Favorite Websites

My Genealogy Toolbox

Listed below are my go to sites for genealogy research. You may have noticed at Scandia Musings & More that the focus is on Scandinavian and Slovenian research - well with surnames like Elofsson (Lidman), Eriksen, Kocevar and Zagradisnik what did you expect?

[Disclaimer: As you can see this is a work in progress. My sections for General, Education & Webinars, Norway and Sweden are ready to go; my USA section is a work in progress and my Slovenia section will be added soon so please check back! Also if these areas are ones you are familiar with and you have suggestions, please let me know].

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for the suggestion of a Research Toolbox and for the webinar which provided to "how-to"  to make it a reality. My Favorite Websites (or Research Toolbox) has not only the link but also some information and editorial comment. 

  • Ancestry
    • This website is both a no-cost and a subscription website. If you are new to genealogy you may want to check out the library version (which may be accessed online at many public libraries and genealogical libraries). Ancestry provides, in my opinion, a cost-effective breadth and depth of USA and international records for active genealogy researchers (and I appreciate having the option to research at all hours of the day or night!). 
    • I do wish Ancestry would get rid of the "you don't have to know what you're looking for, you just have to start looking" campaign because I think it dumbs down a serious (but really fun) intellectual pursuit. You do need to have some idea what you are looking for and you have to be engaged and thinking critically while on the hunt! All genealogists are the sum of many parts - part historian, part researcher, part detective, part adventurer, part geographer, part cultural memorykeeper, part interviewer, part writer, part photographer and part armchair, local and/or world traveler. I would not have it any other way! 
  • Family Search
    • This should be every researcher's first stop for genealogical knowledge! The learning modules (seminars and wikis) are amazing. The online catalog and digitized records will help you find sources and records. Microfilms from the FHLibrary are available for checkout to FHCenters and the volunteers at the FHLibrary make a research trip to this genealogy Nirvana a must! 
    • Kudos to the Norwegian and Swedish research associates at the FHL - you have and continue to be a tremendous help with my research finds.
    • Portal: Norway at the FamilySearch Wiki - an excellent starting point to learn about Norway's history and learn how to research your family history using various records. 
    • Norway Historical Records at Family Search - a great number of records and more are digitized every day!
    • Portal: Sweden at the FamilySearch Wiki - an excellent starting point to learn about Sweden's history and learn how to research your family history using various records.
    • Swedish Historical Records at Family Search - a great number of records and more are digitized every day!
  • Geneabloggers
    • Thomas MacEntee keeps genealogy bloggers up-to-date with the ever-expanding list of blogs, news from various sources, and upcoming webinars and events. If you are new to blogging (or need a refresher, check out the blog resources at this website). You can also search all genealogy blogs for specific content - pretty terrific.
  • Google
    • Of course I use Google for searches (definitely check out advanced search - make your life easier) but don't forget to use Google for books, images, maps, news archives, and translations - SUPER HELPFUL for translating Norwegian or Swedish single words and short phrases. And check out Google BooksGoogle Drive, Google EarthGoogle Scholar,  and Google Sites
  • Library of Congress
    • The Nation's Library - be sure to check it out and keep going back for more! Collection highlights include The American Memory Project, Prints & Photographs, Historic Newspapers, and Maps (the largest collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps is housed at the LOC).
  • WorldCat
    • Want to find a book, article, DVD or CD at a library near you? Want to get a cite or check your cite for a book, article, DVD or CD? It's all here, or at least 1.5 billion items are here - a great resource and if you create an account you can keep a record of your libraries, books and citations - wow.
Education & Webinars
  • Legacy Family Tree Webinars
    • I use Legacy Family Tree for my genealogy database program and really enjoy the webinars that they provide, not only about their program but also about a wide variety of topics of interest to all genealogists.
  • Family History: Genealogy Made Easy
    • Whether you are just starting out in genealogy or an accomplished researcher, you will learn something more from Lisa Louise Cooke's podcasts found at this website. In 30 minute increments, Lisa starts at the very beginning, and provides tips and encouragement to the new and not-so-new genealogist. Also check out her website and podcasts at Genealogy Gems (Lisa maintains both a free and premium edition of these podcasts).  Always check her show notes as she provides the links to websites she discusses AND listen whenever you get the chance to anything she does related to Google as Lisa is a Google guru. 
  • RootsMagic Webinars
    • RootsMagic is another genealogy database program that does an excellent job with reports and they have webinars available at their website. So far, most of their webinars relate to their product. However,  two relate to Google (with Lisa Louise Cooke) and one relates to Family Atlas which I think is a great mapping program. 
  • Arkivverket DigitalArkivet - Digital Archives
    • Tusen takk (thank you very much). That is what you will be saying once you see this website. The National Archives of Norway has made their digitised parish registers, probate materials, court records, real estate and tax records, and census records available online for free as a public service. The website is easy to use, provides a wealth of information, and will help you locate those infamous farm names for your ancestors. Definitely check out this site if you have Norwegian ancestors.
  • Bygdeboker
    • This website answers two all important questions - what is a bygdebok? and how do I use it in my genealogy research? This site is interesting and informative - you will want to find your ancestor's bygdebok (farm or small community) once you know how and thankfully these books are available at the FHLibrary both in book and microfilm form (I wonder if they will be digitizing these books anytime soon?). 
    • Scroll down the page at this website and find where various Bygdebokers are located online! Bygdebokers have been published for several hundred rural communities and once you have found your farm or community, you can find a chronological list of the owners going backward and forward several generations. This excellent website was put together by John Follesdal. Be sure to review his tutorial on using a bygdebok (clear, concise and it makes your research easier).  Bygdebokers are must use genealogical resources for Norwegian research.
  • DIS-Norge
    • The Genealogy Society of Norway operates a forum for genealogists who use computers with their research. This website is run on a smaller scale than its Swedish counterpart, but active Norwegian genealogists are happy to answer questions, provide resources and share a database of Norwegians researching in particular areas of Norway. The main forum is open to all, but membership is required to locate active members with their genealogy research online (similar to the DISBYT discussed below).
  • Nordic Names
    • This site provides name lists for Danish, Foroese, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Sami and Swedish names. Information about the names themselves, mythology associated with the names, name days, and a forum provides everything you need to search those interesting and (perhaps) unusual Nordic names.
  • Norwegian-American Dictionary
    • An excellent dictionary which not only has words and phrases but also explains the origin of the Norwegian language and how to use this dictionary with your genealogical records. There are also some great links to other websites.
  • Norwegian-English Dictionary
    • The beauty of this Norwegian-English Dictionary is that there are a number of words and phrases that have passed out of common usage and many of the words and phrases here are geared toward genealogy research (old measurements, currencies, and occupations to name a few). Put together by John Follesdal and placed on rootsweb, this is another example of an act of genealogical kindness - Tusen takk (thank you very much).

