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Last Updated: Oct 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide

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Don't be overwhelmed by the thousands of websites out there - let us  help with your ancestry quest. 

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Premium Sites

Free with your library card!

  • Ancestry Library Edition
    Ancestry® Library Edition is similar (but not identical) to the consumer version. This research tool offers comprehensive international genealogical information, with more than 5 billion names in thousands of collections. Details. Available only on Library computers. No remote access due to licensing.
  • HeritageQuest
    Digital, searchable images of US federal census records from 1790 - 1930. Includes family and local histories, tax lists, probate records and city directories. Details
  • Historical Newspaper - Washington Post
    Digital reproductions of every page from every issue. Coverage: 1877-1998
  • Historical Newspaper - New York Times with Index
    Digital reproductions of every page from every issue. Another year added annually.(1851-2011) w/ Index (1851-1993)
  • ReferenceUSA
    Find long-lost relatives or neighbors or plan your next family reunion with this database of millions of households. Choose the Residential option for online directory of nationwide "white pages" listings.

Online Help

  • Ask the Virginia Room
    When your research takes you to Arlington - email the Library's Center for Local History staff for help.


  • Starting Your Genealogy Research - The Basics
    Simple overview of the basic steps and tips for managing your research
  • Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites
    Lists of the best sites for finding obituaries, oral histories, births and baptisms, prison records and more
  • Linkpendium
    Search by state/county or surname to find useful genealogy links
  • Access Genealogy
    Many useful links for free resources in each state. Also, hard to find info on Native American genealogy
  • Familysearch
    Family tree, family history, ancestry, genealogy and census records. From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • VAGenWeb
    Genealogy sites for U.S. counties with links and digital documents. Part of the USGENWEB project
  • Rootsweb
    Connects people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research
  • Facebook  
    Genealogy applications such as "FamilyBuilder" and "We're Related" make your Facebook page a hub for exchanging family tree information

Birth & Death Records

    Provides information for obtaining birth, marriage, and death records for all fifty states.
  • Social Security Death Index
    Find information on anyone whose death has been reported to the U.S. Social Security Administration. Contains details about birth, death, and last residence
  • Death Records Indexing Project
    Fully-searchable index to Virginia city and county death registers compiled 1853-1896. Fifteen cities and counties have been indexed to date
  • Virginia Military Dead
    Index of military casualties from 1794 to present. Search by name, conflict, location, or branch of service to find date, place, and cause of death.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
    Newspapers from 1860-1922 are available to read and search online, including obituaries. From the Library of Congress
    Though it is a fee-based service, you can get useful free information about when and where an obituary appeared. Check these details against the Library's online newspaper database coverage
  • Find A Grave
    Search 50 million grave records, or look for a particular cemetery
  • Veterens Affairs: Nationwide Gravesite Locator
    Search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in national and state cemeteries, and other military cemeteries

International & Immigration Records

  • Ellis Island
    Find your immigrant ancestors, then view their actual passenger manifests and images of the ships they traveled on. Ellis Island was the entry point for millions of immigrants between 1892 and 1924.
    An amazing tool if your family arrived through the port of New York before Ellis Island opened. Find information on 11 million immigrants from 1820 through 1892
  • Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
    Search transcripts of ship manifests for passengers who did not come through Ellis Island, between 1683 - 1929
  • AfriGeneas
    Devoted to African American genealogy, includes message boards and daily and weekly genealogy chats.
  • Avotaynu Consolidated Jewish Surname Index
    Index of more than 370,000 Jewish surnames that appear in 31 different databases.
  • JewishGen
    Includes the Family Tree of the Jewish People, the Holocaust Database of 500,000 victims and survivors, and the Online Worldwide Burial Registry
  • British Birth, Marriage, Death Records - FreeBMD
    Online index from the civil registers of English and Welsh births, marriages and deaths from 1837 to 1903
  • British Census Records - FreeCEN
    Search 19th century UK census returns
  • British Registry Records – FreeREG
    Search baptism, marriage, and burial records transcribed from parish and non-conformist church registers in the UK
  • Historical Directories for England and Wales
    Digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. Search by location, decade, or key word.
  • Hispanic Genealogical Sources
    Links to Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Spanish and many more genealogy resources.

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