VOLUME 31, NUMBER 7 THURSDAY, October 7, 1999

Finding Your Roots on the Web

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Where did you get those eyes? From your ancestors, of course! October is Family History Month and many genealogical societies and organizations are eager to get the word out about genealogy and family history. Did you know that genealogy is the second most searched topic on the Internet? There are many excellent Web sites with searchable databases, files and digitized primary sources, all waiting to be searched, downloaded and printed.

There are three major national sites that all family historians should visit. One of these is Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet at http://www.CyndisList.com. A metasite of mega proportions, Cyndi's list provides access to more than 55,000 links of genealogical related materials.

Rootsweb http://www.rootsweb.com/, a site averaging 140 million messages a month, is the oldest and largest genealogy site on the web. Providing various searchable databases from surname information to census records to ship transcriptions, one could easily obtain family information that would have taken years to amass.

The last, but certainly not the least, is FamilySearch http://www.familysearch.com/. This is the searchable database of the largest genealogy collection in the world, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Averaging 5 million "hits" a day, this 400 million (yes, 400 million) name database is a "must see." By the end of the year, the LDS plans to have more than 600 million names available for searching.

For Buffalo and Western New York research, the family historian has a wonderful array of informative Web sites. The most comprehensive of these is Roots: The Buffalo, N.Y. Genealogy Forum http://freenet.buffalo.edu/~roots/. Developed and maintained by Cynthia Van Ness, a librarian in the Special Collections Department of the Bufffalo and Erie County Public Library, this site offers excellent local resources/links with annotations. Another well-designed Web site is the Erie County GenWeb http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyerie/. As part of the NYGenWeb and the USGenWeb project, it attempts to gather in one place all the Internet resources for genealogical research in Erie County.

If all this information about searching the Internet to find your ancestors has you thinking about your own roots, then consider joining the Western New York Genealogical Society http://www.pce.net/outram/wny.htm. This society collects and preserves records of early settlers in the eight Western New York counties.

Since the 1976 publication of Alex Haley's "Roots," genealogy and family history has enjoyed great popularity and scholarship. With the Internet, the family historian often can search and find that elusive ancestor, correspond with long-lost cousins and add to the genealogical community's knowledge by sharing his or her files and information. For more information on these Web sites and many more, visit Genealogy: A guide to selected Internet resources http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/lml/Collections/genealogy.html.

For assistance in connecting to the World Wide Web via UB computer accounts, contact the Computing Center Help Desk at 645-3542.

-Cindy Seitz and Brenda Battleson, University Libraries

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