Monday, December 29, 2008

While this site is still in its beta testing state and may not always operate correctly, I believe it's worth listing here for its vast resources and potential as a great place to start your European Genealogy research. Rather than paraphrase what the site is all about I have included a quote from their "About Us" page.
" is about ideas and inspiration. It links you to 2 million digital items.
* Images - paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
* Texts - books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
* Sounds - music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
* Videos - films, newsreels and TV broadcasts
Some of these are world famous, others are hidden treasures from Europe's
* museums and galleries
* archives
* libraries
* audio-visual collections"
When this is fully functional, this is going to be at the top of my list of great places to do research. Fair warning, some of the archives are in the native language of the country of origin, so you may need an interpreter for those that are not in English. Check it out:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Freeport Long Island Newspapers

Here are more newspapers to search. This collection of Long Island Newspapers is found on the Long Island Memories site and is a project of the LILRC Digitization Program serving twenty-six libraries on the Island. So far the project has the following Freeport newspapers available:
Daily Review of Nassau County
Freeport News
South Side Messenger
Queens County Review
Nassau County Review
Nassau Post

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cook County, Illinois Genealogy

This is a very helpful site for those with roots in the Chicago area or with relatives that lived there are may have passed through. While the actual documents are not on line, their datebases available make searching their records a breeze. Once you find the person and record number, you can order the original document from the county. You can search birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. You'll need to register with your name and email address and create a password once you have read and agreed to the terms. Other than that, the site is free to search. Records here go back 136 years, starting in 1872.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Digital Library of Appalachia

The Digital Library of Appalachia is an online starting point for those researching their roots in this part of rural America. It provides access to archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachian region. The material and documents available here are from various special collections contained in Appalachian College Association member libraries.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quincy Historical Newspaper Archive

On-Line newspaper archives always grab my attention. This one is no exception. The Quincy Historical Newspaper Archive contains newspapers that were published between 1835 and 1919. The contents of all issues are fully text searchable and reflect the full context and layout of each page. If you have any ancestors that passed through or lives in the Quincy Illinois area, this one should be included in your search plans.
Here's the link:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jackson County, Indiana, History Archive

The Jackson County, Indiana, History Archive is not a huge archive. But it does have some original documents that gives a look at the area which was settled starting in the early 1800s. Indiana became a state in 1816 and this county was and important crossroads between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky. The area is believed to have been an early location for French traders and once was considered as location for the state capital and the county seat. The north-south bound and east-west bound railroads intersected there about 1852. Currently the site has the following books (with original page scans) available:

1900: Seymour City and Business Directory
1915: Directory...[Jackson County] Indiana
1886: History of Jackson County, Indiana. Brant and Fuller.

In addition, there's a nice photo collection. Visit the Jackson County Digital Archive Project through the following link:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Woodson Research Center - Rice University

The Woodson Research Center at Rice University in Houston Texas has a huge amount of original documents on line, a great deal of which really don't relate to genealogy. However, deep within its digital library available on line you'll find this collection which makes the following documents (original scans) available to view on line, for free and without cost.

* Anne Marie Stewart Turner letters, 1857-1913
* Broun family U.S. Civil War papers, 1854-1888
* Charlotte and Maximilian Collection, 1846-1927
* Dillingham Family papers, 1858-1958
* Early Houston histories and documents
* General George Cullum Civil War Letter, 1861
* Illuminated Sacred Music Manuscripts
* James F. Grimes U.S. Civil War letters, 1863-1864
* John A. Dix Civil War Pass and Letter, 1862, 1869
* John Brown letter, 1862
* John C. Crosby U.S. Civil War Diary
* John Campbell Personal Papers, 1820-1906
* John Wyatt Moody biographical papers
* Lamar travel journal
* Libby Prison Inmate U.S. Civil War Letter, 1864
* Neumann Family Papers, 1850-1955
* Presentations and Publications by Woodson Research Center staff
* Southwestern Archivist Newsletter
* Texas City disaster records

Check it out at this link:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives

