Websites devoted to a family history are an excellent way to find information about your own family’s past. Many of these sites have been developed by an individual or group of people that are dedicated to telling their family’s story. If a website already exists with information on a line of your family then you will find that a great deal of work has already been done for you. You may also be able to contribute your information back to the website. This is a win-win for all.
Established family websites offer documented information on many branches of a particular family and are a great place to find information on your ancestors.
There are good pay-sites that offer a wealth of information and may be worth joining for a period of time. I will talk about paysites in future posts. Family sites, however, are free and generally accessible. Occasionally, they restrict access but that is generally not the case.
To give you and example, I have traced one line of my family back to a man named Thomas Holcombe. He arrived in Massachusetts around 1630. The Holcombe Family Genealogy website has a huge database of information on Thomas and many of his descendants, much of it well sourced and well documented. Within the website are thousands of other names that help me expand my family knowledge base. I have used this website and others like it to fill in the blanks of my colonial past and save a ton of time and research energy in the process.
Sometimes a family website can help you establish a connection to your past, as was the case with the Holcombe site. Other times, you find the site later, already knowing your connection. This has been the case for a handful of sites I have visited to find more detail on a particular ancestor. Beware, however, there are many family websites out there with new ones appearing all the time. Some merely copy information from others, so you want to be sure that the information is correct. Many times, I have seen a bit of info that was known to be wrong but contines to reappear on other websites. Even so, you will find that family websites can open many doors in your family search. Good luck.