Saturday, February 6, 2016

Follow Up: Websites Visited in Finding Ancestral Gems Hidden in Digital Archives

We would like to thank Deborah Larsen for providing a wonderful presentation on Friday with just 24 hours notice. Debbie, You Rock!

As promised we are following up on this blog/website with the links to the various places Debbie visited during her presentation. She showed us we can find a variety of things online like historic photos, maps, diaries, school records, yearbooks, letters, memorial cards, aerial photos, funeral home records, business records, church records, film clips, oral history recordings, local and county histories, just to name a few.

To locate archives online, do a search engine search using search terms such as historical collections, digital collections, digital archive, local history archive, history database or digital library along with the name of your locality.

Here are the places we visited Friday during the presentation. (Each archive's name is a link to its website. Once you click the link you will be taken there. Then just bookmark the page for future use in your browser.)

Suburban Library Cooperative's Digital Archive
Almost all of our local libraries that belong to the Suburban Library Cooperative have a link on their website to the shared Digital Archive. Some libraries have contributed a lot and some just a little. Remember not everything has or will be digitized from a library's collection so visiting a library to do research is still a good idea. Search the digital archive by Surname, Locality, Event or a combination of these and other filters.

See our What Did You Find?! Wednesday post from October 2015 on Funeral Cards in the Digital Archive. 

Oakland Regional Historic Sites
Along with Oakland County sites, this is where you will find the Mount Clemens Property History for Mount Clemens, Michigan. You can perform a search in a variety of ways: property number, street name, street address, current or historic name, and even architectural class.

Digital Public Library of America
This website searches the internal database parts of participating member's websites that search engine sites like Google can not search. Again, you can search by Name, Location or Subject. As Debbie showed us sometimes a local resource can be found elsewhere where you would not expect it, like the Macomb County, Michigan, 1859 wall map ... beautifully scanned by the Boston Public Library in Massachusetts.

Oakland County Historical Resources
Another great regional resource combining the resources of various Oakland County, Michigan, libraries, societies, museums and a historical commission.

Detroit Public Library Digital Collections
The Detroit Public Library's digital archive includes items from the Burton Historical Collection, Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, National Automotive History Collection, E. Azalia Hackley Collection and the Rare Book Collection.

Can you find the photo of the singer with the blue suede shoes? Hint: just search by his first name.

Ontario Library Consortium
There are digital archives all over the world, including just across the river from us in Ontario. You'll find some of these digital archives use the same search software. Just apply what you learned to these other sites.

Chicago Public Library
The Chicago Public Library's digital archive includes a wide variety of times including neighborhoods, the theater, the construction of Chicago's sewers, the Civil War, and the Chicago Examiner newspaper.

HathiTrust Digital Library
At HathiTrust, you will find millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. Though some items can only be searched, some items can be completely viewed. For many items you can download a PDF of a single page, the whole book or specific pages (like the front and back of the title page and a specific page or pages from the book). Learn more about downloading a only a portion of a book in the help area.

New York Public Library Digital Collections
There are almost 700,000 items digitized so far from the New York Public Library's collections including prints, maps, manuscripts, photographs, streaming video and more. About 180,000 of these items are in the public domain. On January 6, 2016, the NYPL announced that these items can now be downloaded directly from the website in the highest resolution available. Prior to this permission from NYPL had to be obtained.

These are just a few of the digital archives out there.

One of our members made the comment Friday that one of the reasons you come to genealogy meetings is to learn something new. It may not be what you expected to learn but you still learn.

Enjoy searching and discovering new things. Good luck.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

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