Just days ago, we once again remembered December 7, 1941. The date and historic event changed the lives of millions of people worldwide. The next day, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the United States and Britain declared war on Japan. Just two months later, one particular group of people, Japanese Americans, would find themselves being evacuated and removed to remote locations by Executive Order 9066, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nearly 122,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry on the west coast of the United States (but not those in Hawaii) were evacuated from their homes in California, Oregon, and Washington and were sent to "relocation camps." These "Evacuated" families left behind homes, businesses, pets, land, and most of their belongings. Taking only what they could carry. This web site takes a look at these people through their photos, letters, diaries and more. While not specifically genealogical in nature, this site is well worth the time spent to get to know a very special group of people who did nothing to cause their relocation other than being of Japanese descent.
Here's the link.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War

This site concentrates on two communities: Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania curing the US Civil War. This gem of digital documents includes thousands of letters, diaries, newspapers, speeches, plus census and church records left by men and women from the two counties during the period of the war and reconstruction period after. The collection is broken into three destinct time periods: Fall 1859 - Spring 1861; Spring 1861 - Spring 1865; & Spring 1865 - Fall 1870. My only disappointment with this site is the fact that, with a few exceptions, original document scans are not available. This is a text based archive, transcribed from the originals. Here's the link:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

South Carolina Archives

This site is free to access and free to use if you need to research family in the state of South Carolina. You'll find several groups of documents here including:
Confederate Pension Applications 1919 - 1938 - 10,242 items

Criminal Journals 1769 - 1776 - 2,087 items

Index to Multiple Record Series ca. 1675 -1929 -173,042 items

Legislative Papers 1782 - 1866 - 53,489 items

National Register of Historic Places - 1,415 items

Plats for State Land Grants 1784 - 1868 - 51,809 items >br>
School Insurance Photographs 1935 - 1952 - 2,662 items

Will Transcripts 1782 - 1855 - 11,059 items

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hawaii Digital Libraries

There are two digital libraries available that cover Hawaii history and culture. Ulukau was the first one established, and it contains documents that were written in Hawaiian, with the translation included if one is available. The second of the digital libraries is the Hawaiʻi Digital Library (HDL). It contains materials about Hawaiʻi that were written in English. If you have research needs in the state you might first want to view the publication: Manual on Retrieval of Genealogical and Land Information. Another interesting volume is: The Polynesian Family System in Kaʻu, Hawaiʻi. The Fornlader volumes will also give you some insight into the early life and the Polynesian race. Actual vital statistics don't seem to be available here. However the site is full of historical information that will give you some ideas where you need to look next, if your genealogy has roots in Hawaii.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Utah Digital Archives

Often when we think of Utah and genealogy we first think of the Mormon records in Salt Lake City. However, the state of Utah has a series of digital collections from the Division of Archives and Records Service. Three digital collection in particular caught my eye: Prisoners' pardon application case files, 1892-1949; Sanpete County Clerk Death Register, 1898-1904 and Death certificates, 1904-1956. Once you search and find the person you can view the actual document on line. There are other records available here also such as the Utah Governor records; Brand Books from 1849-1930 and Fifth District Court Cases - Beaver County, 1986 - 1998 . Here's the link for another gem of free to search and free to access on line genealogy information.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mayflower Families (Through the Looking Glass)

This site has quite a few original documents that have been scanned and are available primarily in the document center area. Other areas of the site include text transcripts.

The Document Center houses many New England And Miscellaneous Early American Documents. You'll find document scans of wills, deeds, land transfers, warrants and others. They consist primarily of documents found at auction and according to the web site "are included here in the hopes that the genealogical content will be of value to users." So, what you'll find is quite at random and often quite rare. But it's worth a visit.
Here's the link to the main site.

