GENEALOGY AND HISTORY SITES THAT ARE FREE TO ACCESS AND FREE TO USE

Hard to find but free places where you can research genealogy on line, without having to pay. Your comments and feedback are welcome to any post.

About me: Jerry E. Reed
First and foremost, I am a seasoned voice talent and media/public relations specialist with many other interests. I have been helping businesses with their narrations, presentations, commercials, and more all of my adult life.
For more information about Jerry Reed - Voice Talent visit:
http://jerryreed.com

I am also a genealogist, a
n avid photographer, and artisan bread baker.
My genealogy interest began before personal computers were a family "must have." Personal genealogy computer research has blossomed in the past 15 years. It wasn't long before someone decided that they could charge for information that should be free and in the public domain. I have always been frustrated by that. Now, thousands and thousands of pages of useful facts are coming on line daily in free-to-access digital archives located all over the world. So, I'm constantly searching for new sources of free on line material. Blog updates follow this section and all links are added to the master list below the new posts.
Updates are posted when
I discover another new source or when something I have already reviewed gets a major update.
Have fun and enjoy.
Note: if you find a link no longer works, please let me know so I can research and update it.



Monday, December 29, 2008

Europeana.eu

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.
"Europeana.eu 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:

www.europeana.eu/portal/index.html

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

209.139.1.182/linews.php

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.

http://www.cookcountygenealogy.com/

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.

www.aca-dla.org/

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:

www.quincylibrary.org/library_resources/newspaperArchive.asp

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:

www.jacksoncountyhistory.org/

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:
scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/12341

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.

www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/jarda/

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:
valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/

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


www.archivesindex.sc.gov/

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.

hawaiidigitallibrary.org

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