Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welcome to Free Genealogy

This site is designed to highlight places on the Internet where you can find free genealogical and historical information. That means you aren’t required to pay for the information. However, that doesn’t rule out the sites accepting donations to assist them in making the information available.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

University of North Dakota Digital Collections

This collection of free on line digital information comes from the UND Chester Fritz Library and is available in four separate collections.
1. Dakota Student Index, 1888- Searchable index to the Dakota Student, the student newspaper of the University of North Dakota, 1888 to the present. The actual newspapers can be viewed on microfilm in the Department of Special Collections, 4th floor, Chester Fritz Library at UND.

2. E.J. Lander & Co. Land Records Database - This company had real estate, land development and farm management holdings throughout northern North Dakota and Montana. The company, founded in 1883, was headquartered in Grand Forks. Here you will find over 1,500 loan records and 2000 client records, all of which are indexed in this database.

3. Grand Forks County Coroner Certificates - There are over 3,200 certificates, dating from 1882-1989 in this collection. (Please note that the certificates can only be viewed by relatives of the deceased.)

4. Grand Forks County Marriage Licenses -This index contains over 9,700 certificates, dating from November 1875 - June 30, 1925. The database was developed by Special Collections staff using the actual paper licenses and original index ledgers.

These are all databases, and the original documents are not available for viewing. However, they do give you location of the document. So if you need to obtain a copy of the original, you'll know what to ask for.
For more information on how to use the special collections or obtain copies, visit the contact page: Contact Special Collections


Here's the link to the collection:
www.library.und.edu/digital/databases.htm

Friday, March 13, 2009

SUNY Oswego - Digital Colections

Today's featured digital collection comes from the libraries at the State University of New York at Oswego. The collection isn't robust on genealogical material but, there are some very interesting items available, including:
# B. B. Burt MS - James Van Cleeve papers. c 1877-1879 The B. Burt Papers (Bradley Benedict Burt) are a selection from the B. Burt manuscript of the James Van Cleve papers (maps, letters)
# E.A. Sheldon Autobiography (Chapters 8,15,16,30,32)
# E.A. Sheldon Autobiography (Chapters 2,6,13,18,22,23,24,25,26,30,32,33)
# Erastus Granger Papers - New York State Indian Agent. 1806 - 1827 - 18 letters from the collection - transcripts & abstracts included and another 34 letters from the collection as transcripts
# Millard Fillmore papers
* 1817-1864
* 1850-1861
* 1862-1864
# Orrin Stone Diary - 1814 - 1815 diary of an Oswego County pioneer.

Here's the link:
www.oswego.edu/library/archives/digitized_collections.html

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fletcher Family Letters - University of Vermont

The University of Vermont has just put on line (March 6, 2009) a collection of family letters. The letters, collected by Ruth Colton Fletcher between 1810 and 1903are part of the Consuelo Northrop Bailey Papers. This is the period of time that many New England families moved west to New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. There are 148 letters in the collection. The site features searchable transcriptions of the letters and a collection overview with a list of the correspondents and their relationships. The link below takes you to the UVM Libraries Center for Digital Initiatives where you will also find two very nice photo collections available for viewing on line. The link to the Fletcher letters are at the bottom of the "What's New" page.

cdi.uvm.edu/collections/news.xql?pid=entryID2007-10-19

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has an on line site where you can perform searches of the over 500,000 burial records. The site is quite straightforward and the burials are in a searchable database. Just select "Burial Search" from the menu along the left hand side of the screen and search the 17 cemeteries that are operated by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

www.archstl.org/cemeteries/

Saturday, March 7, 2009

West Virginia History Digital Collections

The amount of genealogical information on this site is not huge but inpressive in it own right.
The Roy Bird Cook collection of the 31st Regiment of the Cofederate State Army is excellent. The images are "jpg" format and easily viewed with any browser. This collection has over 3000 documents from the regiment that was composed mostly of western Virginia volunteers and served in many major conflicts during the course of the Civil War. You will find orders, accounts, muster rolls, and correspondence, as well as a history of the regiment by James Dell Cooke.
If photographs are of interest to you, the West Virginia History OnView: Photographs From the West Virginia & Regional History Collection is certainly a must. This on line group is supposed to contain about 6,000 photos from a much larger collection. But, I will have to take their word for it. I haven't looked at every one.