Monday, November 24, 2008

African-American Newspapers and Periodicals

This on line archive comes from the Wisconsin Historical Society. The African-American Newspapers and Periodicals site contains digital copies of many newspapers and magazines by and about African-Americans. The oldest recorded publication, Freedom's Journal, dates back to 1827. Also in the collection, available on line, are hundreds of other newspapers published in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
The link is here:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Territorial Kansas Online

This site focuses on the turbulent times of Kansas. Here you will find hundreds of personal letters, diaries, photos, and maps that concentrate on that period in the area's history known as "Bleeding Kansas." This site offers scans of original documents from the time people from the east began to arrive and settle there and focuses on that period prior to the Civil War when there was a fierce debate over slavery. This is another of those hidden "free" gems found on the Internet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Illinois State Archives

The Illinois State Archives has many databases online for searching. Among them are a marriage index from 1763-1900 and two death indexes: Pre-1916 and 1915-1950. There are also several Illinois veterans databases and repositories from about seven universities located in the state and more. Check it out at:

Digital Quaker Collection

This collection from the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana is a digital library containing full text and page images of over 500 individual Quaker works from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can search and browse the collection of over 500 volumes considered to be in the public domain. According to the web site, "The geographic range takes in England, Ireland, and America. One can find in this collection journals, histories, doctrinal works, letters, sermons, pamphlets, and proceedings. The Digital Quaker Collection represents a portion of the holdings of the Friends Collection of Lilly Library of Earlham."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Germany - Bremen Passenger Lists 1920 - 1939

If your roots are in Germany, like some of mine, you may find this one helpful, especially if the time of emigration is between 1920 and 1939. Unfortunately, my German ancestors came to the U.S. about sixty years earlier. This project was completed with the help of the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. You may hit the jackpot if the time period is right, but you should know that only 2851 out of 4420 listings for that time period are still existing and have been transcribed completely. Passengers in total: 637,880

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Danish Emigration Database

If you have Danish roots, this site could be a helpful place to start.

According to the web site information, there were a number of scandals prior to 1868 in which unsuspecting emigrants were conned by Danish emigration agents. So the Danish parliament passed regulations that year requiring the Copenhagen Chief of Police to approve and monitor all emigration agents in Denmark. Subsequently, he was also required to authorize all overseas tickets made out in Denmark. The information from each ticket was copied down in ledgers, and thus became the Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants. A total of 90 thick volumes were compiled but are difficult to use.
In 1990 the Danish Emigration Archives began compiling a database including all the information provided in the police records for all Danish emigrants. Currently the database contains records for 394,000 persons who emigrated from May 24, 1868, to December 1908.
Source: The Provincial Archives of Sealand, Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants 1868-1940: no. 21-58 Direct emigrants; 198-248 Indirect emigrants; 59-196 Ships sailings with passenger lists.
Be sure to read the FAQ on the site for more insight into the database and how to do an effective search.
This link:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Maryland State Archives

Within the web site of the Maryland State Archives is a sub section of online records called "Archives of Maryland Online." This one has some really good material going back to the early history of Maryland. Four collections here caught my eye: Early State Records, Military, Probate and Provincial Land Records. If you have ancestors that lived in Maryland, you'll want to pay this site a visit. Some of the records here go back to 1634. Under the Early State Records link you'll find some newspapers dating back to 1802.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System

The National Park Service in the U.S. has this free service compiled from service records and other resources. It's a a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. This project began with the Names Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives. This site also includes information from regimental histories (Union and Confederate)and links to descriptions of 384 significant battles of the war. In time the system is expected to expand to include information about soldiers, sailors, regiments, and battles, as well as prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records.

Mississippi Digital Library

I am amazed at the number of cooperative projects underway around the country between major universities and state archives providing free access to images of original documents on line. The latest one I discovered is a cooperative project between the University of Southern Mississippi, Delta State University, the University of Mississippi, Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. This one, called the Mississippi Digital Library, includes cemetery tombstone listings with obituaries, marriage listings, oral histories with leading citizens, college yearbooks and other documents. The site also features original images of many letters, including some from John Quincy Adams. One particular item I found quite interesting was the Jefferson Davis Soldier's Home dining hall record. This document includes daily entries listing the food served at each meal during the day and usually includes a brief note of daily activities such as reunions, deaths, visits, and other events. Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans started The Jefferson Davis Soldier's Home for Confederate Civil War Veterans and their wives in 1902 on Jefferson Davis' estate, Beauvoir, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Here's the link:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kansas Memory

This project of the Kansas Historical Society also has documents from the Kansas State Archives. There are quite a few levels and menus. But, after you poke around a bit, I think you'll find there is a great deal of information here for people researching their ancestors and the history of this plains state.

