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Top 10 free online ancestry databases

FamilySearch.org, a top genealogy website, has published billions of free searchable historic records online, helping feed the growing frenzy of online family history enthusiasts.

For those who included family history on their list of 2015 new year’s resolutions, FamilySearch has announced its top 10 most searched online collections in 2014.

The top 10 most searched collections are all from the U.S., British Isles, and Germany, but FamilySearch hosts growing collections for more than 200 other countries.

Of FamilySearch.org’s 1,861 free online historic records collections, the top 10 most searched collections (see chart) include the free U.S. Censuses, public records, death, and immigration and naturalization indexes. The popularity of U.S. historical records can probably be attributed to the fact that the United States is a country of immigrants. And those hundreds of millions of descendants today are curious about their ancestral origins — which many will eventually extend to other countries.

In fact, only half of FamilySearch.org’s monthly patrons hail from within the United States. The other half of its online family history seekers are distributed from dozens of countries from Europe to Central and South America.

“Most of the U.S. population today probably can’t imagine living within just a few square miles of 400 years of their family’s history, which can be the norm in other places of the world,” said Jennifer Kerns Davis, a project manager in FamilySearch’s Records Division. “In fact, Americans today are probably in the minority if they live in the same state where their parents and both sets of grandparents were born. We are an actively migrating nation within our own borders.”

The remainder of the top ten list includes collections from England and Germany. This might have something to do with the fact that these countries experienced large volumes of emigration historically, and descendants today are actively tracing their roots into and out of those countries and regions.

There are billions of free historic records from more than 200 countries to search. And millions more are added monthly. To explore your ancestry, simply go to FamilySearch.org.

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