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Many of us wish we knew more about our family history, but few take the time to dig in and find the information. Maybe you have an elderly family member who knows all about previous generations. Now would be the time to gather the rich body of knowledge that only our senior family members know. Get their stories and map the family tree.

But you may have to begin your family history search entirely on your own. In that case, our modern technology enables us to do the entire search online. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to tracing family histories.

Here are some websites to start with. With many you’ll need to create an account and pay a monthly subscription fee. Some allow you to pay for a trial subscription. Other sites are entirely free. Genealogists recommend beginners start with general sites and then when they have a good outline of family lines, search out individuals on more specialized sites.

Most sites are gigantic databases which include records of births, deaths, marriages, baptisms, electoral rolls, military records and access to newspapers and periodicals of days past. Many have chat rooms and forums where you can swap tips with other researchers.

Check out these sites as you begin your family history research: (free) (free) (Australia)

Specialist Sites for Advanced Searches (military records)  (wills, military, apprenticeships)  (reference site for the UK and Ireland)   (genealogical gateway to hundreds of other sites)