There's information and amazing photos of significant periods in Kansas history including the "Dust Bowl days" of the great depression. You can search or browse by subject and you can even brows by time period such as the Civil War period of 1861-1865 and the Cattle Drive period from 1867 to 1885 and much more.

I think you'll finding the clock will tick away the hours once you land on this site.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kentuckiana Digital Library

The Kentuckiana Digital Library is another great find of free to access and free to use information from state archives. This one includes rare and unique digitized collections housed in Kentucky archives. By now you know I get excited about old newspaper being available on line. This collection offers about 36 different newspapers fully viewable on line. Plus, there are old photos from the Lexington Herald Leader, antiquarian books, oral histories, old manuscripts and more.
Follow this link to get there:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans / Military Records at NARA

More and more records from the National Archives are showing up as searchable databases on line. You'll find a treasure trove of great information at the National Archives sub site called: Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
Since this is Veteran's Day in the U.S., I should point out that there are quite a few military databases available including: World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records on Korean War Dead and Wounded Army Casualties; Records of World War II Prisoners of War; and Records with Unit Information on Military Personnel Who Died During the Vietnam War. There's more here beside military records, including passenger lists.
Another great free resource, although technically U.S. citizens paid for this through their generous tax dollars.
Here's the link:

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Adams Family Papers

No... it's not about Morticia, Gomez, Lurch and uncle Fester. It's about our second president and his wife Abigail. The Massachusetts Historical Society makes this one available and according to the web site, values it as one of its "most important collections." It contains digital images of the letters exchanged between John and Abigail Adams, John Adams' diary, and John Adams' autobiography. They are all presented alongside transcriptions for easy reading.
While you may not have a direct connection to this family, I think you'll find them interesting reading.
The direct link:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Washington State Digital Archives

This is a very robust collection located in the state of Washington and is unique because it combines not only records from the various state agencies, but also from the counties and towns.
You can view the results using the special DjVu Browser Plug-in from LizardTech to view the images, but they provide a link to easily download the special reader to your computer. I had difficulty getting the link to work. But, if that doesn't work you can view the results as a jpg image. There's also information in the site about ordering paper copies and the costs. However, the on-line data is free to access and free to use.
The link:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prairie Settlement - Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters

The collection from the Nebraska Historial Society is actually two collections in one; Solomon D. Butcher photographs and the letters of the Uriah W. Oblinger family.
The photographs were taken from about 3,000 glass plate negatives crafted by Butcher. They actually captured as images the process of settlement in Nebraska between 1886 and 1912. Butcher photographed mainly in the central part of Nebraska in the counties of Custer, Buffalo, Dawson and Cherry. The Oblinger family letters cover such things as land, work, neighbors, crops, religious meetings, problems with grasshoppers, financial problems, and the Easter Blizzard of 1873. Uriah Oblinger came from Indiana to Fillmore County, Nebraska in 1873. Even if you have no family connection, you'll find these fascinating reading.
Here's the direct link to the collections.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Florida Digital Newspaper Library

This collection is housed at the University of Florida - George A. Smathers Libraries.
Currently there are about 50 historic newspapers from the Sunshine State on line. Some of the newspapers date back to the mid 1800s and some are more recent. The searching is quite easy and the viewer provided is quite nice. While there is currently no apparent way to cut and past a portion of the image, like you can do with Adobe Reader, you can save the entire page with a right click of your mouse (on a PC) and do the cropping with your own image editing software such as Paint Shop Pro, Photo Shop or Gimp. Images are in the jpeg format.
This one is also free to access and free to use. I did note that at times the system slows down, probably from student usage at the university.
Here's the link:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Utah - Death certificates, 1904-1956

Often when we hear the state of Utah mentioned we first think of the massive holdings of the LDS Church's Family History Centers. The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service has a nice database on line from their collection of Vital Records and Statistics. You can search death certificates for the years 1904-1956.
Check it out. It's free.