www.libraries.wvu.edu/wvconline/digitalcollections.html

Friday, March 6, 2009

New York State Library - Digital Collections

Right here in my own back yeard there is a very nice collection of digital documents at the New York State Library in Albany. This is a project that was started in 1995 and has been growing since, although I expect it might not grow too much this year due to the severe budget crunch the state is in. There is some great stuff on thsi site including the book "History of Herkimer County," published in 1879. Also in the towns section are:
Annals of Albany;
Pioneer Days and Later Times In Corning and Vicinity 1789-1920;
Centennial History of the Town of Dryden 1797-1897;
Schuylerville, New York, "The Historical Village";
Portrait and Biographical Record of Orange County, New York;
Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, a History;
Stony Point Illustrated, an Account of the Early Settlement on the Hudson with Traditions and Relics of the Revolution;

From the Colonial Period you'll find "Orderly books, 1759-1760, 1762 / Amos Hitchcock, 1724-1791," The Sir William Johnson papers and much more. This site is excellent, especially if you have any ancestral connections to New York State.

http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/scandocs/historical.htm

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Suffolk County Historic Newspapers - New York State

The newspapers available on this site, which is a service of the Suffolk County public libraries on Long Island New York, date back to 1839. The following newspapers are available:
The Corrector - currently available: 1839-1871
The Long Island Traveler - currently available: 1872-1898
Sag Harbor Express - currently available: 1885-1898
The Long Islander - currently available: 1839-1925
The Port Jefferson Echo - currently available: 1892-1931
South Side Signal - currently available: 1869-1879
Suffolk County News - currently available: 1888-1923

Browsing on the site seemed to go pretty fast. However, the search engine for specific words seemed a bit slow and at times not responsive. Check it out. You may have better luck than me.

shn.suffolk.lib.ny.us/

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Volunteer Voices Statewide Digitization Project- Tennessee

Volunteer Voices is a state-wide collaborative effort among 100 different organizations and institutions in Tennessee documenting the state's rich history and culture. These organizations include the Tennessee archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and schools: the University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State Library & Archives, University of Memphis, Memphis Public Library & Information Center, Brentwood Library, Vanderbilt University, East Tennessee Historical Society, C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Tennessee State University and others. You can browse the collection by topic, era, county, or institution. I found some interesting documents in the following areas: Family Life and Gender Relations;
Farming and Agriculture; Frontier Settlement and Migration; Immigrants and Immigration. But, there more. Lots more. Here's the link.

www.volunteervoices.org/

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time Off

I will be taking a few days off from the site due to a death in the family. I'll be back at updating and posting next week.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation - Digital Collection

When most people think about The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation they often think of the wonderful living history village located in Virginia. Often overlooked is the on-line digital collection of documents relating to its history. Today's focus is just that. In the Colonial Williamsburg digital library you will find four sections:
* Manuscripts -transcripts and images of selected documents from seven of the Foundation’s collections
* Research Report Series -documents about the history of the origanization
* Virginia Gazettes (newspapers) - includes images of almost all the known issues
* York County Probate Inventories - these are transcripts from the original documents.
Take a look. Here's the link.

research.history.org/DigitalLibrary.cfm

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Digital Mirror - National Library Of Wales

The Digital Mirror is a great resource for people with Welsh ancestry. This site is a project of the National Library of Wales and has original manuscripts, diaries, biographies and much more. One particular collection caught my eye. St Asaph Notitiae (SA/MISC/1300-1491) is a survey of the population of the St Asaph diocese in the 1680s. The survey lists all the heads of families in the parish as well as the number of people in that family. The Lampeter vestry book is also an interesting resource that often cites individuals. The decription of this section states, "From the sixteenth century until the late nineteenth century, the parish as an unit was responsible for an ever increasing range of matters including the care of the poor, repairing and improving highways, and some aspects of law and order." The vestry books is contains the minutes of each meeting. Explore the site. The Digital Mirror has a great deal to offer.

