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.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

North Carolina State Archives

There are many individual collections within the North Carolina State Archives web site. Three are of particular interest to genealogists:
1.North Carolina Family Records Online - This one contains Bible Records  marriage and death notices that appeared in five North Carolina newspapers from 1799-1893, cemetery photographs, and more. If you don't find what you are looking for now, book mark this one as it appears to be one that is growing, thanks to family donations of bible images and photographs.
2.North Carolina Maps - Here you will find maps dating to the 1500s up to the 1960s
3.North Carolina Newspapers Digitization Project - This one features digital images of North Carolina newspapers from1752-1890 . If you have ancestral connections that lived in these cities, you just might find some material here: Edenton (1787-1801), Fayetteville (1798-1795), Hillsboro (1786), New Bern (1751-1804), Salisbury (1799-1898), and Wilmington (1765-1816). As of this writing the collection contained a total of 23,483 keyword searchable digital images.

http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov/projects.htm#ncdc

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Portal to Texas History

The Portal to Texas History has a lot of information about early history of Texas.  I suggest you "Explore by Collection."  You'll find many collections of early Texas newspapers, photographs, yearbooks, maps, and other archives.   Not all of the material is searchable, but it will give you many hours of interesting reading. 
Here's the link:


http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/

Monday, March 21, 2011

Farber Gravestone Collection

This is quite an unusual but possibly very useful site to some.  The American Antiquarian Society makes available the Farber Gravestone Collection.This site documents the sculpture on over 9,000 gravestones made prior to 1800, mostly in New England, but does include some from as far away as Nova Scotia and North Carolina. It's the work of the late Daniel Farber of Worcester, Massachusetts, and his wife, Jessie Lie Farber and incorporates into the collection the work of Harriette Merrifield Forbes and Dr. Ernest Caulfield. This site documents the artistic creation as well as records of biographical information. Accompanying the photographs you will find name and death date of the deceased and the location of the stone.

http://www.lunacommons.org/luna/servlet/FBC~100~1

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Louisiana Confederate Pension Applications

Louisiana Secretary of State Information Services has available  an index containing over 49,000 names included in pension applications submitted to the Board of Pension Commissioners in that state. The records became part of the archives after the last pension was paid in the 1950's.  About 18,000 applications were microfilmed and were originally only available to researchers who visited the Archives Library. Some years later an index was created to the 152 reels of film. The applications for pensions granted to veterans and widows beginning in 1898 may include service information, occupation, place of residence, and number of children.  In some cases other materials may have been included with applications such as letters, notes, copies of checks, newspaper clippings, court papers of various types, obituaries, and other miscellaneous papers.

An index to the microfilm collection was compiled, data extracted and computer application developed. The index is available on-line. However, there is a fee to obtain a copy of the original document.

http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=637

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quebec Archives

BAnQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec) has several on-line databases available. It will be very helpful if you either know how to read French or know someone that does. French is the official language of Quebec. The initial descriptions are in English. However, much of this material is in French. Here's a list of searchable data I found on their genealogy page:

Register of interments in Mount Hermon Cemetery, 1848-1904
Parish censuses of Notre-Dame-de-Québec
Tutorships and curatorships in the judicial district of Montréal, 1791-1807
Coroners' inquests in the judicial districts of:
Beauce, 1862-1947, Charlevoix, 1862-1944, Montmagny, 1862-1952,
Québec, 1765-1930 and Saint-François (Sherbrooke), 1900-1954
Preliminary inquiries in the judicial district of Québec, 1897-1927
Events of 1837-1838: In the footsteps of the Patriots
Applications for free grants of land to families with 12 living children, 1890-1905
Inventories after death in the judicial district of Rimouski (CN 101), 1822-1918
Inventories after death in the judicial districts of Québec, Charlevoix, Beauce, Montmagny and Kamouraska, 1785 -1955
Inventories after death in the Montréal area, 1791-1840
List of transcriptions of notarial acts
Marriage contracts in the Charlevoix region, 1737-1920, and the Saguenay region, 1840-1911
Marriage contracts in the Québec City area, 1761-1946
Jail logs of Québec City prisons in the 19th century
Non-Catholic baptisms in the Montréal area, 1766-1835
Non-Catholic burials in the Montréal area, 1767-1899
Non-Catholic marriages in the Montréal area, 1766-1899

http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/genealogie/inst_recherche_ligne/index.html

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ships List - over 3,500 pages of passenger lists and more

TheShipsList website is one of the "old timers" as web sites go.  It has been online since August 1999.  This site has over 3,500 totally free access web-pages and still growing.  If you are in the U.S., my suggestion is to use this site in tandem with the available ships records on Archive.org to obtain images of the original ship manifests landing in U.S. ports.  TheShipsList also has immigration reports, newspaper records, shipwreck information, ship pictures, ship descriptions, shipping-line fleet lists. In addition to US passenger lists you'll also find  hundreds of passenger lists to Canada, Australia and even some for South Africa.  Word of caution, the search bar at the top does take you to Ancestry.com, a pay site. It's a little time consuming but my suggestion is to either search each individual page or use the Google.com advanced search and let Google limit your search to TheShipsList web site.

[search word or phrase] site:http://www.theshipslist.com

http://www.theshipslist.com/

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Family History Archive

The Family History Archive features histories of families, regional and local histories, some genealogy magazines and periodicals (a few international publications), medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), and gazetteers.There are 17764 items in this collection of on-line genealogy and family history materials. Within, you will also find some specialized collections such as the Filipino card collection and the “Liahona Elders Journal.” The books are drawn from various collections including The FamilySearch Family History Library, the Allen County Public Library (some of their material is also available at Archive.org), the Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, the Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center, two BYU Libraries, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library.

http://lib.byu.edu/fhc/index.php

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Federal (US) Bureau of Land Mangement Records Search

At this site you can search Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States, including image access to more than five million Federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present. The site description says: "We also have images related to survey plats and field notes, dating back to 1810. Due to organization of documents in the GLO collection, this site does not currently contain every Federal title record issued for the Public Land States."  However,  you can search Federal Land Patents, which offer researchers "a source of information on the initial transfer of land titles from the Federal government to individuals. In addition to verifying title transfer, this information will allow the researcher to associate an individual (Patentee, Assignee, Warrantee, Widow, or Heir) with a specific location (Legal Land Description) and time (Issue Date). This site has a variety of Land Patents on the site, including Cash Entry, Homestead and Military Warrant patents." I did a quick search on a distant cousin that I know was involved in the great Oklahoma land rush in the 1860s.  His name immediately came up with the date of the land transfer and record of his homestead, including a PDF copy of the original document.  This is an important family history find for those families involved in the great US western migration of the 1800s.

http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/

Sociable