There are many online resources for family history research, both pay and free. Some pay sites have ways you can access them for free.
Heritage Quest can be accessed through the Fort Dodge Public Library, if you have a library card there. Go to the library’s website, click on Online Resources in the menu bar near the top and scroll down to Heritage Quest. The first time you click, it will ask you to enter the bar code from the institution that referred you. That means enter your library card number. Then you can access Heritage Quest.
At a Family History Center, you can access several pay sites for free. This only works on the computers that belong to that center, as they have special software that registers the computers for those sites. These sites include:
- 19th Century British Library Newspapers digital archive
- Newspaper Archives
- Alexander Street Press, American Civil War
- ArkivDigital Online
- Find My Past
- Heritage Quest Online
- Historic Map Works Library Edition
- Legacy Stories
- Paper Trail
- World Vital Records
Note: The Family History Center in Fort Dodge is currently closed while they are waiting for new computers.
A good place to start looking for resources is Cyndi’s List. It is described as “A comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.” You can browse categories or do a search to find what you are looking for, and then go to the actual site. It’s like a card catalog for online genealogy resources.
Familysearch.org is a free site with a lot of resources. There are several ways to search: by name in records or submitted genealogies, through a card catalog, and by region are a few. You can register for free and keep your family tree there, as well. If you are registered, you can upload photos (they are open to public view), stories and documents.
This is only a short list, but it’s a good start.