Getting the Most Out of the Free Genealogy Research Databases at the US National Archives.

The free genealogy research databases of the US National Archives are an excellent source of genealogical information. There is so much data available in them though, that it could be difficult for beginners to know where and how to start searching them. In this article I’ll address several questions regarding the use of the free genealogy research databases found on the website, and provide the answers I feel will provide you with the most relevant information. Get ready to get the most out of the US National Archives free genealogy research databases!

Question: How can I use the free genealogy research databases of the National Archives in my research? The website of NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) is fairly easy to navigate and straightforward to use, but they have quite a few free genealogy research databases to choose from. The wealth of information provided by NARA might make it a bit confusing for beginners to know where to start, so I’ll try to summarize a basic system here.

First of all it is good to decide which particular area of interest you want to research. This could be births, deaths and marriages, census reports, military reports, etc. Once you know what you’re looking for, NARA make it easy to locate the free genealogy research databases you’re looking for by providing research topic pages. On the topic pages, you can simply click on a link to any of the clearly labelled free genealogy research databases, and you’re on your way. Their databases are both classified by topic, and further divided into geographical and ethnic categories.

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Question: What records are contained in NARA’s free genealogy research databases? To answer this question thoroughly I’d have to write a book, that’s how many records are held in the National Archives’ free genealogy research databases. What those records are may be easier to answer, but the list is still quite extensive. NARA has put together a collection of free genealogy research databases that contains: Census Records for 1790-1930, Land Records from thirty states, Ship Passenger Lists and Immigration Records, Military and Pension Records up till 1902, and Naturalization Records.

Question: Would my family be in NARA’s free genealogy research databases? Whether or not your family are in the free genealogy research databases of the National archives will of course be dependant on certain factors. For instance, if your family immigrated to the United States near the end of the nineteenth century and came ashore at Ellis Island, there’s a good chance you might find them in the Passenger Lists database. Perhaps your ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War, or was held in a relocation center during World War II, if so there’s a chance they might be located by searching the military oriented free genealogy research databases.

Question: Will I find information on my African American or Native American Ancestors in the free genealogy research databases? Yes, the free genealogy research databases at the National Archives contain information on Black Studies, and also provide valuable information on tracing your Native American ancestors.

The many census reports may also be helpful, as slaves were recorded in census reports as three fifths of a resident. Once you have names, dates, and places of residence in your possession, the free genealogy research databases containing census reports should be the first place you begin looking. Remember to always start with the most recent report, and work your way back.

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The value of free genealogy research databases is really immeasurable to the family historians. Besides saving you the obvious monies, they can save you time and effort and help you to pinpoint he location of your long lost relative.

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