Week #3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools
Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?
Well the best free online site I use all the time is the Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Home ). Since I do a lot of local research for others it is a wonderful resource for local marriages, the Washington Death Index, Social Security Death Index (Washington connected only) early births, naturalization records, land records, auditors records, military records, cemetery records, legislative records, pictures, territorial records (including territorial census).
Sam Reed the current Secretary of State was the champion for the digital archives, because he was charged with keeping the archives of Washington, and for the last 20 years or so nearly all the records are made on a computer, and no where was there any way for a regular archives to store digital records before Sam came up with a digital archives. Before it was even open, Sam asked the local gene societies of Washington if they would help digitize records the archives already had, and if they had any records they would like to submit. I had a few DOS databases we had collected over the years, and I was worried they would be lost since few people could even access a DOS database anymore. I have also helped digitize many records for them. Soon after it was open Family Search came and checked it out, they were both amazed by the actual archives and the support from volunteers to digitize records. Soon after that visit Family Search started their digitizing of the records and volunteers all over the world have been helping.
Sam is retiring at the end of this year, so we all need to thank Sam Reed for his help to all genealogists.