State-of-the-Art Archives

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Arkansas History Commission
Turns out you can judge a book—or a website—by its cover, as the resources beyond this handsome home page live up to its design. Click on the Catalog of Arkansas Resources and Archival Treasures (CARAT) to explore databases of land records, Confederate pension and home records, 1911 Confederate Veterans Reunion registration forms and questionnaires, and WWI discharge records. You also can search Biodex, which includes newspaper obituaries and manuscript collections.

Digital Library of Georgia
Search a million digital objects in more than 200 collections at 60 institutions and 100 government agencies. Georgia goodies here include Colonial wills, manuscripts, Confederate records, the New Georgia Encyclopedia and a growing newspaper collection, which recently added 14 Atlanta-area titles spanning 1827 to 1922.

Florida Memory Project
New online exhibits about Spanish architecture and early Florida medical care add to this state archives site that already boasted more than 163,000 digitized photographs, rare documents, Spanish land grant records, Confederate pension applications, WWI service cards, WPA stories, a folklife collection, an interactive timeline and more.

Indiana State Digital Archives
Civil War and Indiana National Guard records are the latest additions to this growing Hoosier website. It’s now home to more than 2.7 million searchable records.

Kentucky Historical Society
Not surprisingly during this sesquicentennial year, the Civil War in Kentucky is spotlighted at this gorgeous site. But you’ll also find a database of hundreds of thousands of names transcribed from cemeteries across Kentucky, plus documents, images and oral accounts tracing the Bluegrass State’s story right through the Civil Rights era.

Maine Memory Network
An RSS feed keeps you up to date with the latest additions to this project of the Maine Historical Society, which provides access to thousands of historical items belonging to more than 200 organizations across the state.

Massachusetts Archives
Even if you don’t have Massachusetts kin, the databases here are worth checking for ancestors who may have arrived through the port of Boston. An ongoing indexing project, updated monthly, aims to cover 1 million immigrants, 1848 to 1891. Other databases cover Massachusetts birth, marriage and death records from 1841 to 1915 and 18 volumes of Massachusetts Archives.

Minnesota Historical Society
The Land of 10,000 Lakes also boasts plenty of useful online records and indexes, including indexes to birth and death records, state census records, building and house histories, and a guide to place names.

Missouri Digital Heritage
The Missouri State Archives and the Missouri State Library, in partnership with the State Historical Society of Missouri, have gotten together to enable one-stop shopping for Show Me State resources. Special collections, photographs and old newspapers now add to the wealth of databases including military records, naturalization documents, land patents and birth and death records, many linked to images.

New York State Archives
Another site strong on Civil War data, with a database of more than 360,000 New York soldiers, this site also shines for its Probate Records Pathfinder. Let it lead you step-by-step to your Empire State ancestors’ probate documents.

Ohio Memory
Recently upgraded to a new site, this online home for all things Ohio history added 50,000 images in the process. A powerful search tool lets you scour the entire collection—including Graves Registration Cards, oral histories, deeds and military records—with just one click.

Oklahoma Historical Society
A blog, podcasts and the online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture show that everything’s up to date in the Sooner State. While you’re here, check out the index to obituaries, the 1890 territorial census and 1901 land lottery participants (partial), plus resources for researching American Indian ancestors.

Online Archive of California
Pick your preferred way of accessing this golden gateway to nearly 20,000 online collection guides and more than 170,000 digital images and documents: Search, browse by title or zoom in to one of the more than 150 contributing institutions statewide.

Seeking Michigan
Don’t be fooled by this site’s sleek good looks and simple home page messaging, because inside you’ll find a searchable database of nearly 1 million Michigan death certificates (1897 to 1920), Civil War photographs and records, WPA property descriptions, oral histories, maps and more.

Texas State Historical Association
Find your Lone Star ancestors in the Handbook of Texas Online, check 57,000 online pages of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly or consult the eclectic Texas Almanac. There you’ll find a searchable database of Texas towns, including those now home only to ghosts.

Virginia Memory
The Library of Virginia now makes it easier to access its impressive digital collections, either by topic (military records, newspapers) or A to Z. Either way, you’ll uncover a wealth of court records, Revolutionary War land bounties, Civil War pension rolls and disability applications, WWI veterans questionnaires and much more.

Washington State Digital Archives
Search by names, keywords or any combination of record series, county or title to tap into the nearly 30 million searchable records at this standout site. The total count of digitized records accessible here is about to top 100 million, including vital records, censuses, land records, military records and naturalization documents.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Discover your Dairy State ancestors in records of 1 million births, 400,000 deaths and 1 million marriages, more than 150,000 Wisconsin obituaries and biographical sketches, Civil War records, old photos and history articles. Still stumped? Click on the Wisconsin Genealogical Research Service and they’ll retrieve the record for you ($15 to $20).

Browse Family Tree Magazine‘s 2011 Best Websites for genealogy research:

 From the September 2011 Family Tree Magazine