www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=digitalmirror

Monday, February 23, 2009

Corpus Christi Library - Local History, Genealogy & Archives

I often think that there must be a limit to the number of free places where a person can find genealogical information. But, as soon as I start entertaining those thoughts, I find more. Today's focus is on Corpus Chisti Texas. The Local History, Genealogy & Archives section of the Corpus Christi Public Libraries has a nice selection of information including an index of obituaries from the Corpus Christi Caller, Corpus Christi Times, and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. The index covers the dates 1893-1903 and January 1950 through April 2008. The site also features information from the Old Bay View Cemetery, the oldest military cemtery in Texas with burials dating back to 1845 and a death the occurred during the "Mexican War." You'll also find a special section on Spanish and Mexican Colonial documents, which includes Chapa, a Study of the Descendants of Juan Bautista Schiapapria (Chapa) Through the XVIII Century. Here's were you find it on the web:

www.library.ci.corpus-christi.tx.us/localhistory.htm

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Fort Collins, 1865 - Colorado

Old Fort Collins, 1865 is an online digital archive and is only a small but significant selection of historical materials, records, and photographs located in the Fort Collins Local History Archive. I found the News Flashbacks, Local Anecdotes and WWII Oral History sections to be fascinating reading and full of information about the people who settled in the Fort Collins area.

This site also has two of the larger Fort Collins cemeteries, Grandview and Roselawn, on-line. The search takes a little getting used to as you are taken to a sub site called FCMaps. Along the ribbon bar at the top you select a menu option to search for surname. That seems to be the easiest way to search this data.

history.fcgov.com/

Friday, February 20, 2009

Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections

Local libraries and regional library systems have proven to be a great source of information that will help genealogists and family historians. The Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections in Alabama has a nice site. Two of their collections stand out: Birmingham Iron Age, a newspaper that began publication in Feb 1874, then changed its name in May of 1884 to The Weekly Iron Age. The second is Birmingham Neighbors a collection made up of images, pamphlets and newspaper clippings from various Birmingham newspapers. There are also several more collections on the site to browse. So, check it out.


www.bplonline.org/resources/digital_project/Collections.asp

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oklahoma Yesterday & Today at Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma Yesterday & Today in the digital collection of Oklahoma State University is a nice site that focuses on Oklahoma as a state and territory. Two specific collections are quite good; Chronicles of Oklahoma is the journal of the Oklahoma Historical Society, produced in cooperation with OHS, and the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture also produced in cooperation with the Oklahoma Historical Society. Chronicles issues are available in html/text format for volumes 1-20 and the years 1923 to 1942. Volumes 21-40 are available in PDF format and the table of contents for later volumes are on line, while the actual articles for volumes 41- 80 are not yet available on-line.

digital.library.okstate.edu/

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fordham University Digital Collections

For genealogy, the digital online collections of universities are a great resource. However, often overlooked are the collections of college newspapers and image collections. Take for instance, Fordham University located in the Bronx of New York City. The Fordham University library has class photographs from some of the earliest graduating classes, starting in 1865. The collection is complete through 1918, when they started publishing yearbooks. In addition, some of the the college student newspapers are on line, specifically the Ram - Fordham Rose Hill student newspaper from 1918 – 1971 and the Observer - Fordham Lincoln Center student newspaper from 1982 – 2007. You may also want to check out the Fordham Photograph Collection featuring historical photographs from Fordham's early years, including old campus views, students, and faculty. While you're there take a look at the Maps of New Netherland, New Amsterdam, and New England. The collection is from 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

www.library.fordham.edu/catalogs/digitalcollections.html

Monday, February 16, 2009

Update: Lewis County NY Newspapers

The North Country Library System, based in Watertown New York, serves the north western counties of the state. One of my first entries on this blog was about the Old Newspapers the group has available on line. Several new titles have been added since October. These appear under the Lewis County link. Now, in addition to old issues of the Lowville Journal and Republican 1860-1940, you can search the following titles:
Black River Democrat, 1913-1943
Lewis County Banner, 1856-1859
Lewis County Democrat, 1867-1906
Lowville Herald & Lewis County Democrat, 1910-1914
Lowville Leader, 1943-1953
Lowville Leader and Lyons-Leyden Ledger, 1953-1954
Lowville Times, 1876-1884
Lowville Times & Lewis County Independent, 1884-1891

Here's the direct link to the Lewis County section:
news2.nnyln.net/lewis-county/search.html

