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Discovering your roots online: The top websites for genealogical research

Mar 19, 2012, 9 a.m.

What better gift to leave your children than a detailed history of your ancestors? Tracing your family tree has never been easier. The advent of the Internet has given researchers like you access to documents all over the world without your even having to leave your living room. However, some ancestry websites are better than others. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  1. Ancestry.com. This subscription service puts you in touch with more than six billion documents in the United States and abroad as well as the (possibly interlacing) family trees of other Ancestry.com members. They offer a free 14-day trial so you can see if you like the service before signing up. Many libraries also belong to Ancestry.com and offer the service free to their members.
  2. Genealogy at About.com. Part of the About.com family of informational sites, this website is a virtually treasure trove of information on finding your ancestors and tracing your family tree. The more than 5,000 pages on this site include such topics as the meanings of foreign language surnames, tracing ancestors overseas and how to access government records.
  3. Archives.gov. A good place to start on any search for your ancestors, this government site puts you in touch with US military records, property records, naturalization records, and other government documents.

Don't put off tracing your family tree. The information you uncover will tell you more about who you and where your family came from. What's more: The results are something you and your children will cherish for years and year to come.

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