One of the handiest tools you can have when using the Internet is a good search engine. The problem is finding a good one specifically targeted. Personally, when I'm searching for my Bower(s) ancestors I don't give a whit about the bower arbor, chamber or farm; nor do I want businesses with Bower(s) names.....I want Bower(s) people, records and data! This being the case for me, I can only presume it's the same for you. Hence, I've created this search engines page.
NOTE 1: This area of the Cottage is not complete yet, but I've decided to put it online and continue working on it as time permits. You'll just need to keep checking back for updates here. With what's here now, you'll be able to check nearly 2 billion names...not too bad for a start, huh?
NOTE 2: Using the engines will cause you to leave the Cottage. Just hit your 'back' button to return here. We'll be waiting for you....
FamilySearch.org- Nobody, but nobody does genealogy more thoroughly or diligently for as long as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [LDS, otherwise known as the Mormons] has. The largest genealogical library in the world (located in Salt Lake City, Utah) is owned and operated by the LDS. Aside from the millions of miles microfilm and microfiche they own, plus their library of thousands of books, they publish two global databases called the International Genealogical Index [IGI] and the Ancestral File which are now online. Below you are invited to use their engine to search those two databases. I warn you now, be prepared to spend a lot of time at this site!
In 1997 the last public IGI printing alone contained over 280 million names. Adding an average of 60 million new names to just the IGI each year - the IGI plus the Ancestral File amounts to.... well, you figure it out!
Search the vast resources of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
Rootsweb.com- Only if you're very new to genealogy will you NOT have heard of Rootsweb! As the largest single provider of genealogy e-mail discussion groups [the Cottage and her sister site, the Bower Family Homestead, currently support four] and web sites, Rootsweb also hosts a multitude of databases and projects. Totally free and supported by contributions only, this site is a must-visit!
From Rootsweb's engines you can search over 150 million names and over 5,000 e-mail discussion groups' archived messages.
Rootsweb Global Surname Search
Search an entire country or the entire world for your surnames. This search engine searches queries in the GenConnect System
_ : any one character.
Search GEDCOM files
Ancestry.com- With over 2,800 databases how could you really go wrong to stop for a search here? Though Ancestry is a commercial enterprise, they do have free, daily database offerings Monday through Friday. This is one site you just don't want to miss!
From Ancestry you can search over 500 million names!
FamilyTreeMaker.com- Following in the steps of Ancestry, this is yet another commercial site. Unlike Ancestry though, FTM hosts thousands of web sites the data from which is fed into their search engine - making this umbrella site an extremely large one. The Genealogy Library and the FTM CD's cost but seeing what material is on their hosted web sites makes this a one-stop shot, at least.
FTM boasts a 470-million name search on their front page. How much of that data is free, I have no idea. It's definitely worth a look, anyway.
USGenWeb.com- Amassing an army of volunteers around the world, this grassroots project has taken off by leaps and bounds. There are many, many city, county and state unpublished records at US GenWeb that you just won't find at places like Ancestry or FTM. If you're doing US research, this is another must visit area of the Web.
How many records do they have? Who knows? I don't believe even they know anymore!
The search engine below is for individual states if you feel the national search is just too much (and sometimes, with all US GenWeb has now, it really is).
WorldGenWeb.com- This sister site to the US GenWeb is just like it sounds - it's for international research. Just as the US GenWeb format is for the US [from state down to county], every country in the world is represented, then broken down into states/provinces.
World GenWeb does not have a search engine in the same fashion as US GenWeb does. Clicking on World GenWeb Project will take you there.
I Found It!- If you ever have trouble finding this engine, just remember that it's umbrella'ed by Gensource.com and you'll find it every time. This is another free site along the same lines as Rootsweb with volunteers transcribing records and putting them online. It may be smaller, but this is another one you just don't want to chance skipping.
Kindred Konnections- This is another commercial site, however they do have free offerings. You can search through their 45 million person Ancestral Archive and have data presented in family pedigree linked format, though the entire site has research archives totaling over 100 million names. It is possible to get around their fees - submitting a 15-family, 60 individuals GEDCOM gets you a 30-day free membership. Extracting some of their onsite records gets you a 1-hour membership. It's worth the time and effort to have a look.
Social Security Death Index[at Ancestry.com] - This free database is put out by none other than the Social Security Administration. If you can't get through to Ancestry, try the search engines over at Rootsweb or Family Tree Maker - they have the same version as Ancestry.
At its last update, the SSDI had 63.5 million names. The database is current up to the previous month's death. Some helpful tips follow this table should you have problems finding the person you seek information on.
Obituary Central- Obituary Central has six large databases of its own plus a collection of obituary search engines by state. Because of all the engines, you won't be able to search from the Cottage. However, I felt it needed to be included here simply because we all need those obits!...and you'll find well over 100,000 from this site.