Monday, November 3, 2008

University of Wisconsin -Kenoska County History

This collection spans the years between 1830s-1940s and contains materials covering the history of Kenosha County, Wisconsin. This county is located in the southeastern most part of Wisconsin right along the border with Illinois. In about 1835 settlers started arriving from New York and New England. Until the 1880s the area was mostly a farming community and after the 1890s experienced industrial growth through the 1930s. The collections sub headings include: People; Homes and Buildings; Business and Industry; Churches; Recreation and Special Events; Transportation; Local Government; Cityscapes; & Books.
Under books you find such popular references as "J.H. Beers and Co. Commemorative biographical record of prominent and representative men of Racine and Kenosha counties, Wisconsin, containing biographical sketches of business and professional men and of many of the early settled families (1906)" I always warn people to be careful with books like this as they are often examples of what I call very early "vanity press." Often the material contained in these publications is paid for by the family being written about and may or may not be 100% accurate. Or, lets say information may have been carefully omitted.

The link:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Westchester County New York - Archives

Here you'll find some scanned copies of documents from the county's archives, including Washington Irving's will. In case you forgot, he's the author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." But, perhaps the best resource found here is the "Records of Veterans from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I, and Cemetery Maps." These records were made possible through a Work Projects Administration project in late 1930s; While the source(s) for information recorded for each veteran are not available or even known, each index card contains such information as "place and date of birth, record of service, commendations, hometown, cause and date of death, and burial site." Of course with a project of this type, the amount of information available varies. But, it's a great place to start, if your family has origins in the county or passed through. Also included are maps of cemeteries with graves of veterans and war served in marked, but stops short of putting a name on the cemetery map. It's still a very handy source of information.
Here's the link:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Jersey Photograph and Manuscript Collection

More from New Jersey - the link will take you to another section of the New Jersey State Archives where you will find more than 3,000 images of photographs and items from its manuscript collection. The main headings include the following:
Portraits of Soldiers
Historic Structures, Sites and Parks
New Jersey Institutions
Transportation and Public Works
Military Activities & Monuments
Military Service Records
Governors' Documents
Slave Records
Lindbergh Kidnapping
Family Papers

Be sure you dig deeper in each category. There are some real gems here. For example; you will find 284 records from the "U.S. Colored Troops Service Files" during the Civil War; 57 images of Hunterdon County slave freedom papers, 1788-1836; and 415 birth certificates of children born to Hunterdon County slaves, 1804-1835.

Here's the link:

New Jersey State Archives Databases

The New Jersey Department of State has six searchable databases on line that include about 336,000 entries in the State Archive Collections as follows:
Supreme Court Case Files, 1704-1844
Marriage Records, 1666-1799
Index to Marriages, 1848-1867
1885 Census
Legal Name Changes, 1847-1947
Revolutionary War Damages, 1776-1782

These on-line databases gives you the basic information. In the case of Index to Marriages, you see the groom and bride's names, location or place of marriage, place of registration, the date and the original document reference number. If you need the original document there are instructions on how to order, as well as some ordering limitations. The information here on line is free to access and free to use.
Here's the link:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates

You can now view Arizona Birth & Death Certificates on line for free. Birth certificates are available from 1854 and death certificates from 1844 but are limited to those that occurred 75 years ago or longer for births and deaths from 50 years ago and older. So, as of 2008 births range from 1854 to 1932 and deaths 1844 to 1957. The certificate images provided are limited to those that occurred in Arizona.
Here's the link:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

American Libraries -

Don't let this one fool you. On your initial visit this site looks daunting. This collection contains materials from hundreds of libraries around the the United States. It may not appear to have much for the genealogist. But, take a closer look and be creative with your searches. I did a search on the word "genealogy." The resulting listing showed hundreds of rare volumes of family history books including several volumes of "The New York genealogical and biographical record." I think you'll find yourself spending hours at this site. I know I plan to spend more time here.
Here's the link:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Digital Past - North Suburban Library System in Illinois

