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.



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

Sociable