Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rootsweb Web Site Highlights

As part of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Beginning Genealogy class this week, I was asked by the instructor to provide a list of some FREE genealogy web sites that can help researchers find information.

One of the genealogy sites I selected was the Rootsweb (part of the domain) site at This web site has significant genealogy resources, including:

1) Search all Databases on Rootsweb:

* WorldConnect Database at -- Contains user-submitted research data from GEDCOM’s for over 500 million names. Being user-submitted it is error-prone. However, it is very useful to determine if other people are researching a specific individual or family line. Ahnentafel and descendant reports for up to six generations can be created.

* Social Security Death Index (SSDI), post-1937, at -- Contains government data for deceased persons whose names were submitted to the Social Security Master Death Index (note it doesn't include every person with a Social Security number). The web page permits you to write and print a letter to the Social Security Administration to obtain the person's SS-5 Application which may include the person';s parents names, an address at the time of application, and the person's birth date and birth place.

* Death record indexes for California (1940-1997), Kentucky (1911-2000), Maine (1960-1997) and Texas (1964-1997)

2) Mailing Lists – Subscribe to Surname, Locality or Interest Mailing Lists via Email. There are over 31,000 Lists – see Index at You can sign up to receive one or more mailing lists by email and you can contribute your own posts by email to a specific mailing list. Even more importantly, you can search the Mailing List Archive by key word or time frame at

3) Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards at There are over 160,000 boards for surnames, localities and special topics. To see the Message Boards requires a free registration. You can also search all of these Message Boards using Names or Keywords, or find a specific message board and search only the posts on that board.

4) Web Sites at Rootsweb at These include regional resources and web sites (including many genealogy society web sites), surname websites, major projects hosted by Rootsweb, and Freepages created by registered users.

5) The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees at This is a 31 part tutorial for beginners to start their genealogy work.

There are many more pages at Rootsweb that can help you find your ancestors and your family history. Check out Note that, even though Rootsweb is part of the domain, all web pages, past and present, that are identified as Rootsweb are free to access and use.

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