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The seven basic facts we genealogists use to identify people (by "identify" I mean tell which man named William Miller is which) are birth date and place, marriage date and place, death date and place, and spouse s name - which will be maiden name for women. Banks use birth date and place for security questions. They also use mother s or grandmother s maiden name. So, to prevent identity theft, we genealogists don t put details of living people on the Internet. Some of us crafty ones tell Facebook we were born April 1, too, and change our birth year every year so that we are forever 39, just like Jack Benny. So, if a site like you wanted existed - where you enter your name and your BFF s name, and it calculates your closest common relation - it would be a disaster for normal people and a treasure trove for identity thieves. Since it would have to have birth and marriage dates, it would show who was having sex before marriage, too, which some people don t want to broadcast. (If someone is married in June and has a child that November, chances are they were having sex in February.) The biggest obstacle to the site of your dreams is the time it takes to do genealogical research. My standard estimate, for white people whose ancestors have been in the USA for a long time, is 100 - 300 hours to get back to 1850 on 75% of the lines. (only 1870 for black people, sadly.) I ve done that for my children, my first cousins, and a couple of people I like, but I do genealogy the way normal people do crossword puzzles. There aren t a lot of people like me out there. Most people s family trees haven t been researched; so, no data means no web site. What you can do is ask your grandparents who THIER grandparents were - names, birth, death and marriage dates and places, maiden names for women - and have your BFF do the same. Compare the two sets of great great grandparents. If someone looks like he/she is the same, you have a match and you are related.

There are over 400,000 free genealogy sites. Among them http://www.cyndislist.com - 250,000 links, all categorized. http://www.familysearch.org - The Mormons. Gazillions of records. wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com - Roots Web World Connect - 600,000,000+ entries usgenweb.org - Sites for every county in every state in the USA ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com - Social Security Death Index, 83 million names vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ca/death/ - California Death Index, 9,366,786 records http://www.findagrave.com - 43 million records genforum.genealogy.com - Query boards for every county in every state, and thousands of surnames. boards.ancestry.com - The other Query board site; counties and surnames too. archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com Roots Web Mailing List Archive - Over 30 million messages I have a page with real links to all of those, below, but you ll have to wade through some advice and warnings first. If you search the resolved questions in this category only for the word "Free"(use "Advanced" to limit your search to this category only), you ll find there are thousands questions with the word, and at least 2/3rds of them ask "How can I trace my family tree for free?", just like you did. The answers to those questions have lots of links and tips. We top 10 paste our stock answer to that question 3 - 12 times a day, sigh, and wonder why you kids haven t read the resolved questions. You are rare and special in some ways, undoubtedly, but not in your curiosity about your family. As of February 2011 there were 5,075 resolved questions with the word "free" in them in Genealogy. If you didn t mention a country, and you didn t go into Yahoo! by one of their international sub-sites, we can t tell if you are in the USA, UK, Canada or Australia. I m in the USA and my links are for it. If you are in the USA, AND most of your ancestors were in the USA, AND you can get to a library or FHC with census access, AND you are white Then you can get most of your ancestors who were alive in 1850 with 100 - 300 hours of research. You can only get to 1870 if you are black, sadly. Many people stop reading here and pick another hobby. No web site is going to tell you how your great grandparents decorated the Christmas tree with ornaments cut from tin foil during the depression, how Great Uncle Elmer wooed his wife with a banjo, or how Uncle John paid his way through college in the 1960 s by smuggling herbs. Talk to your living relatives before it is too late. You won t find living people on genealogy sites. You ll have to get back to people living in 1930 or so by talking to relatives, looking up obituaries and so forth. Finally, not everything you read on the internet is true. You have to be cautious and look at people s sources. Cross-check and verify. So much for the warnings. Here is the main link. http://www.tedpack.org/yagenlinks.html That page has links, plus tips and hints on how to use the sites, for a dozen huge free sites. Having one link here in the answer and a dozen links on my personal site gets around two problems. First, Y!A limits us to 10 links in an answer. Second, if one or more of the links are popular, I get "We re taking a breather" when I try to post the answer. This is a bug introduced sometime in August 2008 with the "new look". You will need the tips. Just for instance, most beginners either put too much data into the RWWC query page, or they mistake the Ancestry ads at the top for the query form. I used to teach a class on Internet Genealogy at the library. I watched the mistakes beginners made. The query forms on the sites are NOT intuitive.

by Kiah Collier, The Texas Tribune, Neena Satija, The Texas Tribune and Reveal, and Al Shaw and Lisa Song, ProPublica, The water that goes around the spillways is going to have to leave the reservoir somehow — and enter areas surrounding it.

ancestry.com has free "family tree forms". If you want it look like a tree, there are many of these on the web. Just google: "family tree forms"