Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?
Probably the free online genealogy tool that has helped me the most has been Google books. While not a genealogy tool per se, Google books online archive has allowed me to research older county histories and published genealogies that I might not have been able to access without an enormous expenditure of time and money.
Even those books that only provide a snippet view have been valuable as they can point to previously unknown resources that I might later decide to seek out in a library or purchase.
Particularly with ancestors and relatives with unusual names, the "hit" ratio on mentioned names being my people has turned out to be pretty high. I particularly enter names of the more difficult ancestors to see what might turn up.
For your older lines, particularly New England, searches of Google books will lead to many published genealogies that can provide fodder for future research.
For modern research, including locale research, many publishers have allowed preview pages that can give you the information you need while allowing you to decide whether you want to purchase or locate the book in a library. With today's limited budgets, this has proved invaluable.