FamilySearch.org, a free top genealogy website, has published billions of free searchable historic records online, helping feed the growing frenzy of online family history enthusiasts. If doing your family history is on your list of 2015 new year’s resolutions, FamilySearch has announced its top 10 most searched online collections in 2014 by the millions of consumers determined to find their elusive ancestors or to fill in missing pieces of their family history puzzles.
Was great-grandma really an attraction in a Wild West show? Did Uncle Joe really fly the coop and move to Brazil for 10 years? Or where did I inherit certain physical traits?
The top 10 most searched collections are all from the U.S., British Isles, and Germany, but FamilySearch hosts growing collections for 200+ other countries.
This is the first in a series of articles that will explore each of the top 10 most popular collections.
Most Popular Free Online Ancestry Database Resources
Of FamilySearch.org’s 1,861 free online historic records collections, the top 10 most searched collections (See Chart) include the free US Censuses, public records, death, and immigration and naturalization indexes. The popularity of US historical records can probably be attributed to the fact that the United States is a country of immigrants. And those hundreds of millions of descendants today are curious about their ancestral origins—which many of us will eventually extend to other countries. In fact, only half of FamilySearch.org’s monthly patrons hail from within the U.S. The other half of its online family history seekers is distributed from dozens of countries from Europe, Central, and South America.
|1||USA||United States Censuses 1790 to 1940|
|2||England||England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975|
|3||USA||United States Public Records, 1970-2009|
|4||USA||United States Social Security Death Index|
|5||USA||United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918|
|6||Germany||Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898|
|7||USA||Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953|
|8||USA||Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976|
|9||USA||Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997|
|10||USA||Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950|
“Most of the US population today probably can’t imagine living within just a few square miles of 400 years of their family’s history, which can be the norm in other places of the world,” said Jennifer Kerns Davis, a project manager in FamilySearch’s Records Division. “In fact, Americans today are probably in the minority if they live in the same state where their parents and both sets of grandparents were born. We are an actively migrating nation within our own borders.”
The remainder of the top ten list includes collections from England and Germany. This might have something to do with the fact that these countries experienced large volumes of emigration historically, and descendants today are actively tracing their roots into and out of those countries and regions.
There are billions of free historic records from over 200 countries to search. And millions more are added monthly. To explore your ancestry, simply go to FamilySearch.org.