My current “Top 5” favourite family history sites

It’s been a bit of a blogging drought here lately as I’ve prepared for two big Zoom presentations – one at the Genealogy Society of Queensland’s Irish Seminar Day and the other a presentation and practical display of blogging for genealogy at Queensland Family History Society. Then there’s been the launch of ANZ Ancestry Time and a weekly twitter fest at @ANZAncestryTime and using hashtag #ANZAncestryTime.

I thought I’d use Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Fun this week to get back in the blogging groove.

Your Top 5 Paid Family History Sites

Yes, I know it’s not Saturday any more but I’ve finally got a little time so this was a quick one to do and I wanted to share my favourites.

  1. Scotland’s People

In my opinion, it’s essential for Scottish research and to see the original digitised records rather than just indexes. Yes, it costs money but not a lot especially if you search in other sites first to narrow down your option. You can also buy credits when the currency exchange rate is in your favour. Having said that, I’ve probably squandered my children’s inheritance with it over many years.

  1. FindMyPast

While I find the search clunkier than it was in earlier incarnations, you really can’t go without FindMyPast if you have Irish research. They have made it their niche market and they have so much data there, including the original Land Valuation maps.

John Grenham’s Irish Ancestors’ site provides an excellent complement for Irish research.

  1. Ancestry

My usage of Ancestry has grown over the years though I still feel it favours US record sets. Once upon a time I was dismissive of the trees on it and still treat them with caution. However, they do provide good clues to cousins…as usefully as DNA matches in many ways. Ancestry also lets me search for branches or twigs who emigrated elsewhere.

It’s impossible to ignore Ancestry because of its huge world-wide DNA dataset. Unfortunately it’s then necessary to move raw data to other sites to cluster map or paint your matched segments. If only…..

  1. DNAPainter

Yes, much of this can be used freely but the additional options of an inexpensive subscription are very useful in exploring your DNA connections.

  1. My Heritage

I don’t really like the search here but there are certainly more European matches in trees and so I’ve found links to my German line that I haven’t found elsewhere.

As with the other paid sites, it helps to search the catalogue to see what records they hold for your places of interest.

And there’s so much more as well on other sites.

My five favourite FREE sites for Family History

  1. Trove

Show me an Aussie who doesn’t have Trove in their top 5 and I’ll tell you they’re fibbing!

It offers us wonderful news, photos, stories etc that reveal our family’s stories in a way that was impossible before. We can tag stories, clip or download the image, put the story in a list (confidential or public), research communities….and it’s world class. I’d rate it easily the best quality and most user-friendly of any research news site anywhere. AND it archives Aussie genealogy blogs for posterity in its Pandora Archies.

  1. Queensland Birth, Deaths and Marriages

My favourite is Queensland’s which now offers so much information to give you confidence you can order the correct certificate…and do order certificates, they are “must have” documents for research. Most other states have similar search facilities.


    National Library of Ireland
    National Library of Ireland

Free searching for Irish civil records and some Irish church records. Includes not just an index but images except for deaths 1864-1869 which will come eventually. Cut off dates are the standard ones for privacy regulations.

  1. National Archives of Ireland

So many options for free searching including census, convicts, wills etc

  1. Australian Military Records

Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia are tie-breakers because they include so much information on military service for Australia. The Australian Archives includes digitised images of attestation records for World War I.

Australia is so fortunate to have a wide range of free records to search and explore.

Thanks Randy for prompting me to think about which research sites I use regularly.

Which sites do you use and how do they compare with my current favourites?

8 thoughts on “My current “Top 5” favourite family history sites

  1. Great blog Pauleen, and your sites get the tic of approval from me, totally agree on all fronts. I do find that it depends on my target location which I use. I’ve been helping someone with purely London city family from the past 200 years and worthwhile using Ancestry but via its collection series ie LMA. Also helping another with Irish, Find My Past is tops by a mile, alongside all the free Irish sites.
    Looking forward to hearing you on the Exploring Irish Ancestry seminar on Saturday week!


    1. Thanks Bobbie. I agree that the Top 5 can change when you’re focused on different areas. I guess I’ve been in Irish mode lately for some reason 😉

      I may need your tips on London !


  2. Paperspast, Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, BDM in NZ. That’s my list because I have so much to still find in these ones they have been the same ones for years. Hoping to get onto Scotland’s people one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris
    Your FREE list would match mine, though I would probably also sneak in Australian Cemeteries Index and Gutenberg.
    The paid sites.. definitely Find My Past and Scotland’s People…though I rarely get a chance to visit either… Ancestry at times…and that’s about it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looking good Pauleen. I know what you mean about the header. You’ll get there. I felt the same about mine. We just have to persevere. You’ve reminded me to put in a Presentations page now on my Blog. Woohoo! Is the Inside History’s Hall of Fame badge meant to be clickable? That’s all from me. Over and out 🙂


    1. Thanks Alex. Can’t seem to change the header font size as best I can tell. I need to do a major update on my presentations. Hmm,will see if the link to Hall of Fame still exists.


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