We all understand the importance of family and many of us have learned about our own ancestry through stories that our parents and other family members have told us. But the human mind is limited and time can warp memories or even erase them. So what do you do when you’ve exhausted your family’s oral history, but still want to know more about their past? Thankfully, the internet has made researching and looking up your family’s history quick and easy.
A great place to start for US citizens would be the government’s own website that will link you to a number of free resources like The National Archives, state archives, the US Census Bureau, Library of Congress, and major ports of entry such as Ellis Island. The National Archives in particular is a great resource for looking up military records, immigration lists, naturalization records, and more.
There are also several third party resources that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. A very popular one, ancestry.com, is a highly recommended genealogy site that combs through the web’s largest collection of online family history records to create a timeline that you can trace back to old and distant relatives. If you prefer not pay for a premium service, familysearch.com is a simplified version that is free to use and another good resource to start building a record of your family tree.