Digital Past, which I found at the North Suburban Library System in Illinois, has a superb collection of digital documents. It's a little difficult to figure ouot at first because they don't show a list if the specific collections. But don't let this deter you. With a little exploring, it didn't take me long to find a system that worked for me. Searches a massive collection of photographs, postcards, diaries, oral histories, documents, movies, interpretive exhibits, and other historical materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural venues throughout Illinois.
I suggest that if you are in search of a particular family line, start by browsing with a Proper Names. If you know a particular company or organization that plays a role in your family line, then browse by Organization, followed by a particular City if you know where the family lived in Illinois.
Here's the link:

Monday, October 27, 2008

More from Canada - Canadian Genealogy Center - Archives

Your first choice upon entering is English or French, then on the next page you are greeted with:

"Welcome to the Canadian Genealogy Centre
A great place to research your family history!"

There are many databases to search. However I suggest you start at the very top:
Ancestors Search: Combined genealogical databases

and see where that leads. Then when you are done with that, explore the site. There's more than meets the eye at first visit.
Here's the link:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid

This is similar to the Ontario database but is for British Columbia and includes over 344,000 interments.

Here's the link:

Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid

Do you have relative that lived in the province of Ontario, Canada? This on line database has records of more than 3 million interments. The incredibly fast search engine looks at records of several thousand cemeteries, cairns, memorials, and cenotaphs. The results displayed include: name, cemetery, county, township and reference number. You can the use the reference number to obtain the name and address of the contributing organization. This is great to cut down on hunting unknown cemeteries and millions of road miles. You can zero in on where to go and whom to contact.

Here's the link:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prelinger Library - is just about the coolest place I ever found on the Internet. Not only does it include rare films, audio, text and The Way Back Machine (takes you back in time to see how web sites today looked in the past.) Hidden in the huge archive is the Prelinger Library. The description on the opening screen describes the library as a "private research library open to the public, located in downtown San Francisco." The library's collections include about 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera. The library is currently making possible this on line collection of public domain books and materials. Your searches need to be a little creative. So, play around and you'll be surprised at what you might find.
I searched for Kent England. The results included such things as family surname histories, parish registers, town histories and more.
Here's the link:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coloradio Historic Newspapers

(Revised and updated Jan 18, 2011) Ok, I admit it, I have this thing for historic newspapers. I find them fascinating to read and a wonderful source of information about people and what was going on in the communities where they lived. I just found this resource that I could have used fifteen years ago when I traveled to Boulder, Colorado just to get access to the Boulder Daily Camera to find a gr gr uncle. Now historic issues of that paper and about 148 more from both sides of the Rockies are available through this link for Colorado Historic Newspapers.
Here's the link:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eastern North Carolina Digital Library

There are hundreds of items available to search on this site. But, the one that caught my eye was the first entry when I selected Titles (browse text alphabetically by title). Abstract of North Carolina wills is a compilation of abstracts of every will found in the office of the North Carolina Secretary of State. The abstracts in the images from this book published in 1910 gives the name of the testator; place of residence; and names of wife, children, legatees, witnesses, and probate officer; names of plantations; and "remarkable items or noteworthy passages" in the wills.
For anyone with NC Roots, this is a must visit and it's free.
Here's the link:

National Gravesite Locater - Bureau of Veterans Affairs

This site lets you search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries. This register includes veterans who are buried in private cemeteries, if the grave is marked with a government grave marker. I did a quick search on my Rev War ancestor, as I had ordered a replacement marker a few years ago. Yup, he was in it.

The information in this database comes from many sources including the records of the VA. You should be aware that some records have more or less information depending on what information was available. As with private cemeteries, the information provided is what was gleaned from the application forms provided for the purpose of determining the eligibility of the veteran for the government marker. 1997 is the cut off year. Any markers placed on graves after that year are not included in the database.

