated on how different my top ten would be. If I can find the time and concentration in the coming days I will reflect on my toolbox too. I can already see that we agree on some eg Trove. I wonder what else I would include!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have used some that you use, especially Trove for my Australian ancestors. Being Canadian I use different ones, but the government ones can be the same for other countries.
    As you can tell from my blog I use Internet Archive a LOT. Many of the books there hold the names of some of my ancestors. Now of course they include the Ireland Papers. Others are…
    – Our Roots – Canadian local histories
    – Sessional Papers of Canada – I have a couple of ancestors that did work for the government, but also my 2x ggf was a carpenter and made furniture for gov’t offices, and another ancestor that sold produce to the hostpitals in Montreal.
    -Canada Gazette, for things like starting a company or bankruptcy, divorce, and military promotions.
    – Find a Grave – I like this because I can link all my ancestors no matter where they lived or died.

    On my blog I have a resource page with lists of links I use for different countries, including Australia, Ireland and Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dianne, lots of good tips there…handy to know what others use in different countries. I haven’t explored the internet archive books as much but have success with German newspapers in Google books (not Google News)


  3. Hi Pauleen, Given that all of my roots are Irish, I use Ancestry, Findmypast and Askabout Ireland most often. I’m glad that Ancestry has indexed the parish records, although there are still some missing, and that the images are available for free. I like some of the search functions on familysearch and often use that in conjunction with Ancestry or Findmypast. The latter, by the way, is wonderful for its petty session court records where I have found many interesting and colourful anecdotes about ancestors. I also still like to trawl through the Parish Registers on the National Library of Ireland’s site just to see who else is around and about in my families’ parishes. All very time-consuming.

    I have been surprised though at the extent to which I’ve also used such sites as Canadian census records, where I found immigrant siblings of my Great Grandparents and subsequently found a death record that provided their parents’ names in Ireland. I’ve used Trove a little for my Pembroke relatives in Queensland as well.

    Probably my most used sites these days are FTDNA and Gedmatch where I spend way too much time trying to figure out DNA matches – and as you said, often without much success. I always feel though that I am verging on great break-throughs with at least some of my 1300+ matches!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d be happy if we got a breakthrough on two matches Maureen. There really are so many sites and Ireland requires more specific ones. I keep hoping for more Gorey petty courts records for my Callaghans. I ran out of numbers for Family Search though I’ve used it extensively for microfilms and to second guess other searches.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would add PapersPast the New Zealand equivalent of Trove. Yes, I have NZ relations, but also many Australian families crossed back and forth to and from New Zealand over the centuries.
    I would also add BillionGraves as a supplement for Find-a-Grave. Sometimes images can be found in BG but not in FAG and vice-versa.


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