Slovenia (coming in May, 2014)

  • ArkivDigital
    • The original Swedish Church Records online provider was Genline (I think their images were the result of microfilming the records). More recently ArkivDigital got into the business and has digitized the very same Church Records (incredibly clear digital color images). The two companies use differing pagination (sigh) and both ArkivDigital and Genline are subscription websites.  It is well worth it to check out ArkivDigital - to-date 27 million color images are online and more are added every day. It is necessary to know your ancestor's location and you will want to review the Users Guide to understand how to perform your searches.
  • DISBYT - Computer Genealogy Society of Sweden
    • DISBYT is a database that you can search to look for your ancestors and make contact with Swedish genealogists who have put their research into the online database. The database is compiled from DIS member submissions. To-date there are approximately 23.5 million records. There is a forum for members as well as various research tools. Non-members can freely search the site. If you have any Swedish ancestors (only those living before 1910 on listed online) - this is an excellent website and well worth the membership to locate and correspond with newly found relatives!
  • Emiweb
    • Emiweb is a website archive of Scandinavian migration records. Various archives are located at Emiweb and the service is subscription based. The site contains Danish emigration, Swedish emigration and immigration, Norwegian emigration, and obituaries.
  • Genline & Family Finder
    • Prior to 2011 Genline.com provided Swedish Church Records online with a terrific Family Finder program. The records were micofilmed copies of the original books and registers. In mid-2010, Genline was purchased by Ancestry.com and their records are now available on Ancestry's World Membership collection as well as from their website. The records date from the 1500s and with a little basic information (your ancestor's name, birth date, and emigration year) you can usually tap into emigration records, find the moving out record and then you are set to research your Swedish line as far back as there are records go. The Swedish government and state church kept excellent records of their people and the records are intact. Whether you access the records from Genline or Ancestry, you are in for a treat!
  • Lantmateriet - Swedish Surveying Office
    • This site has excellent maps of Sweden from a national and regional level to a local and community level. Once you know where your people are from, check out both the historical and current maps.
  • National Atlas of Sweden
    • This site provides geographical descriptions of Sweden and includes an Atlas and Gazetteer - lots of information and great links.
  • SVAR - Swedish Archives
    • Looking for information about public records or interested in the Swedish censuses? This is the place to get started with your search. This is a subscription based service but oftentimes genealogical societies and libraries have subscriptions, so check out this service at the FHLibrary, a FHCenter, or a local genealogical library.
  • Sweden.se - The Official Gateway to Sweden
    • Fast facts and an overview of Sweden, as well as up-to-date news and information brought to you by the Swedish Institute (a consortium of government and trade organizations).
  • Swedish English Dictionary
    • An excellent Swedish-English Dictionary - all the records you find at ArkivDigital and Genline will be in Swedish so this is quite handy for translating those words and phrases.
  • Swedish Roots
    • An excellent website that provides information on how to research your Swedish ancestry, together with a page of Useful Links for all things Swedish Research, as well as a listing of member societies of The Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies.  

