In my genealogy research I use a lot of different sources. This list will continue to expand and grow as I post about different sides of my family.
Ancestry – Most everyone is familiar with ancestry.com. I haven’t tried any of the other pay sites out there, so I can’t compare them, but I’ve been happy with my subscription. Personally I do pay for the All Access plan which includes the U.S. records, world-wide records, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com.
FamilySearch – A lot of times if I find a vital record on Ancestry I will also look for it on FamilySearch. Sometimes the records on FamilySearch contain more information than I was able to get from Ancestry. For example, Ancestry may only have the index version of a death record from Chicago whereas FamilySearch has the information from the actual certificate. I suggest always double checking Family Search for your vital records. Additionally, FamilySearch is free – which is great because genealogy can become an expensive hobby!
Chicago, Illinois Resources
Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925 – I know, this is a link to FamilySearch, but it is an important one – at least if you have ancestors that were catholic. The key here is not the search function, but the image browser. This is a gold mine of catholic church parish records. You do have to know what parish/church you are looking for though and not all the years are available. But there are other resources to help you with that.
ChicagoAncestors – I used this to find what church my relatives may have attended so that I could look it up in the family search records. And it worked! They also have street guides, city directories and the information on street name changes and renumberings so you can find where the house is your ancestors lived in on today’s maps! They also have links to older maps as well.
David Rumsey Map Collection – Specifically his Chicago maps. I must admit, I have only used this site for Chicago maps however I’m sure that is only a small portion of the maps available. This is an excellent resource to use in combination with the church search available on ChicagoAncestors.
Chicago Genealogy – Facebook Group – If you are on Facebook, this group is great for helping with your Chicago research.
Czech Genealogy for Beginners – That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Almost everything I’ve learned about researching my records in the Czech Republic was from Blanka’s website. From instructions on finding what parish to look int, to maps, to translations – her site is hands down the best I’ve seen. I’d list the links to the archives I use, but honestly Blanka has done a wonderful job and I would not do it justice if I were to try and rehash it. Blanka also will do research on records FamilyResearch.cz for a very reasonable price. As extensive as the online collections are in the Czech Republic (and they are AMAZING), you always run across a record or two that is just not available online yet. That may have happened to me on a few records.
Czech Genealogy – Facebook Group – Ok I lied. Blanka’s website in combination with her Facebook group is all you need to know. The group has over 1800 people in it from all over the world. It is a fabulous place to ask for help whether it’s finding where to start, how to look in the records, interpreting the handwriting, or translating the records. People there are the best! If you look closely, you’ll find me there too! I really love helping other people in the journey when I can!
Mary Sramek Levensque’s YouTube channel – In case you need a video version of the instructions on how to look up records, head to Mary’s YouTube channel. There you can search for all sorts of videos on finding parishes and doing record look ups. If you need a visual aid to help you, these are wonderful. And Mary is an all around great person. If you spend any time on the Facebook group, I’m sure you will see her!
GenTeam – Blanka covers this one in her post Which Parish Record to Search but I’m going to include it here anyway. This is a great place to look up names of towns to see where they are – or what their names might actually be as the version that ends up on english vital records is not necessarily the right name. Blanka’s post walks you through it. I use this site a lot!
(but wait, you say – aren’t all your ancestors Czech?! Actually no, I’m only 43.75% (7/16) Czech. This section will be extended later on)