You may already be familiar with FamilySearch: your family tree there, vast collections of records from around the world, and many other benefits. But did you know that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have access to additional family history resources at no extra cost? FamilySearch has partnered with some of the largest online record collectors to make their resources available to you for free.
One of those partners is Geneanet, the largest genealogical website in continental Europe, with more than 4 billion individual names, 700,000 family trees, and helpful blogs and other information to make the search for your ancestors easier. If you have ancestors from continental Europe, you won’t want to miss this site. To get started, go to the Geneanet page on FamilySearch, and sign up for your free membership. Then continue reading to learn more about the resources offered by Geneanet and to see how a membership can benefit you.
Based in France, Geneanet has an extensive collection of French genealogical records. However, the collections on the website extend throughout Europe and beyond. They are available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish.
Records and Books from Europe and around the World. Geneanet’s indexed, digitized collections—more than 700,000 of them—span the globe. They include more than 350,000 record collections from France; 7,500 from the Netherlands; 6,700 from Madagascar; and 5,400 from India, just to name a few. Many of these are unique collections, not duplicated on other major genealogical websites. To see a list of available collections, click here (please realize that the entry names may not be translated and may not include a description, so deciphering exactly what the records are may be tricky). Geneanet also has hundreds of thousands of digitized and searchable books, along with a large collection of old newspapers. With such items as The Long Island Farmer, the Greece Press, and the United States Catholic Intelligencer, as well as more well-known publications and town histories, you will find plenty of resources to explore.
Member-Contributed Databases and Indexes. Geneanet has a significant amount of information that has been contributed by individuals and genealogical societies. This map shows how many indexes are available in some places in Western Europe. You can search the genealogical society indexes as a collection or select particular societies from the list and focus your search on those collections.
As with other FamilySearch partners, keep in mind that while the free membership gives you access to the great majority of resources available at Geneanet, a few records have been excluded, such as if a payment is required to the library or archive from which the record originated.
Adding Your Family Tree
The Geneanet site already has a large number of family trees (more than 700,000) and is still adding more. To add yours, simply click the Family Tree tab, and upload a GEDCOM. Then choose a theme color for your tree, and select your privacy settings.
Once you have a family tree in Geneanet, you can upload photos, attach sources, and view a variety of interesting things about your family. Above the individual highlighted on your family tree, you should see the Matches tab, which allows you to search the Geneanet collection for records containing information about your ancestor. Above this, from the Menu tab, you will find options for viewing a map or examining personalized statistics (see the statistics shown), allowing you to see your family from a different perspective.
A Community of Learning
Geneanet is a site that emphasizes collaboration. From the main menu, the Community tab allows you to select Forums or Collaborative Assistance. In Forums you can ask or answer questions. In Collaborative Assistance you can exchange genealogy favors. For example, you might ask someone to look for a record in a particular archive or take a photo in a particular cemetery. In return, you would do a similar service for someone else.
The Projects tab also offers creative, collaborative possibilities. You will find listings like cemeteries, memorials, postcards, and archival registers. You can search to see what others have added, or you can make your own contributions. For example, the postcard section is filled with fascinating scenes of long-ago people, landscapes, and buildings, which capture the world your ancestors lived in.
Under the More tab, you will find the Geneanet blog, with articles highlighting news and tips specific to Geneanet as well as general genealogy news. This tab also offers resources to help you trace your French ancestors, information about the origins of first and last names, and a fee-based, Ask an Expert section. In the Origin of Last Names section, Geneanet displays a map showing the major places where a particular name is found in records. For people with unusual last names, this can be particularly useful. In addition, you can sign up to receive Email Alerts by Last Name, which sends weekly notices of new information added to the Geneanet database about a last name of interest to you.
If you are ready to expand your family tree searches and explore new genealogy resources, sign up for your free Geneanet membership. Then explore the records, import your family tree, and see just what this robust community has to offer. In the process of learning more about Geneanet, you will probably learn more about your family too.
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