Each of these sites provides useful tips for family history research.
Charts and Forms
Free charts and forms are available for downloading and printing, including ancestral charts, family group sheets and research extract sheets. Provided by Ancestry.com.
Genealogical Records at the Library of Virginia
Describes basic sources for Virginia research. Most of the printed sources are available in the Virginia Room of the City of Fairfax Regional Library; call numbers may vary.
Genealogical Standards and Guidelines
A useful set of research standards created by the National Genealogical Society.
This page provides a wealth of information, including a fine set of links on Native American genealogy.
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
More than 270,000 links, categorized and cross-referenced in more than 180 categories.
FamilySearch — Free Family History and Genealogy Records
A very useful resource from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Search historical records, family trees and the catalog of microfilmed original records, which can be ordered at local FamilySearch Centers.
Genealogical Publishing Company Index
Subject index for many, but not all, books from Genealogical Publishing Company. Especially strong on Colonial era sources not indexed on other major services. Many of their books and CDs are available in the Virginia Room and can be identified in the library's catalog.
One of the most comprehensive genealogy sites.
Selected prison, court and asylum records for the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Ethnic Groups and People
Cyndi's List provides links to genealogical information on ethnic groups, nationalities, countries, immigration and migration.
Find A Grave
Owned by Ancestry, this site provides information supplied by more than 400,000 contributors on the final resting place for people from around the world.
Gallaudet University Archives
Deaf students from across the nation and around the world attended Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. This site strives to preserve the memory of the nationwide Deaf Community. This searchable collection includes lists of alumni, vital records information from insurance policies, images of The Silent Worker newspaper, and personal and organizational manuscripts.
Maryland State Archives
Very well put together. Be sure to search the Archives' library by family name to find published genealogies.
National Archives and Records Administration — Genealogy
The National Archives preserves and provides access to many federal government records of value to genealogists. Archival databases containing information on Irish famine immigrants, military records and more are among their available online resources.
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections
Search NUCMC to see if any archives or societies report owning letters, diaries or other papers left by family members.
State Archives on the Web
The National Archives' Archives Library Information Center provides contact information and links to the websites of state archives, many of which feature valuable research materials and databases.
Allen County Public Library
One of the largest genealogy collections in the country.
Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Research Library
The catalog of the library's broad holdings is online, as is the new Genealogical Records Committee National Index. If you believe a patriot is in your family tree, check into the free Patriot Index Lookup Service in the National Society section of their website.
Family History Library Catalog
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Family History Library in Salt Lake City holds the world's largest collection of genealogy materials, and much of their collection can be borrowed through their local Family History Centers.
Library of Congress
See particularly the sections on the Local History & Genealogy Reading Room and the American Memory Project, which feature many records of value to genealogy researchers. Collections from the American Memory Project are being moved to their Digital Collections page. A new feature allows users to search several of the library's collections from one search box.
Library of Virginia
This site includes the library's catalog and many digitized records. Many of the microfilmed records are available on interlibrary loan through Fairfax County Public Library.
Mid-Continent Public Library
Investigate the "Genealogy from the Heartland" collection, which this library loans free-of-charge across the country.
A premier genealogical collection in Chicago.
New England Historic Genealogical Society Library
The New England Historic Genealogical Society's website, provides access to the NEHGS library catalog, as well as databases generated from primary and secondary resources vital for New England ancestry research. Some are available with free registration, while others require paid membership. Full access to all the databases is available for free in the Virginia Room.
St. Louis Public Library
Now holds the collection of the National Genealogical Society Library.
Chronicling America — Historic American Newspapers
Search digitized copies of American newspapers from 1836-1922, or use the US Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published from 1690 to the present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
National Archives Digitized Records
A list of records at the National Archives that have been digitized by their commercial partners. Records from Ancestry.com's Library Edition database are available on site at all Fairfax County Public Library branches. (These may be different from those available on Ancestry.com.)
The Official Land Patents Record Site
The Bureau of Land Management provides access to millions of Federal land title records for public lands both east and west of the Mississippi River. Includes images of original documents.
Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records
Online death indexes by state and county. Included are death indexes, obituaries, probate indexes as well as cemetery and burial indexes.
PERSI, the PERiodical Source Index
Fill in the Who, Where or What Else? fields at the top of the page to search thousands of genealogy and history magazines. Narrow your results with the filters on the left. This is not a full-text search; instead it searches broad subjects or keywords assigned to each article. With the title and year of the magazine, you can ask for a copy of the article through the Interlibrary Loan service. If you don't live in Fairfax County or the City of Fairfax, ask for the service at your local public library.
Social Security Death Index
Send for a copy of the deceased's social security application, which provides the names of parents and birthplace. Click on "Advanced Search," then choose Database "Social Security Death Index." Enter the person's name in the first name and last name fields (put a check mark in exact search if you are sure of the spelling); do not enter birth or death year in any field. Results list can then be sorted by year.
US Railroad Retirement Board
The US Railroad Retirement Board administers a federal retirement benefit program for the nation's railroad workers. The Board will provide information from its records on deceased persons for the purpose of genealogical research. The records begin in 1937, but the site includes links to other information sources about railroad employees.
African American Cemeteries Online
A growing site that can be searched by name or place.
A major site for African American genealogy and history, with links to a large array of resources including chat rooms.
Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware
This online version of Paul Heinegg's book includes family histories, colonial period tax list and census data, as well as photographs.
