Find relatives in the United States for free – 15 family history sources


Genealogy can be both expensive and difficult. We have listed up some pages under here that you may or may not know.

These websites may not have anything to do with the ease of finding your ancestors, but at least they do not charge to share the sources they hold. Good hunting!

1. The Federal Writer’s Project

When the Great Depression hit the United States after the stock market crash in 1929, unemployment became a huge problem. One of the measures to employ the country’s citizens was “The Federal Writer’s Project”. About 300 writers were paid to visit 24 states and interview nearly 3,000 people. The stories have since been digitized and indexed. Maybe you could get lucky and find your “lost” ancestor. Go to the page and search for the surname of your relative in the top right.


“The National Archives” and “Records Administration”.

Here, archival documents are secured, stored and digitized. The documents are also searchable online, for free. Some documents are scanned and can be read on the net, others are only shown as an indication that the original is in NARA’s archives.

3. FamilySearch

This is a fairly well-known resource among genealogists. FamilySearch is managed through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormons. Here, digitized family history material is found not only from the United States, but also from a number of other countries including Norway. FamilySearch is often used as an alternative to payment services such as MyHeritage and Ancestry.

4. The 1940 Census

If you have a letter or otherwise have become familiar with the address of your relative, the census of 1940 may be relevant. The census is divided by street, city, county and state. This makes it challenging to search with limited information. However, just bring a cup of coffee and prepare for a few hours of browsing data according to the name of your relative.

5. Elephind

This website aims to digitize all of the newspapers in the world. So far, they have some way to go before that goal has been reached, but part of the newspapers from the US are digitized and searchable. Worth a try.

6. The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island

If your relative arrived in the United States between 1892 and 1954, you may find him or her in the records of the Ellis Island immigrant reception. During the 62 years the reception served as the entrance to the United States, 12 million immigrants found their way into the United States via Ellis Island.

7. Castle Garden

If your relative arrived in the United States before 1892, the records of Castle Garden could be more interesting. Located at the tip of Manhattan, Castle Garden received immigrants from 1855 to 1890.

Read also : The Immigrant Reception at Castle Garden

8. SUVCW National Graves Registration Project

SUVCW is a project that is about to record where all the veterans of the American Civil War are buried. The project is based on voluntary efforts and has been going on since 1996. The site estimates that there were between 4.2 and 4.8 million veterans, but many are buried in mass graves without documentation. For this reason, they consider it unrealistic to document all the veterans, but they hope to gather all documented veterans in the register.

9. Find a grave

A website that allows volunteers to register tombs from all around the world. The United States, Canada and England are among the best represented countries.

10. Chronicling America

The Library of Congress is behind a newspaper service where you can search in US newspapers from 1789 to 1924. Should you need information that was in a newspaper before 1789, they also have a catalogue of US papers published from 1690 until today.

11. DeadFred

This is a page that allows volunteers to submit old photographs where the depicted are named. In this way, visitors can search for photographs of their relatives they may not have known existed. The site has a requirement that the picture must be from before 1960 and that the person in the picture must be dead.

12. The USGenWeb Project

The project consists of a group of volunteers who collect family history material on a website to offer it for free.

13. United States Census

The website has collected a number of censuses from the United States in micro-form format. They are of course scanned, but not transcribed. It is therefore a big job to look for relatives in these registers, but they are there and they are completely free.

14. Interment

The site gives you free access to over 6 million graves. Their memory inscriptions and the burial memory records.

15. Whitepages

In many places the phone book may be dead in paper format, but it still exists online. If you have a unusual surname, you may find relatives there. A special thing about this page is that it also states approximately the age of the person you have searched for and even the names of family members.