what is the best search engine for tracing family history for free?

i am trying to trace my grandfather father who fought in the first world war have tried ancestry.com and wishing to use a service for free

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    There is a basic reality that the internet has limitations. You don't mention which country you're in, but privacy laws keep a lot of records off the internet. Even WWI is too recent for some countries. There are also individual states in the US and provinces of Canada that have joined countries like Spain, Mexico, Italy and Portugal in saying they will not be adding new records to the internet databases. They believe there has been too much abuse of public records on the internet and they're just not going to join the fray. If you want records in those places that aren't already published, you'll have to either order the films from the LDS or visit the archives that holds them.

    I would honestly suggest that if you're at a roadblock, post what you do know about him and the sources you've already used and let us see if we can find more. Some people on this board have access to a broad range of websites that you may or may not have used yet. If we all hit the same roadblock, then you need to move off the internet and into the libraries and Family History Center to find the non-digitized records.

  • 1 decade ago


    There is no 'best' search engine. There are thousands of sites for genealogy, and what works, depends on you, and knowing what you are looking for. Search engines can't replace that. for example.. you don't mention what country (or state) gr grandpa is connected with. Sources for Texas will not be the same as ones for England. If he was in the US, he SHOULD be in census records, and should have a ww1 registration card. Those both are in ancestry, if you know where to look for them.

    From the main page at cyndi's (above) you should also find the military area and resources. If his records exist (some were destroyed by a fire), you should be able to order them from the Govt.. however, that will not be free. Not all records are going to be on the internet.

    If you can post his name and details (place and dates), someone should be able to help you.

  • 1 decade ago

    You can search census-online.com for links to census records from many years, if you know what state & county he lived in or close to. I found an EXCELLENT site that is a pay site, however, footnote.com. I think it's only 8.00 for a month, but they have records from the National Archives, and military records as far back as the Revolution. I found alot of interesting things there recently. Also, check with your public library. Alot of them have access to the pay genealogy sites for their patrons. Then there's always family search.org which is sponsored by the LDS church. They have history centers throughout the country, with an enormous amount of records available. Also check with your state & see if they have any resources available at their capitol. I live in AR and we have a heritage center with microfilm records available, however, with gas nearing 4.00 per gallon, might be cheaper to pay for ancestry! Good Luck in your search!

    Source(s): Family genealogist/bargain hunter x 15 years
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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