Searching ancestors in the USA, how?

0 votes
I would like to track family that moved to the USA a long time ago but I am not from the US myself and this make searching very hard.

I have tried the links on the Help pages but all related websites make me search on state and county. Is there a better way, like a national (or federal) database where I can find my info?

It seems any search I try throws me to but I can't (and won't!) pay for a prescribtion.

Any help would be much apreciated.
in Genealogy Help by Martyn Grifhorst G2G6 Mach 2 (24.2k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes

Try the free search tool on at particularly for immigrants to the US prior to 1940.

You can start with ranges - for example, from your info on Johanna Grifhorst I put in Birth Holland 1880-1889, didn't get a hit. 

Tried Johanna Cook, b Holland 1880-1889. Residence CA 1900-1940 got census data.  Found her with husband William also b. Holland and children born in CA.

If you know less, start with the name and a broader date range, or put in birth range w/o country and residence with US or State if you know it. 

Takes time to play with.  Often locating the children and putting in their data leads you to more. 


by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (883k points)
FYI I went absolutely bezerk today on familysearch. Found a dozen ancestors and two links back home. Now all I need is the link to my own tree ...

Thank you so much for the tip!

+1 vote
World Connect Project is also a good one to try:

I got hits on the last name Grifhorst, but not Johanna. This data base is made up of family trees turned in by individuals, but sometimes they have some pretty good documentation or at least clues of where to go next in your research.

USGENWEB Archives has a national search tool as well as a state search:

Also, you can do a surname search on
by Debby Black G2G6 Mach 8 (85.3k points)
Thank you too, Debby. I'll look into it.

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