Sunday, February 15, 2009

British Historical Directories

If you have ancestors that emigrated from England, you might find today's site very helpful. The resource is located at the University of Leicester. The description reads: "Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare books, essential tools for research into local and genealogical history." The collection is grouped by decade: pre-1850s (directories from 1750 and 1849); 1860s; 1870; 1880s; 1890s, 1900 and 1910. Here's where you will find it:

www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/index.asp

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Utah Digital Newspapers

Today's entry comes from the J Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah - Utah Digital Newspapers. Just about every county in the state is represented and the papers date as early as 1850 and some go into the 1960s, but most span the late 1800s to early 1890s. The searching is fast and the results are in PDF format. The scanning project began with three newspapers in 2001 and today the total number of newspapers offered is more than fifty. There's not much more to say other than check it out.

digitalnewspapers.org/

Friday, February 13, 2009

Norway - The Promise of America

Norwegian emigration to America and Norwegian American History 1825-2000. The sloop Restauration carried the first Norwegian emigrants from Stavanger to the United States in 1825. This site is bilingual in nature and is a multimedia website featuring a representative selection of Norwegian-American materials. One section that caught my eye features more than 500 letters written between 1850 and 1930. These letters are from the collection of the Norwegian Emigrant Museum, Hamar. Click on the tab "Letters Home." There's an extensive photo collection on the site as well as books and other materials concerning Norwegian emigration to America. Be sure you also visit the tab "Viking at Chicago." It's a rather extensive collection of clippings with biographies and other material printed in the various newspapers. If you have ancestors from Norway, this is a must visit.

www.nb.no/emigrasjon/emigration/

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Edgecombe County Memorial Library - North Carolina

This collection is small in comparison to others I have talked about but has some real interesting items available for viewing for free. Two caught my eye in particular. The first is Rev. Brown's 1913 Gettysburg Scrapbook taken on a trip to visit the battlefield. These photos are from a Confederate veterans point view of famous battle sites. The scrapbook includes captions and description by Brown as well as photos of markers for various regiments. This site also include a rare photo of African-American Veterans - members of the US Colored Troops who attended this reunion. The second one that caught my eye is the United Daughters of the Confederacy scrapbook from 1907 - 1968. This scrapbook contains newspaper articles, photographs and various other materials collected by the chapter. In addition to the two I mentioned above, there are several family collections including: John Lawrence Wiggins family; Solomon Nettles family; and the genealogy pages from the Bridgers' Bible.

www.edgecombelibrary.org/History/historic_digital_archive.htm

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Matrimonial investigation records - San Gabriel Mission - California

The matrimonial investigation records, or diligencias matrimoniales, are part of the McPherson Collection at the Claremont Colleges Digital Collection. This material was collected originally by William F. McPherson, an Orange County California rancher, scholar and collector. The records, predominantly from the Mission San Gabriel (other California missions are also represented), consist of notarized interviews with couples requesting marriage in the Roman Catholic Church during the period 1788-1861. According to the description on line, "The purpose of marriage investigations was to prove that the parties were free to marry." These digital images are scans of the original documents and are in Spanish. So, you may need the help of someone you know that can read Spanish. As with most romance languages, you can figure out the surnames and many of the words because of the similarities. So, finding specific family surnames should be reasonably easy.
When you get to the site, just click on the large image on the left side of the scrren. That will take you to the images and descriptive summaries.

ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/collection.php?alias=mir

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chicago Ancestors - Newberry Library

The Newberry Library in Chicago a has long and storied reputation as having one of the premier genealogy collections. Their published catalog has been around for years. I recently discovered that Newberry has some very helpful Chicagoland resources at their Chicago Ancestors site where they suggest that you "discover the past by address." I wish there were more directories from other cities on-line. They are a great tool for researching families. Chicago Ancestors offers:
1. Chicago City Directory Street Guides
2. Chicago City Directories with PDF images of years: 1866; 1870, 1871, 1875, 1880; 1885; 1892; 1900; 1910; and 1923.
If you browse by collection (Browse tab at the top), there's an interesting resource that maps and documents homicides in the Windy City by location of the crime, and it also gives the name of the victim. I hadn't given crime records much thought when doing genealogy. I guess I never had reason to consider the obvious resource it can be.