Freedmen's Bureau Online
The Freedmen's Bureau, established in 1865, supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen. Among the records selected for this site, are lists of residents at refugee camps, marriages, orphans, employment and crimes against residents. Records for Fairfax County and Northern Virginia are listed under "Washington, DC" rather than Virginia.
Consolidated Jewish Surname Index
Avotaynu, a publisher of books and magazines on Jewish genealogy, presents an index to information on nearly 700,000 surnames that appear in forty-two different databases. Names are indexed by sound rather than spelling.
Holocaust Memorial Museum
Washington, DC's Holocaust Museum includes links to archives and tracing services for Holocaust victims.
International Tracing Service
The archives of the International Tracing Service documents the fate of Holocaust victims.
Databases, mailing lists, discussion groups and more. Be sure to try the Gazetteer, which will help you locate towns in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, even if you don't know the correct spelling.
American Battle Monuments Commission
The commission maintains lists of those interred in American military cemeteries overseas and those Missing in Action from World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In addition, information describing commission-administered cemeteries and war memorials worldwide is available.
Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
This National Park Service database contains information from 6.3 million soldier records from 44 US states and territories. The data was taken from the General Index Cards in the National Archives and Records Administration's Compiled Military Service Records. Navy records will be included in the future, although about 18,000 African American sailors are already cataloged. The site also has information such as regimental histories and links to descriptions of nearly 400 significant battles.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
More than 10,000 ship histories, from the earliest days to Vietnam and beyond. Includes some Coast Guard vessels, revenue cutters and the Confederate Navy.
National Personnel Records Center
The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records is the repository of millions of military personnel, health and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century.
National Registry of Service
The Library of Congress Veterans' History Project was created to honor our nation's war veterans for their service and to collect their stories and experiences. The project focuses on World War I (1914-1920), World War II (1939-1946) and the Korean (1950-1955), Vietnam (1961-1975) and Persian Gulf (1990-1995) wars, and includes all participants in those wars — men and women, civilian and military.
Nationwide Gravesite Locator
"Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker." Burials in private cemeteries include only those from 1997 to the present. From the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Arlington National Cemetery records can be found at the ANC Explorer.
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders and returns relating to the action. The full text is completely searchable.
Old Naval Hospital, Washington DC
The Friends of the Old Naval Hospital plan to transcribe the estimated 20,500 pages of records of patients admitted and treated in the Naval Hospital from 1866 to 1906. The site currently includes almost 500 images of these handwritten records, for patients admitted in 1866 and 1867, as well as photographs and historical information.
Prisoners of War and Missing Personnel
The list of unrecovered service personnel from WWII, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam and the 1991 Gulf War. It includes those from all military services, including the Merchant Marine.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
The National Graves Registration Project of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is a searchable database of both Union and Confederate burials.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
This interactive memorial to veterans allows users to view names and summary records for any of the 58,256 veterans killed or missing in the Vietnam War.
The World War II Registry is part of the National World War II Memorial. It includes veterans, those killed or missing in action and some civilians on the home front. It is not a complete listing of WWII soldiers.
GENUKI: UK and Ireland Genealogy
An extensive site for genealogy concerning the United Kingdom and Ireland.
United Kingdom Blacksheep Ancestors
Selected prison, court and execution records.
Proceedings of the Old Bailey
A fully searchable online edition of more than 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court, which sentenced many convicts to transportation to colonial Virginia or Maryland.
American Family Immigration History Center
Database of Ellis Island arrival records that have been transcribed by Latter Day Saints volunteers. Be sure to try various spellings and permutations of both the first and last names (including just using a first initial), and bear in mind that errors have been found in the transcriptions. Note: Free registration is required.
CastleGarden.org offers free access to information on 10 million immigrants who arrived in New York from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Alternative search strategies for this database are available at One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse.
Directory of Passenger Ship Arrivals
This database pulls together the data from various passenger ship lists published on the Internet. Search alphabetically, by vessel name or by US port of arrival.
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Though still a work in progress, this database of passenger lists transcribed by the guild is a truly invaluable resource. Search passenger lists by date, ship's name, port of departure or arrival, or even passenger's or captain's surname.
One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse
Steve Morse offers indexing and search strategies for accessing data in the passenger lists of Castle Garden, Ellis Island, Baltimore, Boston, Galveston, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The Ships List
A growing list of resources for those seeking the details of their ancestors' ships: passenger records, contemporary immigration reports, newspaper records, ship wreck information, ship pictures, etc. Seeks to present information not included in other immigration sources. Includes an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section that explains the basics of immigration searching.
Federal Population Censuses
Indexes to the Soundex and Census Schedules Microfilm
The National Archives and Records Administration has produced these online indexes to the microfilm copies of the federal censuses. Use them to identify the microfilm publication and roll numbers you will need in your research.
The Soundex Indexing System
Describes the coding rules for this system based on the sound of a surname as opposed to its spelling. It is used to index the post-1880 US census records.
Historical Atlases and Maps of the United States Each state's page contains rotating animated maps showing all of the county boundary changes and all of the county boundaries for each census year. Past and present maps of the United States are overlaid so that you can see the changes in county boundaries.
USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer
Historical topographic maps from 1884 to the present. Maps can also be downloaded for free
Caring for Your Treasures
Guides to preserving family heirlooms from the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.