Family Tree Magazine offers both print and online versions. See www.familytreemagazineonline.com. Over the course of several years the magazine has presented a state-by-state guide to all 50 states which lists the best sources for accessing vital records for each state. See http://www.familytreemagazine.com/articlelist/get-started. In the lower right corner click the pull down menu for a list of all 50 states.
Some of their collections from previous issues are also now available for purchase on CD. Their online site also offers podcasts, webinars, online classes, and much more. They have also recently published the 101 best websites for genealogy in 2010. See http://familytreemagazine.com/article/101-Best-Websites-2010.
Rather than try to list the best genealogy websites, I suggest you review the above article to narrow down the sites that will be most helpful to your research.
There are several sites that have been particularly helpful in my Lindsay and Scottish research.
The world version of Ancestry.com (census and vital records of countries outside the US, e.g. Scotland, Ireland, the U.K. including England, Northern Ireland and Wales) isn’t available free at libraries but can be purchased by subscription from Ancestry.com (annual subscription $299). Family Tree Maker (FTM), one of the top rated genealogy software packages may be purchased from retail stores, often including a free 6 months or more subscription to (the US version of) Ancestry.com. If you need to research Scotland and the UK, you can upgrade to the World version of Ancestry.com. (Note: if you purchase the software directly from the company it usually doesn’t include the free subscription to Ancestry.com). Once you start using FTM, you can save your data in gedcom format and upload it to Ancestry.com. There are also new apps (applications) for Ancestry.com for the iPad, iPod and iPhone.
Although this site is pay per use, Scotlands People is always listed as one of the top websites worldwide. It contains all the Census Records (1841-1911), Statutory Registers (births, deaths, marriages) and Old Parish Registers (births and baptisms, banns and marriages, deaths and burials, pre 1855) located in New Register House in Edinburgh, Scotland: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ . You buy credits and use them to search the databases and view the actual records. I have found the majority of our Lindsay information here and these records are not available on the world version of Ancestry.com. It is helpful to know the specific location and parish where your ancestors lived. It is quite exciting to see the original handwriting on your ancestors birth, marriage and death records and try to imagine what their lives were like going through these events.
I have used a variety of books in my research, some to provide a historical background for the times of specific ancestors, some to provide specific approaches to research. Most good books will list a bibliography and current ones also include web site references.
The Official guide to Family Tree Maker 2010, Tana L. Pedersen. The Family Tree Maker 2010 software is so powerful and has so many capabilities that this book has been a quick problem solver for me.
Scottish Roots, A step-by-step guide for Ancestor Hunters, Alwyn James, 1981, ISBN 0-88289-802-7 This early book provided a comprehensive of Scottish records housed in New Register House, Scottish customs and background to occupations.
Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors, The Official Guide, A Guide to Ancestry Research in the National Archives of Scotland, 2007. An updated more comprehensive guide including how to search the different kinds of records in the National Archives as they were being digitized for the Scotlands People website. Includes courts and their jurisdictions, registers, information about deeds, a variety of professions, etc.
The Family Tree Guide Book to Europe, Your Passport to Tracing Your Genealogy Across Europe, 2003. This book lists websites, archives, libraries, books, guides, historic timelines, maps and flags. It explains the differences of available records in different countries and I focused on Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. Since our Scottish ancestors moved freely among these countries, this guide was helpful.
Discover Your Scottish Ancestry, Internet and Traditional Resources, Graham S. Holton and Jack Winch, 2003. In addition to beginning genealogy this book includes sample forms, interviewing tips, historical sources pre-1855, interpreting older forms of handwriting, etc.
Tracing Your Irish Roots, Christine Kinealy, 1999. Since our Scottish ancestors often lived in Ireland or traveled through Ireland, this book was helpful in understanding the Irish history and record keeping.
They Came in Ships, A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors Arrival Record, John P. Colletta, Ph.D., 2002. This book gave a history of immigrants to the U.S. in different time periods explaining passenger lists, why certain information was collected and where to find it, including immigration laws, newspapers of the port of entry, pictures of the vessel, European passport records, U.S. departure records, etc.
The Book of Ulster Surnames, Robert Bell, 1988. Many Scots migrated to Northern Ireland, Ulster County in the 1600s and 1700s. The book identifies the surnames and the locations within Ulster where they lived, including family history of each name. It can help locate places where records may be found.
Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors, The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster 1600 â€“ 1800, William J. Roulston, 2009. This book provides a history of Ulster in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, church records, gravestone inscriptions, local government records, newspapers, genealogical and church records and where to find them, etc.
Scotland, A concise History, Fitzroy Maclean, 2000. This book provides historic background to the times of our Scottish ancestors.
Scotland, History of a Nation, David Ross, 2007. Easy to read history written by the late noted historian and annual guest speaker at the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain. Includes a 73 page detailed chronology of Scotland.
Unicorn Limited, Inc. is a frequent vendor at area Highland Games and has a good selection of Scottish books, including on CD and for instant download to your computer. See www.unicornlimited.com
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