101 Best Web Sites 2009
By David A. Fryxell
Count on us to point you to genealogy's top digital destinations: 10 standouts in 10 areas (plus one!) add up to the 10th edition of our 101 Best Web Sites.
If our ancestors had swung down from the trees with six fingers on each hand, we'd probably be counting by dozens. But thanks to humanity's development of 10 fingers and 10 toes, we count things in 10s, group the years in decades and celebrate anniversaries ending in 0—such as this 10th annual installment of Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Web Sites.
We're marking the occasion by honoring 10 categories of 10 noteworthy sites each (plus one to make 101, of course). With this 10th roundup of meritorious sites, we've also sought to break the mold a bit and encompass more of the "Web 2.0" sites that are paving the way for changes in online genealogy over the next 10 years. Something had to give, however, to keep our count at a manageable 101, so we've omitted some old favorites—still worth bookmarking, nonetheless—and several excellent foreign research sites of interest to genealogists with that particular ancestry.
Sites that are mostly free but where you might still wind up pulling out your credit card for some purchase or other are marked with a $. Subscription-only sites and those where you have to pay for any meaningful results are indicated with $$.
What's the one Web resource in a class by itself? Ancestry.com $$, of course. What can we say? With its ever-expanding collection of databases and globe-spanning country-specific sites, Ancestry.com comes the closest to realizing the dream of doing real genealogy online—not just finding a few clues, but tracing your ancestors in primary sources. The complete US census, indexed, searchable and linked to images, is only the beginning here. An annual membership is $155.40 for US collections only, or $299.40 for the World Deluxe membership.