Sunday, September 29, 2013

State (US) Digital Archives

Websites like and are not the only ones to offer digital content helpful in family history research. Many US states have their own digital collections of old newspapers, vital records, historic photos, military records, voter registrations, probate files, and more.

The Library of Congress published a comprehensive list of state digital archives last week in the article 71 Digital Portals to State History on their digital preservation blog, (keep scrolling down until you see the title).

Whether your ancestors were from Alaska or Florida or somewhere in between, there may be records about their lives in a state digital archive. And you can search them for free, from home!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Three kinds of collections at

There are three kinds of Historical Record Collections at
  • Index with image 
  • Index only 
  • Image only
Collections with images have a camera icon to the left of the collection title. Indexed collections have a number in the column titled "Records." Image only collections say "Browse images" in the column titled "Records."

Key pieces of information like names, dates, and places are usually indexed – just enough information to help you find the record. When you discover a record for your ancestor, be sure to look at the actual image. It will likely contain more information than what is available in the index.

If the index listing shows that the image is "Not available" but does provide a film number, you can request the image from FamilySearch using a Photoduplication Request. The process is easy and it's free. 

To see the list of collections, go to and click on [Search] and then [Records].  Scroll down to find the link to "Browse All Published Collections".  New collections are added every few days, so check back often.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Using the Resources of the DAR

If you have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, you might find genealogical information about your family in a DAR Application File at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. To join the Daughters of the American Revolution, applicants must trace their lineage to a Patriot one generation at a time, providing birth, marriage and death information on each generation.

A free index to those Application Files is available online at There is a $10 fee to view the actual Application File, which can include documentation of sources provided at the time of the application. If you can visit the DAR Library in person, you can view Application Files at no cost, and print copies for $.25/page.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sharing Family Heirlooms using FamilySearch Memories

Family heirlooms like jewelry, furniture, china, books and quilts help us remember and cherish our ancestors. Many people may have ties to an object and its owner, but only one can possess it. Using FamilySearch Memories, you can "share" priceless heirlooms, and ensure that the next generation knows each object's history and significance.

 To share your family treasures, take a photo (your smart phone will work!), upload the photo to, write a paragraph or two describing the object and how you came to own it, and then connect the story to the record of the person (or persons) who owned the object. Anyone related to you will be able to easily find your story by going to and clicking on [Memories] and then [Stories].  Cousins you don't even know will be able to see the photos and stories you share, and they'll be preserved no matter what happens to the object.

For help loading photos of your heirlooms to, stop by the Family History Center. We're here to help, so stop by soon!