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Genealogy This Week - 10 July 2010

Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists. This week:

Searching for Free Public Records – The Free Public Records Search Directory is an amazing resource if you are looking for an ancestor or relative in the US. You can search all kinds of public records by either state or record type. If you look by state, you can bore down by county, zip code or first and last name. The list of public records is extensive and includes such items as land records, deeds, property tax records, court records, permits, inmate records and many more. This website contains the most extensive online list of public record sources that we have ever seen. It should definitely be at the top of any genealogist’s list. [Free Public Records Search Directory]


US National Archives Launches First Wiki – The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) launched this week its first wiki called Our Archives. Given the size and resources of NARA, this is almost certainly going to quickly become a major genealogical site for anyone researching American ancestors.

The NARA wiki is an internet portal where the public, researchers and staff can share knowledge about ancestral records, resources and research. Genealogists will be able to do the following:
• Collaborate with others looking at similar data.
• Create new wiki pages and edit existing wiki pages on various subjects and records held at the National Archives.
• Join in various discussion groups.

The home page of the new NARA wiki is here. If you want to participate, you need to register for a free account, which you can do here.


National Archives YouTube Channel – NARA is a key resource for any genealogist looking for American ancestors. Are you interested in learning more about NARA? Most genealogists don’t know this, but NARA has its own channel on YouTube containing many videos that talk about different aspects of NARA and the nation’s history. New videos are being added all the time. This is a very nice resource. [NARA YouTube Channel]


JFK Library to Build First Digitized Presidential Archives – The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will launch a fully digitized online archive on 20 January 2011. This date has been chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration as the 35th President of the United States. The archives hold 8.4 million pages of personal, congressional and presidential papers; 40 million pages of associated documents; 400,000 photographs; 9,000 hours of audio recordings; 1,200 hours of video recordings and 7.5 million feet of motion picture film. All of this should be available to search and review from the comfort of your home for free in January of next year. Mark it on your calendars. [JFK Library and Museum]

Top 1,000 Websites Worldwide – Google put out a list this week of the Top 1,000 websites (excluding their own). This list makes very interesting reading if you have the time. It is worth noting how many of the most popular sites are associated with socializing (Facebook is number one on the list), searching for things (many search engines are listed), reference material (like Wikipedia), email (for chat) and online games. We humans are certainly a sociable bunch.

A website has to attract at least 4.1 million visitors/month in order to make the top 1,000 list. No genealogy websites are on the list. Ancestry is spread out over several sites, so they are not listed in the top 1,000. However, the main Ancestry.com website is ranked 968th according to Alexa, another web traffic company. That means that ancestry must get close to (or more than) 4 million visitors/month. [Google Top 1,000 Websites List]

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