I use Family Tree Maker 2012 for my genealogy software but this hint works with any of the products. The three websites I use are:
http://www.familysearch.org – and make sure you sign-in because there is a new feature – the source records – that is like Ancestry.com’s shoebox.
http://www.ancestry.com – I know it’s not free but it’s cheaper than lots of road trips and they have so much.
http://www.genealogybank.com – also not free but less than a premium cable channel and often on sale.
OK, now that you’ve done this.
Go into your records in your genealogy software and for each BMD you are missing do specific date range and place searches with the given and surnames at each of the above sites. In fact, now that I think of it, try ancestry.com LAST. You will often find what you need at the other two sites before you get to ancestry.com. Surprised? I sure was but Ancestry.com does not have 6100 newspapers and FamilySearch.org has digitized records in addition to the indexes.
I even found that I could leave out the given name and just use the surname, state, and date range and find whole families at these sites. This works best on US records since Genealogy bank only has US papers and records.
GenealogyBank.com has a new interface for members and it is much nicer and for some reason faster than the old interface. If you go to genealogybank.com and are not sure which interface you are looking at, there is a link at the top of the page. If it says “go to old site,” then you are using the new interface. If it says something along the lines of ‘try new site;' DO THAT. Also, be aware of a quirk with GenealogyBank.com, the surname is FIRST and then the given name.
So, sometimes, genealogy is like using a dictionary. If you know some specific information first, it’s easier to find more information.