ww.chicagoancestors.org/#tab-tools

Historic Pittsburgh

Today's post is actually part two of one started yesterday, also suggested by Suzie. Historic Pittsburgh combine access to several collections. They are: University of Pittsburgh's University Library System, the Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chatham College Archives, and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Two areas of this site caught my eye. The first is the "Full Text Collection" and the "Census Records." The text section contains 1025 published works from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries documenting Pittsburgh history. And, of course, you know what census records offer. The Web-based catalog for the Library & Archives of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (HSWP) at the History Center is also accessible here, but you'll have to plan a trip to the center to actually use the materials. The images section is amazing. Click "Images" on the top menu bar and you'll be taken to the Historic Pittsburgh Image Collection. The site provides access to over 10,500 visual images from forty collections held by the Archives Service Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chatham University Archives, the Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center, and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. History and Genealogy go hand in hand. Check it out at:

digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh/

Friday, February 6, 2009

Darlington Digital Library - University of Pittsburgh

Today’s entry comes from a tip submitted by Suzie Johnston, one of the regular readers of this blog. She points out the wonderful collection at The University of Pittsburgh – The Darlington Digital Library. This library which is a “work in progress” focuses on history and the people of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio from the 1700s to the late 1800s. The majority of this collection of books, images, broadsides, atlases, and manuscripts came from William M. Darlington who collected items that related to the settlement of colonial America, local history, and the manners and customs of American Indians. His collection also included books on the history of Pittsburgh and by Pittsburgh authors. There are two links associated with this collection. The first is a direct link to the collection at the University of Pittsburgh and the second is to the archive.org site where scans from this collection are also searchable. I'll talk about a couple other Western Pennsylvania sites she reccommends in tomorrow's post.

1. digital.library.pitt.edu/d/darlington/index.html
2.www.archive.org/details/university_pittsburgh

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Need Some Feedback, please.

I've been doing this blog now for about four months. Despite my efforts to promote it and attempts to get it listed in the search engines and other web sites, statistics indicate that the traffic is very low. If you like what I am doing and want this to continue, please leave me a comment. I love putting this together, but if no one is reading it, then there's no point in continuing.
Talk to me...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frontier Scout - Newspaper - North Dakota

If you've been reading the blog from the beginning, you know by now that I get excited when I find digital archives of old newspapers. I recently discovered issues of Frontier Scout,the first newspaper known to have been published in northern Dakota Territory. The newspaper put out its first issue in Fort Union on July 7, 1864. Robert Winegar & Ira F.Goodwin of Company I, 30th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry were the proprietors. Four issues were published at Fort Union, the last on August 17, 1864. The newspaper resumed publication at Fort Rice June 15, 1865 operated by Lt. C. H. Champney, publisher, and Captain E. H. Adams, editor both of the 1st U.S.V. Infantry.
It doesn't appear that any of the first issue survived. The copies available at this site start on July 14, 1864. The site is maintained by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Here's the link:

history.nd.gov/archives/frontierscout.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Early Immigrants to San Francisco and Hawaii

The Institute of Business and Economic Research and the National Archives (NARA) Pacific region have collaborated to made available a research tool to discover information about the hundreds of thousands of people that passed through the immigration stations in San Francisco and Honolulu between 1882 and 1955. Nearly 250,000 of them are the subject of federal reports and records, including immigration investigation case files of people who tried to immigrate--some successfully, some not--during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, 1882-1943. NARA-Pacific Region, in San Bruno, California houses the records. Through this link you see if a case file is available. The actual physical case files are not visible on line. However, use this tool to get the case file number, and some basic information about the person.

casefiles.berkeley.edu/

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Massachusetts Archives - Boston Passenger Manifest (1848-1891)

This link takes you directly to a sub menu of the Massachusetts Archives for Boston Passenger Manesfests.
They started keeping records of immigrants who arrived by ship through the port of Boston in January of 1848. That process continued until July of 1891, when the federal government took over the record keeping process. While there were arrivals at other Massachusetts ports, the Massachusetts Archives holds manifests for BOSTON ONLY. The MA Archives holds the original manifests as well as the only microfilm copy available of these Passenger manifests. This online search will pull up a transcript from those records, not the original document. Still this site can be a helpful aid to the researcher who's family may have entered the country through the Port of Boston.
If you select "Home" from the top menu, you'll be taken back to the home page of the Massachusetts Archives, where you'll also find:
Massachusetts Archives Collection Database (1629-1799) and and Index to Vital Records (1841-1910)

www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/PassengerManifestSearchContents.html

