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, 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/

Sociable