A respected and well-known genealogical site is Ancestry.com. Not only is there a wealthy of databases, but they also provide tutorials and guidelines to assist the novice or experienced researcher.
Looking at the growing collection of Ancestry.com databases provides the researcher with how essential the site can be for doing genealogy. The categories (included here are just some of the subcategories and indexes) are:
Historical Records (Censuses for U. S., several individual states, Native Indians, Australia, Canadian and U. K., along with voting records for several states).
Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes and Records (Social Security Death Index, many state marriage & death records, England & Wales BMD Index, Newspaper articles on BMD, U.S. & International Marriage Index, Canadian Deaths, Holocaust Survivors Index, Jewish Burials, Australian Criminal Index).
Immigration & Emigration (Passenger Lists with U. S., England, Germany, Australia, Canada; U. S. Passports, Border Crossings, Naturalization, Germany Emigration Index and Jewish Displaced Persons).
Military (U. S. Veterans, WW I Draft Cards, Civil War Soldiers, U. S. Veterans’ Pensions, U. S. Marine Rolls, WW II Draft Cards, British Army WW I Records, American Revolutionary Index, Canadian Soldiers WW I, Individual States’ Army Muster Rolls, Vietnam War Casualties and Civil War Photos of Regiments).
Directories & Member Lists (City Directories dating back to the 19th century, Index of Public Records such as home and business addresses, British Phone Books, School Yearbooks, Medical Registers in U. K., Canadian Phone Directories and London England Poor Law Records).
Court, Land, Wills & Financial (Land Records, Tax Lists, Land Warrants, Bank Records, Estates Records, England & Wales Criminal Registers, Australia Convict Musters and U. S. Patents).
Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Reference (U. S. Map Collection, Cemetery Records, Canadian Genealogy Index, Jewish Given Names, Gazetteers of the world in 1913, Library of Congress Bibliographic Sources, English and Welsh surnames, Mayflower resources and Names of Puritans in Connecticut).
Newspapers & Periodicals (Newspapers published for the military, obituaries in newspapers, full newspaper articles from U. S. & U. K., obituaries in Australia and New Zealand and numerous magazines such as Gentleman’s Magazine and those published by genealogical societies).
Stories, Memories & Histories (Oral histories, military histories, journals, biographies, histories of civil organizations, heraldry of royal families, public member stories, slave narratives and stories by California Forty-Niners).
Pictures (Images of passenger ships, Library of Congress Photo Collection, postcards, Civil War photos, School Yearbooks, African-American Photos, Public Member Photos, U. S. Family Photo Collection, Canadian Postcards, card on Professional baseball players, U. K. postcards, Germany postcards, France postcards, Italy postcards and Sweden postcards).
Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers (U. S. territory, states, cities and ethnic population maps; U. S. Slave population maps, U. S. railroad maps and Map of Lewis & Clark Journey).
Special Collections (African-American collections, Jewish family history and New York 400th anniversary).
Other Resources (Surname distribution across U. K. and U. S., place of origin for surnames, general family facts, life expectancy by surname and immigration based on surname).
Family Trees (Submitted public family trees, private family trees, family data collections of births-marriages-death, OneWorldTree, Ancestry World Tree and Millennium File).
With each of the categories a researcher can search using a name, even just a given name if desired. One can research in a specific country, locating all the materials available. Just placing a country’s name and selecting all or just same of the collections will produce a wealth of individual databases. For example, placing the country of Australia and the category of newspapers resulted in thousands of available Australian articles and with each a name or event is featured. The process can be narrowed down by including a series of dates or a surname or the name of an Australian state.
The Ancestry.com site makes researching easy and everything accessible. Many of the subcategories are also listed in other main categories, so there is little chance of missing a possible helpful database.
Additional features for the genealogical site include the message boards listed under collaborate heading. A search can be conducted using a surname, a full name, a locality covering all the continents and countries; by topics, such as immigration, adoptions, Civil War or Pennsylvania Dutch.
After selecting a region, a topic or name, there is an easy search to narrow down whom or what a person is searching for. An example, placing the surname ‘Kershaw’ in the message board for Lancashire County in England produced 143 results. These messages can be individual questions, information, statements in reference to the surname ‘Kershaw’ in Lancashire. A researcher can reply to any that might relate to their own research or submit their own question or information.
Ancestry.com has a section called ‘Learning Center’ to assist anyone with how to research the databases, how to set up a family tree, along with other helpful information.
Family Tree Maker is operated by Ancestry.com and is a most powerful, feature-packed family-tree building desktop software. It works with Ancestry.com to help individuals discover their story, preserve their legacy and bring the family tree to life. It ’walks’ a person through creating and adding to their own family tree. There is a selection of charts to display the family information. One can add their own family tales and stories along with photos. Numerous types of ancestral and descendant reports can be generated with the software. Developing a time line of events in a person's own ancestor's life along with historical events can be interwoven. For each piece of information added to the tree, it can be sourced, allowing a citation to later refer back to.
Ancestry.com is a subscription-based site. They offer numerous payment methods and plans, whether its to use the site for a week, a month or have access all year. Many of their databases in the numerous categories listings are ‘free’ to use by anyone at any time. They are continuing adding new features, aids and most important new databases to the site.