  • Illinois
    • Genealogical Research at the Swenson Center
    • The Swenson Center located at Augustana College is renown for its extensive genealogical resources, including church records for Swedish immigrant churches in North America, passenger indexes, records of organizations and lodges founded by Swedish immigrants in North America, Swedish language newspapers, city directories, census materials, and journals and research given to the Center by Swedish-Americans. The Center publishes the Swedish American Genealogist and provides genealogical research services. The Center's website is a great starting point for Swedish-American as well as Swedish research.
  • Minnesota
    • The American Swedish Institute
    • The Institute is located in Minneapolis and has both adult and youth classes, workshops, programs, a museum, and a gift shop. The Institute focuses on the contributions of Swedish-Americans and celebrates all things Swedish. The Turnblad Mansion (where the Institute is housed) is currently undergoing renovation - check it out online and learn more about this terrific place. If you are in the Minneapolis area when a genealogy workshop is being held there, plan to attend!
    • Minnesota Genealogical Society & Library
    • The MGS is located in South St. Paul and is home to several branches, interest groups and affiliated organizations, including the Irish Genealogical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Norwegian-American Genealogy Association, and the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota. The MGS has an extensive genealogical library (international, national and local) and they have an excellent online catalog
    • Minnesota Historical Society
    • The MHS is located in St. Paul and has an amazing number of holdings. The MHS also has an extensive online presence and researchers with Minnesota ties can find a Birth Certificates Index, Death Certificates Index, State Census Index, Immigration Resources, and an excellent overview of many of the collections at MHS's Library at their website.  Be sure to check out their online catalog.
    • MOMS - Minnesota Offical Marriage System
    • This terrific website is an ongoing marriage records index project for the State of Minnesota with 87 participating counties. Records continue to be added so, if at first you don't find a marriage record, continue to check back. Searches are easy to perform and once you find the couple, you can order a copy of the marriage record right online. 
    • Swedish Genealogy Society of Minnesota
    • The most helpful Swedish-Americans you will find belong to the Swedish Genealogy Society of Minnesota and volunteer once a month (the third Thursday each month) at the Minnesota Genealogical Society's Library to answer questions and assist you with your research. Great records (including one-half of the Minnesota Swedish American ELCA Lutheran church records - by appointment only) are maintained here that will help you with your local or distance research. The Society publishes a newsletter Tidningen, has several Swedish research CDs, books and online resources available at the Library, and hosts quarterly meetings and Spring and Fall research conferences. Why not join and take advantage of their expertise? 
    • University Libraries - University of Minnesota
    • If you live in Minnesota and are wondering where to find your Bygdeboker, check out the University holdings at the University of Minnesota. This website provides a listing of Counties and farmbooks maintained by the Library as well as additional links (scroll to the bottom of the page) of interest to anyone searching for Norwegian ancestors.
  • Oregon  (coming soon ~ a work in progress)
  • Washington  (coming soon ~ a work in progress)