Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Favorite Go-To Sites for "Where do I Start?"

I was trying to help a Family History Library patron yesterday with searching Austria genealogy.  I had never done research in Austria, so here I am, a library volunteer with no experience in Austrian genealogy.  How can I help her?  You've heard the sayings, "If all else fails, read the manual," or "Don't reinvent the wheel," and so here are my favorite go-to sites when I ask myself, "where do I start?"

1. - Excellent Research and Help sections to begin your search.  My favorites links are:
  • Articles - you can search by Place, Title, Subject or Document Type.  In searching for Austria, there was only a letter writing guide, so I moved on.
  • Research Guidance - again, not much on Austria, so I was able to quickly move to the next link.
  • Search the Wiki - I had a couple of choices - type in a keyword search, or go to a List All Countries:
When I did the keyword search, it returned a list of 222 search results.  Well, I wanted something a little more organized, so I chose "List All Countries" and went to Austria - and VOILA!  Just what I wanted - a search page neatly organized:

Wonderful!  You really have to learn a little about the country to see how it has evolved over the years, otherwise you could miss out on some search sites.  The Wiki helped with that as well, providing a Jurisdictions section explaining all about the evolution of Austria.

2.   I had forgot about this site, but it is a great site as well.  They are professional genealogists, but they have a great Research Tools section as well:

I love their International Genealogy Sleuth -- a listing of sites these researchers use when conducting genealogy research.  (They also have a United States Genealogy Sleuth page.)  To find Austria research, I selected WorldGenWeb Regions - Eastern Europe - and was able to get to the Austrian Genealogy Pages (hosted via

3.  The old favorite - Cyndi's List.  I hadn't visited Cyndi's List in a while, but it is still a good resource as well.  There was a link on the home page for "Austria/Osterreich" which got me on my way.  It too had all of its links logically organized.

More to look at:

4.   BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy also offers area-specific Research Guides with a few internet site links.

5.  Check out the WorldGenProject (if you first don't go to ProGenealogist's International Genealogy Sleuth above), and WorldGenWeb Archives (sadly, not too much to offer with the many online databases available via and

6.  Ancestry has a Help section, including their own Wiki.  When I searched the Wiki for "Austria," it returned 9 search results.  There were a couple of helpful links such as "Overview of Immigration Research, " "Foreign Sources for Immigration Records," and "Overview of Jewish American Research."  I perused these articles, but not too many links you can search.

Sadly, though we wish ALL countries and their records were available online, they are not.  So, if you have exhausted all of your online sources, your next bet is to go to the Library Catalog, find the country, state, county and/or city you are searching, and hope there exists microfilm rolls of the records you are searching.  For now you will need to order the films from your Local Family History Library, but SOMEDAY these will all be available online (via's Indexing project).


  1. Thanks you for the post about the LDS search. I seem never to be able to find anything there. I suspected that it was "operator error" and after seeing what you had posted, my thoughts have proved to be true.

    I will search better now.

  2. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"



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