Of course we all have our favorite sites to retrieve the records that let us fill in the blanks on our family trees, but eventually you want to go deeper and learn more about the people and their communities. Here are some of the best sites in my genealogy toolbox.
Chronicling America « Library of Congress: It’s possible everyone else has known about the Chronicling America project for a long time, and I’m the last to know. That’s okay. Free searchable online newspapers for tons of US cities? I’ll take it.
Day of the Week Calculator by Ancestor Search: Of course, the thing about historic newspapers is, their stories often refer to recent events by day of the week–and not every newspaper includes the day in the date header. This day of the week calculator tells you the day when you plug in the date, making it simple to determine the correct date for an item which mentions only the day.
Free genealogy family history photo search by surname – Dead Fred .com: Honestly, you probably won’t find a photo of your favorite ancestor. But I dare you to resist trying. You can search by name or location. Go on, go play a while. I’ll be here when you get back.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: Over 42,000 historic maps and images.
IPS – Record of Climatological Observations: Historic weather records. Want to know if your great-grandparents had rain or shine on their wedding day? Here it is! (Special thanks to Sheryl at A Hundred Years Ago for finding this one! Her instructions on how to use the site can be found here: How to Find the Temperature on Any Date in Any City in US.)
Wikipedia: Yes, seriously. When you find military information such as Regiment/Company or Squadron, plug it into Wikipedia for a where-and-when timeline of their missions and battles.
eBay: I’m not a big online shopper at all, but I love to look at historic postcards on eBay. Try looking through Real Photos Postcards for slice-of-life, or search the US States, Cities, and Towns collection to get a sense of place as your ancestors saw it.
Bonus: If my chatter about NY-PA border counties (Cattaraugus, Allegany & Steuben in NY and McKean, Tioga & Potter in PA) is what drew you to this blog in the first place, here are some resources you shouldn’t miss:
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Death Indices, 1906-1962
- Pennsylvania Online Historical Directories – listed by county
- Bradford Era Obit Index, 1935-1995 (Bradford, McKean, PA)
- Digital Archives of Green Free Library via NewspaperARCHIVE.com (Wellsboro, Tioga, PA)
- New York, Genealogical Research Death Index, 1957-1963
- Steuben County Obituaries Index (Steuben, NY)
- Old Cattaraugus County Pictures and The Olean New York Fan Page (Facebook)
- Frank S. Rowland Church Register, 1889-1917 via FamilySearch.org (includes Hornellsville, Hartville, Rochester, Buffalo and Olean NY records)