Genealogy & History Links

The internet is a fantastic resource for genealogists and the content you can find online changes and expands daily. Below are some useful online resources to help you with your genealogy and local history research organized by category, all of which are freely available online unless otherwise noted. Keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg!

  Click on a category name to expand that category

Genealogy Research Databases

Ancestry Library Edition
Only available at the library, Ancestry has collections that include censuses, births, marriages, deaths, wills, ship passenger lists, and much more from all over the world.
HeritageQuest Online
This database has expanded greatly in the past year and now includes military, cemetery, and immigration collections as well as the US census, Freedman’s Bank, PERSI archive, and US Serial Set.
FamilySearch.org » Search
The collections on FamilySearch come from the millions of reels of microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. They have collections of digitized records from around the world, but not all of them are indexed so be sure to look at the search page for the state or country you are researching to see what collections are available to browse only.

Newspapers

Historical Newspapers
Historical newspapers are a great place to search for your ancestors. the obvious thing to look for is an obituary, but you’d be surprised where else they might turn up (maybe a list of children who attended a birthday party, or a woman who hosted a bridge night at her home). JTPL now subscribes to 5 historical newspapers through ProQuest which lets you do a full-text search and download complete digital images. You can search all 5 newspapers at once, or use the following links to search a newspaper individually:

Chronicling America
There are currently over 10 million pages of historic newspapers from across the United States available on Chronicling America. Chronicling America is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. It is a great resource to see what newspapers existed in an area as well as search for your ancestors in the digitized pages.
Elephind
The goal of Elephind.com is to make it possible to search all the world’s online historic newspapers from one place. While they aren’t there yet, they are continually adding newspapers to their search engine. Think of it like Google, except it ONLY searches digitized newspapers! Click here to see all the titles available, organized alphabetically by country and then the institution that hosts the digital files. TIP: If you press ctrl + f in your browser, that will bring up a search box that will let you search that page for a particular location or title.
Hoosier State Chronicles
Hoosier State Chronicles is a database of digitized newspapers from around Indiana, mostly before 1923. Many of the newspapers were originally digitized as part of either Indiana Memory or Chronicling America but the collection continues to grow so be sure to check it out!
Kentucky Digital Library
The Kentucky Digital Library contains over 300,000 digitized newspapers from around the state of Kentucky, as well as many other collections of digitized books, photographs, maps, and more. If you have Kentucky ancestors, definitely check it out!

General Genealogy Resources

Cyndi’s List
Cyndi’s List is a massive collection of links to genealogical websites, organized by category. The categories include geographic locations from broad nations to individual cities; to ethnic research such as African-American, Native-American, or Hugenot; to specific types of research questions like adoption, illegitmacy, land and property research, house history, and much more. Her collection of links spans the globe so be sure to look here first if you’re stuck or about to start a new area of research.
About.com – Genealogy
The Genealogy section of About.com has hundreds of helpful articles on all manner of genealogical topics, all written and curated by Kimberly Powell, a professional genealogist. I also recommend signing up for her weekly Genealogy newsletter where she sounds out links to several different genealogy articles she’s written that week, ranging from the history of a surname to preserving your family photos.
Find A Grave
Find A Grave is a database of cemeteries around the world, although the majority of the entries are for cemeteries in the US. To search by name, click on the link that says “Search [x number] grave records” on the right-hand menu. All of the information is submitted by volunteers, so if you aren’t able to find your ancestor in the database, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were cremated or abducted by aliens!
RootsWeb
RootsWeb is a collection of information submitted by people around the world and mostly focuses on people and surnames. It is free to use but is owned by Ancestry.com, so when you use the search box at the top of the page, be sure to use the LEFT side (where it says “Search RootsWeb”) so you only get free results.