Here's the link:

Colonial Connecticut Records 1636-1776

This collection of records from the early history of Connecticut is housed at the University of Connecticut and was made possible through a cooperative effort of The University of Connecticut Libraries with support of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center and the Connecticut State Library. This collection is from Connecticut (Colony). The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, from April 1636 to October 1776 ... transcribed and published, (in accordance with a resolution of the General assembly). Hartford: Brown & Parsons. 1850-1890. 15 vols.
If you choose to browse the collection, the index is quite extensive and arranged by surname and keywords. The search feature is limited but allows you to search for a specific date or volume and page number.
Here's the link to the collection:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Missouri Birth & Death Records Database, Pre-1910

This collection is just a small portion of the data that the State of Missouri makes available to search on line. You can search two different areas: birth and stillborn records prior to 1910 and death records for the same period. It's part of the larger Missouri Digital Heritage which has several other databases on line to search also such as:
Books, Pamphlets, and Monographs
Military Records and Resources
Missouri Newspapers
County and Municipal Records and much more.

To search the Birth and Death Records follow this link:
The main site for Missouri Digital Heritage is here:

Pennsylvania Archives Records Information Access System (ARIAS)

The Pennsylvania State Archives has quite a collection of useful information for genealogists and family historians, all on line for free access. You'll find the following collections available:

PA National Guard Veterans' Card File, 1867-1921
Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866
Mexican Border Campaign Veterans' Card File
World War I Service Medal Application Cards
Spanish American War Veterans' Card File of United States Volunteers
Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File
Militia Officers Index Cards, 1775-1800
So, if you have ancestors from Pennsylvania, this could be a valuable tool.
Here's the link:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brooklyn Public Library - Brooklyn Daily Eagle

I love old newspapers and this one is great if you have any family or ancestors that lived in its coverage area between 1841 and 1900. The Brooklyn Public Library has several digital collections, but I think this one is worth mentioning because the paper was published from 1841 to 1955, then for a short time from 1960 to 1963. So far only phase one is complete covering the period between October 26, 1841 to December 31, 1902. That's more than sixty years worth of news from Brooklyn. This paper has thousands of obituaries and seemed to have some in every issue of the paper under the heading of "Died." Be patient the search engine is a bit slow.
Here's the link to the collection:

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

The Library of Congress is testing a new site (beta) the makes many historical newspapers available on line. This searchable database includes about ninety-five (95) newspapers from around the country. Chronicling America currently allows visitors to view newspaper pages from 1880-1910 in California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. The site also provides information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
Check it out at:

Virginia's Digital Library

Virginia is one of the earliest entry points for immigrants to this country. This collection has more than 6,000 bible records and features a fully searchable index of pre-1880 wills and administrations for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The collection includes more than 2.2 million books, magazines, newspapers, state and Federal publications; county and city government records, state government records, architectural drawings and plans, Bible records, business records, organization records, personal papers, genealogical notes and charts; maps, rare books, broadsides, sheet music, posters, prints and engravings, postcards, paintings, sculpture and photographs. Not all of the information is accessible on-line. Once you search the collection the thing to pay close attention to is the "format" column when the search results display. This is where you will note the words "on line material." This would be the information that you can view or download on line. The files are in uncompressed "tif" formats, so you'll need a program to view those files. Most of the image viewing programs these days do read "tif" files. It's one of the older file formats for images and is still preferred by the printing and publishing industries.

Check it out at:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Hampshire Historical Collections

More and more universities are establishing digital collections of historical papers, many of which contain important clues for genealogists. The New Hampshire History Bookshelf is another example that includes two collections: New Hampshire History and New Hampshire State Documents. You can search the collection and view the images for free. As an example, I searched for an ancestor that I knew lived in New Hampshire at the time of the revolutionary war. The results included a document that showing he served under General John Stark. Only a few years ago I would have had to travel to Concord or Washington D.C. to view these documents. Have fun with this collection, especially if your ancestor lived in New Hampshire.
Here's the link:
The New Hampshire History Bookshelf

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

Looking for information on your immigrant ancestors? Harvard's digital collection might be a good place to start. It's Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 collection is a vast digital collection of historical documents relating to immigration. The description on it's welcome pages states: "Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, includes approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets as well as 9,000 photographs, 200 maps, and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections." The digital library has incorporated diaries, biographies, and other writings to capture diverse experiences. This collection provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants.
Here's the link:
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
It's part of Harvard's Open Collections Program, and it's free!

