I covered FamilySearch.org in an earlier post, and this continues to be a wonderful resource, of course.
But the Mormons are up to something that might be even better. They've quietly posted a Pilot Site with a new Search for Ancestors interface. If you've used FamilySearch before, it will certainly look familiar.
But the results are different!
One difference is in format. The Pilot Site search returns very clear information identifying a person by name, the source of information (such as 1900 US Census, Passenger Lists, etc), and detailing life events (date of birth, etc), and family relations (spouse, siblings, parents).
But an even bigger difference is what happens next. Clicking on a name provides more information. In about five seconds I had the name of the ship that transported my great grandfather from Russia, via Hamburg, and into New York.
More clicks can take you to actual page images of census records, ship manifests, and so on. Let me say that again: you can use the Pilot Site to get free access to census records and page images.
It's not entirely clear what other differences will ultimately become a part of this new system, and how different it will be from the main FamilySearch search function. But this is a fun and useful resource, and a very welcome addition to the world of free genealogical tools.
Ah! Life was fun in the Old Country
Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots