Content and Suggestions for Using

by Gerhard Ruf

© copyright 2001-2004
updated 5 October 2004


    RootsWeb claims to be the oldest and largest of the free genealogical sites on the Internet. It provides not only free information in multiple databases, but also free space to store such information by anyone for the genealogical community. It hosts a variety of projects for volunteers and encourages family historians to contribute the information they have extracted or collected with others.

  1. History
    1. Oldest and largest of the free genealogical sites on the Internet
    2. Started with Karen Isaacson's Roots Surname List (RSL)
    3. Mailing Lists started with Roots-L in 1987
    4. Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson started RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative
    5. Supported by since 2001

  2. Major Sections
    1. Search Tools
      1. Names Search
      2. Search Thingy - searches 'all' of rootsweb
      3. Database Specific Search Engines

    2. Family Trees - a Link to the WorldConnect area (over 347 million names)
    3. Mailing Lists - over 28,500 - participation via email
      1. Major Categories - Surname, USA, International, Others
      2. Emails for each list are kept in individually searchable archives
      3. Set up your own mailing list

    4. Message Boards - over 132,000 - participation via messages placed on web pages
      1. Broken down into Localities and Topics
      2. May be located by searching with general (indexed) search engines
      3. Set up your own message board
      4. in common with

    5. Web Sites - "tens of thousands"
      1. Regional Sites
      2. Surname Sites (including one name studies)
      3. Major Projects and Sites
      4. Miscellaneous
      5. Freepages for individuals
      6. Free homepages for genealogical organizations and groups

    6. Passwords - help in finding passwords to the various areas where you have contributed
    7. Help
  3. Supported Projects (Access from Web Sites/Major Projects)
    1. USGenMap - Access to Historical Maps and lists of US town and counties
    2. USGenWeb - every county in the US is represented (started with Kentucky)
      1. Archives, Wills, Census Images, Tombstone, Bibles, Church records, etc.
      2. County web pages typically include
              Locations and times of libraries and archives
              A method to make inquiries
      3. Some county pages also include
              Free lookup services
              Historical Information
              Links to databases that include that area
              Information on county boundary changes
              City information

    3. WorldGenWeb
      1. Similar structure to USGenWeb

    4. Newsletters for contributors and anyone interested in RootsWeb
      1. RootsWeb Review (access from Home page)
      2. Others for specific area volunteers (Census, USGenWeb, etc.)

    5. is also physically located here

  4. Databases (allow the use of post-ems)
    1. RSL (over 1,122,277 surnames contributed by over 200,000 genealogists)
    2. Social Security Death Index (updated monthy) (over 72,000,000 records)
    3. World Connect (over 347,000,000 individuals)
    4. User-Contributed databases (over 10,000,000 records of extracted information)
            See a listing under the Searches tab

  5. Getting the most from RootsWeb
    1. Search for your ancestors with Search Thingy
    2. Search within RSL, WorldConnect
    3. Search other area specific Databases
    4. Get help at USGenWeb, Mailing Lists and Message Boards
    5. Contribute your surnames to RSL
    6. Contribute your GEDCOMs to WorldConnect
    7. Participate in transcription projects

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