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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Indispensable Resources

There are none.

Or rather, there are too many to list. When researching my Finnish ancestors, I couldn't do without the Institute of Migration, and the Genealogical Society of Finland's Hiski Project. When studying my Maine ancestors, there was no better resource than the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. And for the earliest immigrants to New England, the Great Migration series was indispensable.

Any of the census subscription services will prove invaluable, so long as one's ancestors arrived before 1930. Ellis Island passenger lists (a better search engine is here) are useful for some, a frustrating waste of time for others.

The LDS website, FamilySearch, is perhaps the best free collection of resources on the Web. Rootsweb.com is an eclectic, amazing set of user-contributed databases—the phrase "user-contributed" meant to imply "buyer beware."

Indispensable? None of those I've listed truly is. No two family trees are exactly alike, and the many branches of a given tree might each require a different set of resources. Likewise, no two genealogists will possess or need exactly the same set of skills. A basic knowledge of Finnish terms (for birth, death, son, daughter, etc.) and patronymics are kept handy in my toolbox, together with the books and websites mentioned above. What's kept in yours?

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