Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ricklibrarian's Short Guide to Family History on the Web

I created this short list of websites of interest to family historians for my workshop at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library. The workshop was focused on using Heritage Quest, to which the library subscribes, but I wanted to provide further resources that may be useful to novices and experienced amateur genealogists. I have added these links to the Library's website. Here I expand and get more personal with the reflections.

Local Resources

Cook County Clerk's Office - Genealogy Online: Search for birth, death, and marriage records from Cook County, Illinois. You will have to register, but registration is free. Due to privacy laws, none of the data is recent.

The Newberry Library's Chicagoancestors.org: In addition to the Newberry Library files, there are links to many Chicago area genealogy and history websites. Of course, a trip to the Newberry is even better. I found much about my ancestors in New England through books in the Library's collection.

Western Springs Historical Society: Network of Western Springs residents interested in local history and genealogy. Information about the society's collections, programs, and events.

Illinois State Archives: Links to a variety of Illinois records of interest to family historians, including vital records, court records, and military service records.

National Archives - Great Lakes Region: Describes resources of the National Archives with visiting hours and contact information. It used to be difficult to get an appointment to use the microform readers at the National Archives. With so many people now on the Internet, there are plenty of openings to use the equipment.

General Resources

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet: A portal to over 240,000 websites of interest to family historians.

Family History Archives: A combined catalog of family histories and local history books from leading libraries and archives across the country. Hosted by Brigham Young University.

Family Search: Internet access to some of the genealogy resources of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.

Find a Grave: A searchable database of grave records from across the country. Use the search link in the body of the page, not the rectagular ad at the top of the site's pages.

Mike's Index: Found on the Fox Valley Genealogical Society's website, Mike's Index searches 243 genealogy periodicals.

The USGenWeb Project: Volunteers from counties all over the United States are putting their files up on the Internet to help family historians. I think this is one of the most interesting projects on the web. I have often found interesting lists on the county level webpages. Cemetary records are a strength of this resource.

Google Books: With so many books about local history scanned as part of the Google Books project, it is a great source for genealogy. The books not under copyright have full text viewing. Knowing about the other books, allows researchers to identify books to borrow through interlibrary loan or view at genealogy libraries. I found sources about many of my New England, Maryland, and Texas ancestors here.

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