Family Search

I used to think highly of the Family Search system available from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For many of us early into computing it was one of the few free resources of information via computer and through its various Family History Centers throughout the world. There is still a wealth of information available on line for free. However, I am concerned about recent strategic alliances that have been established with,, and It's almost like buying concert tickets. They are making the indexes available for free but the images will cost you when they add the "convenience fee.'
Read all about it at:


USGenweb has been around for many years and the material that is found on line through its links is vast. Thousands of volunteers in counties throughout the U.S. and many localities around the world have been contributing documents to the USGenweb project. On the various local sites you'll find cemetery lists, vital statistics and local history information. Having been a county coordinator for many years for two counties in New York I can honestly say that much of the material is genuine, but not immune from typos, errors and omissions. So, beware.
Visit the USGenWeb project through this link..

Google Books

Google has so taken over the lives of just about anyone that uses the Internet these days. Its search engine is one of the best. But, that's not all Google provides. The Google empire is huge. When you visit the main Google search page, be sure you select the small "more.." button at the top of the page. About one third of the way down the list that drops down is Books. Google has been busy scanning millions of old books and new ones too. Some of the older books, especially those no longer protected by copyright are available in full text. Don't overlook this huge resource if you are looking for information, be it genealogical or historical.
I did a quick book search for "vital records" (using the quotes around the text). The search result showed several volumes of Vital Records for individual towns in Massachusetts. These are available in full text view. I think back to the miles and miles I put on my car and various libraries I visited in the past just to get my hands on these books. Now, you can view them in the comfort of your home with the help of your computer. Google is constantly adding new material, so keep checking back. One day you may hit the jackpot.

Cornell's Windows on the Past Collection

This is a wonderful source of freely accessibly information for the genealogist or history buff. Hours and hours of free reading are at hand when you access the numerous collections of digital scans of important historical documents, books, and other materiel from the vast collection at Cornell University. There are three I would like to call your attention to:

The Making of America Collection a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.

The New York State Historical Collection. The opening page of the collection states: "The Cornell University Library New York State Historical Literature is a collection of selected monographs, pamphlets and other materials with expired copyrights chosen from from the Cornell Library's extensive collection of New York State Literature."

Cornell Daily Sun Issues of this daily newspaper available on line date from 1880 through 1979.

Access to all of these collections is free. Check 'em out.

More Free Newspapers

The North Country Library System offeres free access to old newspapers in a system similar to the one at Fulton History but focuses on newspapers from the seven counties the system serves from its base in Watertown, New York. They are: Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties. The search and layout are similar but does feature some newspapers not available in the other site.

NNY Historical Newspapers

Again, access to the digital newspapers is free to anyone at the above link.

However, there are some additional features such as access to the pay site from Heritage Quest containing Census and Digital Historical Books that are free to patrons of the system with a North Country Library System borrower's card. Those without a library card from a member library unfortunately can not access Heritage Quest. Check with your home library to see if it offers Heritage Quest access. Some systems and individual libraries do make it available to library patrons with an active borrower's card.

New York State Newspapers

One of the finest free utilities available for researchers with roots in New York State is the site maintained by Tom Tryniski from Fulton in Oswego County, NY. As of this posting, visitors were able to search over 7,486,000 old New York State historical newspaper pages. Initial searches are quite easy. Just type in the key word or surname and select the "search" button. Results will show in the left hand column, with any result selected displayed in a separate column powered by an Adobe ® PDF Reader. More complex searches can be accomplished using the Boolean search option which allows you to narrow the searches down to specific newspapers or localities.

The main search site is located at:

A complete listing of the available newspapers can be viewed at:

Historical Newspapers From New York State

Beware the site does get busy during peak times. Tom reports that in one thirty day period the site experienced nearly 1.5 million hits from more than 125,000 site visitors. So, be patient when things slow down.

While the site is free to use, Tom accepts donations of money and or hard drives. Currently the sites houses all the data on 2.8 terabytes of hard drive space and keeps growing. New material is added every Sunday night.

If at first your search produces little or no results, try again and add or remove key words. You can also try adding quotation marks around several words to search for a specific string of text.

Check it out. This site is wonderful if you are looking for obituaries, published vital stats that appeared in newspapers and of course, news items.