Want to know more about your roots? Why not start building your family tree now? With so many free websites available, you'll find one that is just right for your own unique needs. Who knows, you might even find a few famous ancestors you never knew about.
What free family history sites offer
Family history sites offer more than an online family tree builder, usually through downloadable software. Their sites are also full of information that can be gleaned from public records and documents. Often, these sites include a database of millions of family names, enough to get you started on the right foot.
Family history sites also allow their members to communicate by providing details of a submitter's contact information. Members can then exchange information and facts online, making their genealogy research easier and more convenient.
How to join
Most of these sites require membership, although there are no fees charged. To join, simply provide basic information such as your name, date of birth, location, and email address. Once you're a member, the site will send you regular tips, news, and updates about your family tree.
After logging in, you can start building your tree. Some sites require that you download their software but other sites allow you to build online. As long as you have the information, building your tree is a breeze. You don't need to finish encoding your ancestors' names in one go. Just save your work, log out, and access it later. It's that simple.
Free family history sites
Here are a few sites worth checking. Be sure to compare if you're serious about your family tree, since sites offer different services and different access levels. You could have a better deal with another site if you look hard enough.
Ancestry World Tree
Began as RootsWeb World Connect in 1996, this site probably has the largest database of family names on the internet, with more than 250,000 entries. Family trees are easy to build and submit and you can also make use of their Advanced Search option.
This site not only includes detailed tips on how to begin recording your family history, it also includes a good database of research documents categorized by state for easy browsing. The same documents can also be sorted by title, subject, and document type.
Helpful documents include U.S. Federal Census Records that date back from 1790 up to 1930, immigration records, ship passenger lists, newspapers, even naturalization, and military service records.
If you add your name to this site, you'll be part of the over 60 million individuals who make up the Pedigree Resource File. This site contains useful indices of individual records that include parents, locations, and events. This is one site that gets a lot of attention – it receives more than 1 million names a month.
Originally from France, this site has an international index of sources both for offline and online family history resources. More than 200 million people use this site and the sources are available from nearly everywhere in the world and not just the U.S. or the U.K.
Probably one of the simplest family history sites on the internet that allows you to either create your family tree online or import the file from another site. Tribal Pages is one of those sites that allow you to upload your photos to your tree. You can also compare and match with more than 100,000 family trees and search their database of 80 million names and a million photographs.
Search this site's index for free and gain access to more than 200 million names taken from family trees and group sheets. You'll get full access if you submit a GEDCOM and you can even download documents available on the site.