In 1996 a group of volunteers worked together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The USGenWeb Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone. The databases cover all 50 states and within each state it is broken down to counties. At the national site there are links to state sites, which, in turn, provide gateways to the links of counties within each state.
At the state level, websites include very important information. There would be postings of unknown county queries, family reunion bulletin boards, state histories, and maps showing the changing county boundaries. Many states also have ongoing projects as diverse as the transcription of Civil War regiments or the reuniting of families with lost photos, bibles, etc.
Each state and each county web site set up is different since there is a variety of volunteers who create and maintain each site. All of the counties provide links for the researcher to post queries, to access the state's home page and access the state archives.
The information offered from counties and states is diverse and most creative sites include query boards, listings of local sources for records, county and state histories, online genealogy books, research tips, maps, and links to helpful internet resources. There are transcribed records online for most of the web sites, all accessible for free.
There are search engines to aid in the research. One can search across all of the United States or pick individual states. If the county name is known where an ancestor lived that will narrow the search down.
Some of the types of information available for the counties include family bibles listings, biographies of family in that region, census data, cemeteries, churches, court records, military records, newspapers, obituaries, photos, tombstones images, vital records, tax rolls and wills.
In using the search engine for each listing a summary will appear with the key surname or topic highlighted. You then click on that link for the details. To help narrow down a search place the name in quotation marks.
This genealogy site is totally free to anyone at any time.