Genealogy Links

Over the years, I’ve had lots of aspiring genealogists ask me where to start looking on line. I’ve compiled a list of a few resources here. Some of these are obscure links that I’ve had on my site since it began in 2001, but I left them up because they’re still active and – of course – I have a fondness for history. I’m not paid to endorse these sites, by the way. I’ve just found them helpful in my own research.

Find a Grave
This site has certainly expanded since I started using it. Many many volunteers have not only added pictures of graves, they’ve now also often included genealogical data, as well. Many of the family members are also linked. It’s a great resource for finding more clues to the whereabouts of long lost ancestors. They have a mobile app, too!

This is the Latter Day Saints’ search page. I have found at least 100 birth records here that led me back to my 17th and 18th century ancestors. It’s a wonderful resource that includes the 1881 censuses from the U.S., Canada, and England.

Their pilot program has yielded lots of vital records of interest to me:

Heritage Quest
I had free access to this site when I lived in Maryland. I see Michigan residents can access it from home now. Check your own local library online to see if you can use this site in your state.

Cornwall Online Parish Clerk
If you have ancestors in the U.K., you’re in luck. Birth records are available from 1837, and I’ve also received copies of marriage records for my St. Breward ancestors. It’s a handy site. Sometimes extra clues can be gained by seeing the records in register order, so some are also available either on the OPCwebsite, or on individual OPCs’ sites (see the individual parish pages to find direct links to the material).
I use this one the most. I swore I would never pay for my genealogy information, but I’m forced to eat my words. This information that I’ve gathered from this site makes it well worth the membership cost.

These message boards have led me to lots of connections. (See the story of William Robroy McGregor’s photos and the article about South Bend Genealogy Society volunteer, Irv Morse.)

Counties and States – This page on the rootsweb site lets you enter any city and state and gives you the county. It’s a big help when you need to find censuses and vital records.
Note: February 2024 – I haven’t been able to find this specific page, but the site refers to a book called Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Read this article on Reddit about the dismantling of Rootsweb. I spent hours using Rootsweb and connecting with cousins back in the day. It will be missed!

Trace Your Family Roots From Immigration to US Citizenship: A Genealogy Guide
I’ve used to look up cousins, but I never saw this valuable page. This resource was sent to me by a helpful 8th grade class in Maine. Thanks, kids!

People Search: Genealogy ResourcesI’ve used to look up cousins, but I never saw this valuable page. This resource was sent to me by another helpful 8th grade class. I always appreciate genealogy tips.

Order Vital Records Online
I ordered 2 death certificates online and they were in my possesion in a couple of weeks. You have to sign up for Vitalcheck to order and use a credit card, but it was convenient and fast. I could even check the progress by signing in with the order processing number they give you. Fast and easy!

Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid
This is where I’ve found dozens of the Canada family members and where they are buried. It’s a great starting point. It helped me tremendously in researching the Billings, Bromells, and Rushtons of Elgin and Brant, Ontario.

Tombstone Birthday Calculator
This is a big help with old tombstones that tell the date of death and the exact age in years, months, and days.

By the way, to do this calculation by hand when the online calculator is not available, use the 8870 formula (the calculator calls this the 30 day month length). Example: If a person died May 6, 1889 at age 71 years, 7 months and 9 days:

18890506 Year, day, month of death (yyyymmdd)
-710709 Subtract age at death (yymmdd)
-8870 Subtract constant 8870
18170927 = Born 27 Sept. 1817 (yyyymmdd) This person was born on September 27, 1817

Perpetual Calendar
Ever find an obituary dated more than a century earlier that doesn’t give the exact date? Well, if it it’s got the date of the paper, like May 6, 1899, and it says, “So and so died on Wednesday,” use this site to find Wednesday’s date in a snap.

The St. Thomas Cemetery
I’ve gotten lots of help from the caretaker of this cemetery, Lesley Cairns. (See Archives from December 2001.)

Gopher Records: Online Confederate Records
The Palmer side is from Virginia, so a site for researching Civil War Confederate records is helpful. This site specializes in the retrieval of Civil War and other 19th-century military records from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), including service records, pensions, medical records, Court Martial records, Bounty Land records, and others. They will duplicate the records of your choice and deliver them faster and at a much lower cost than if you ordered them directly from NARA. This site includes a chart showing the most significant Confederate records that are available online with direct links to the search engines for those databases.

Note: for pension records, look in the state(s) where the veteran and/or his widow lived after the war, not the state for which he served. For an overview of Confederate pensions, see this article.

The Visitations of Cornwall
Visitations of Cornwall, Comprising The Heralds’ Visitations of 1530, 1573, & 1620. With additions by Lieutenant-Colonel J. L. Vivian. Exeter: William Pollard & Co., North Street. 1887
Discovering this fantastic resource changed everything! My second great grandfather is listed at the bottom of the tree, which links my heritage back to Richard Billing of Trevorder born ~1450 in Cornwall, England. My ancestry is found on pages 32 and 33. If you have ancestors from Cornwall, this resource may be of value to your research. I highlighted my ancestor at the bottom of the tree on page 33.