Friday, January 23, 2009

University of Alabama Digital Library

The University of Alabama's digital collection available on line is quite large and has family papers of various families, a huge collection of material about the French Revolution as well as maps, railroad timetables sheet music and photos. This vast collection of material will take you a while to get through. Here's a list of what's available:
* Septimus D. Cabaniss Papers
* Central Iron and Coal
* Emphasis: 1967-1971
* Eugene Allen Smith Collection
* Daphne Cunningham Diaries
* Davis Farm Journals
* French Revolutionary Pamphlets
* Gorgas Family Papers
* Mary Lee Hosbrook Diary
* Life Studies of the Great Army
* Majorie Smith Slide Collection
* Native American Collection
* Perkins Family Papers
* Ptolemy Maps
* Railroad Timetables
* Rammer Jammer
* Sheet Music
* Sydnia Keene Smythie Antebellum Architecture
* Voyages dans l'Amérique Septentrionale
* Woodward Family Photographs
* Working Lives

content.lib.ua.edu/cdm4/about.php

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Barnstable (MA) Patriot digital newspaper archive

Here's another newspaper archive. This one's at the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, MA. The Barnstable Patriot digital newspaper archive currently covers the first 100 years of newspaper issues -- 1830-1930. Not much more to say other than go for it.

www.sturgislibrary.org/collections/barnstable-patriot

Friday, January 16, 2009

Iowa Digital Library

The Iowa Digital Library is another of the many I have discovered. This one contains more than 200,000 digital objects—photographs, maps, sound recordings and documents—from libraries and archives at University of Iowa and their partnering institutions. Of the many available on the site the following I found to most interesting and have certainly genealogical applications:

1. Civil War Diaries and Letters Digital Collection
2. Mujeres Latinas Digital Collection -the lives and contributions of Latinas and their families to Iowa history
3. Historic Iowa Children's Diaries Digital Collection
4. Hixson Plat Map Atlases of Iowa -Iowa land ownership maps from 1930
and while not genealogical, you might find the Mildred Wirt Benson papers interesting. She's the author of the Nancy Drew novels. Here's where you'll find the collection.

digital.lib.uiowa.edu/

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

California's Underground Railroad

Some estimate that between 200-300 African Americans were enslaved in the mining areas of California during the gold rush, despite the wide belief that slavery was supposedly banned in the state by the Compromise of 1850. Old newspaper accounts described slave escapes, while ads offer slaves for sale. Even court records list freedom papers and cases involving enslavement. California Indians were also held as slaves during this period. This site, launched originally in 2004 as part of the California State University - Sacremento Library's celebration of Black History Month, offers high quality digital images of letters, journals, photographs, documents, newspapers and more to tell the often overlooked experiences of slaves in the state.
Here's the link:

digital.lib.csus.edu/curr/

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

This site is divided into three main collections: The Southern Oregon History Collection; The Bioregion Collection and the First Nations Collection. The first and the last are probably the most useful to a genealogist/family historian. The Southern Oregon History Collection contains books, maps, government documents, oral histories, correspondence and miscellaneous materials that document the unique historical experience of Southern Oregon. And the First Nations Collection focuses on the indigenous peoples of the region through documents, books, and articles.

soda.sou.edu/index.html

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Florida Statewide Official Records - MyFloridaCounty.com

Several counties in Florida have records on line that go back to the early 1900s. However many of them only date back a decade or two. Eventually, more and more data will become available as the site reports that "Most counties update their online information each week night". This is a site to bookmark and will become more and more useful as time goes by. On the first page there's a handy link that pulls up a chart for each county showing how far back their online records go on the site. The site is a joint effort produced by the Florida Local Government Internet Consortium, which includes the Florida Clerks of Court and Florida Tax Collectors, in partnership with the Florida Association of Court Clerks Services Group. Keep tabs on this one. It's a keeper.

www.myfloridacounty.com/services/officialrecords_intro.shtml