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May 20, 2020

Genealogy Webinars and Websites

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator

Staying home due to the pandemic can be difficult, and you may be experiencing loneliness and boredom. While social distancing may make it hard to connect with loved ones in person, take this time to connect to your ancestors! Whether you are new to genealogy or a seasoned family historian, the below genealogy webinars will give you tips to improve your searching skills. I’ve also included a few free genealogy websites to visit.

Videos and Webinars

Explore some of the below videos and webinars; maybe they can even make up for that genealogy conference or class that was cancelled.

If you’re new to family history, Ancestry’s YouTube videos presented by Crista Cowan, the Barefoot Genealogist, are a wonderful way to learn tips, techniques, and methodology.

Rootstech is a yearly conference focused on family history. Luckily for us, Rootstech has a free video archive of keynote addresses and sessions. I found the presentation on copyright with Judy Russell to be very informative and helpful!

Legacy Family Tree has a few free webinars to watch; however, the syllabus is available for members only. To find the free webinars, hover over the Webinar Library link and then click on View all-FREE in the popup menu. I recommend the webinar on city directories; it’s very interesting!

Useful (FREE) Websites

FindAGrave is a fantastic online resource, and it’s free! Volunteers and researchers submit memorial pages on ancestors. Some pages have a wealth of information just waiting for you to discover. When Ancestry acquired the website, they improved the search engine, and now you have the option of attaching a memorial page to your online tree. You can also copy and paste information into your research notes in your genealogy software.

FamilySearch is another favorite. Reasons why I like it: First, it is free to access! Who doesn’t like free? Second, they have digitized images for many records. To access FamilySearch, you’ll first create a free account, and then sign in to search the site. Although some images can be viewed from home, there are also some views that are “restricted” viewing. These may be viewed either at an affiliate library (like both HEPL locations) or at the Family History Center in Fishers. Unfortunately, those restricted views will have to wait until our time of confinement ends and HEPL can once again welcome the public.

If you haven’t discovered the Indiana Room webpage, now is the time to take look at it, especially if you have Hamilton County ancestors. There are a lot of resources to be found on that page, like links to the cemetery database and our newspaper database. If you are curious whether we have a file on your Hamilton County family, check the Family Histories File. If you are more interested in researching your house than your ancestors, you might find the link to the Sanborn Maps useful. You will find links to digitized copies of Hamilton County histories and links to our digitized collection of images and the Mayor Docket Books. There is a wealth of resources to discover and explore just by following the links available on the webpage.

Finally, there is Ancestry’s Facebook page! You might find it fun to connect with fellow genealogists.

As you explore these websites and watch the webinars, you may find that staying at home can be educational, resourceful, and just plain fun while you research your ancestors.