Indiana History & Genealogy

Indiana Memory
Indiana Memory is a portal to digital collections across the state of Indiana. These collections come from libraries, archives, historical societies, and other organizations with collections that are important to Indiana history. The content includes photographs, historical documents, maps, and more.
Hoosier State Chronicles
Hoosier State Chronicles is a database of digitized newspapers from around Indiana, mostly before 1923. Many of the newspapers were originally digitized as part of either Indiana Memory or Chronicling America but the collection continues to grow so be sure to check it out!
Indiana Digital Archives
The Indiana Digital Archives are an online index to records available through the Indiana State Archives in Indianapolis. These records include institutional, military, naturalization, court, and photographic collections. Be warned that this database is NOT browseable, nor can you do a blank search for all records; you must search for a name or keyword.
Indiana Magazine of History
The Indiana Magazine of History is an historical journal featuring peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of Indiana History. Through this website you can access the full-text articles from every issue up through September 2013! Although the journal doesn’t have a genealogy focus, there are wonderful genealogical gems to be found, such as Dorothy L. Riker’s Abstracts of Early Wills and Executors’ Records [of Clark County] or her Abstracts of Early Wills of Harrison County, Indiana.
Union List of Sanborn Maps
Indiana University – Bloomington has worked with vendors to digitize almost all of the Sanborn Maps for Indiana cities before 1923 (the general cutoff date for something to be considered part of the public domain). This website is an alphabetical list of all the cities in Indiana for which there are Sanborn maps and provides links to all of the digitized maps available. This includes Jeffersonville, Charlestown, New Albany, and Corydon, as well as many more.
Historic Indiana Maps
This collection from Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI) contains digital copies of historic maps from across the state of Indiana. Of particular interest to Clark County researchers is the 1875 Clark County landowners map which shows you the size and location of each parcel of land across the county (except for cities and towns such as Jeffersonville, Charlestown, Utica, etc. where it shows just a general representation of the plots but not who owns which one).

Maps

David Rumsey Map Collection
David Rumsey and his company Cartography Associates have been working since 1996 to digitize his massive collection of over 150,000 historic maps of the world, ranging from the 16th – 19th centuries. There are currently over 65,000 maps in this collection, so it is a great place to try to find historical maps of the areas your ancestors lived in.
Atlas of Historic County Boundaries
The Atlas of Historic County Boundaries is a project of the Newberry Library in Chicago. The interactive online viewer is currently not working, but you can click on the image of any state in the United States and view a pdf or image of all the boundary changes for each county in that state, including counties that no longer exist. This is a great tool to help figure out which county you actually need to be researching in when you’re doing early American genealogy, because boundaries changed as new counties were added and so just because your ancestor was listed in two different counties in consecutive census years doesn’t necessarily mean they moved!
Union List of Sanborn Maps
Indiana University – Bloomington has worked with vendors to digitize almost all of the Sanborn Maps for Indiana cities before 1923 (the general cutoff date for something to be considered part of the public domain). This website is an alphabetical list of all the cities in Indiana for which there are Sanborn maps and provides links to all of the digitized maps available. This includes Jeffersonville, Charlestown, New Albany, and Corydon, as well as many more.
Historic Indiana Maps
This collection from Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI) contains digital copies of historic maps from across the state of Indiana. Of particular interest to Clark County researchers is the 1875 Clark County landowners map which shows you the size and location of each parcel of land across the county (except for cities and towns such as Jeffersonville, Charlestown, Utica, etc. where it shows just a general representation of the plots but not who owns which one).

Digitized Books

The Internet Archive » eBooks and Texts
Did you know there are over 8 million public domain eBooks available on the Internet Archive? This is an excellent place to look for county histories and family histories as well as city directories, adjutant general’s reports, and much more.
FamilySearch.org » Family History Books
In addition to digitizing hundreds of thousands of reels of microfilm for a phenomenal collection of primary documents, they have also digitized over 200,000 genealogy and family history publications including family and county histories, genealogy magazines, gazetteers, and much more.
HeritageQuest Online » “Family History Books & Directories”
HeritageQuest Online has always had a wonderful collection of thousands of fully digitized and indexed family and place histories. Recently they have added Ancestry’s collection of digitized city directories to this collection and made it an even richer resource. You can access this database from home by logging in with your library card!
Google Books
Google has digitized hundreds of thousands of books and made many of them available online through Google Books. Be aware that just because you find a record for a book on Google Books, it doesn’t mean that the book itself is completely digitized and available to you. Read this description of the different “views” you’ll see on Google Books for more information.