Best Genealogy Library Websites in 2016

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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1. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

Second in collection size only to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, this library’s online home offers free databases galore, digitized books and genealogy how-tos.

2. ☆ ArchiveGrid

This offshoot of WorldCat locates finding aids from more than 1,000 archival institutions. They help you access 4 million primary source materials, including historical documents, personal papers, family histories and more. Type a search term or enter a location or ZIP code to find nearby archives whose collections you can search.

3. ☆ Cincinnati Digital Library

The new home for this Ohio library’s digitized collections gives you access to photos, city directories, local histories, old yearbooks, atlases and more from the Queen City and beyond.

4. Digital Public Library of America

Now boasting more than 11 million digitized items from some of the nation’s leading libraries, archives and museums, this site can be searched with a single click. You also can explore the materials using maps and timelines.

5. Genealogy Gophers

This partnership with FamilySearch uses sophisticated software to search 80,000 digitized books. It “knows” names, dates and places, and accounts for abbreviations.

6. ☆ Harvard Open Collections Program

Focused on historical materials not available elsewhere, this collection of more than 2.3 million digitized pages, including more than 225,000 manuscript pages, brings the best of Harvard’s libraries, archives and museums to your computer. Collections are searchable and are thematically linked on topics such as the history of immigration to the United States.

7. ☆ HathiTrust

Check out this digital library with nearly 14 million total volumes and nearly 5 billion (yes, that’s with a b) pages of data at last count. Not everything in the collection is accessible to the general public, but if you have an in with a partner institution, such as a university, you can dig even deeper.

8. Library of Congress

From our country’s digitized past in the American Memory collection to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (which helps you locate unpublished manuscripts held at libraries across the country), Thomas Jefferson would be amazed at what he got started.

9. ☆ Midwest Genealogy Center

Part of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Mo., the center recently added a free index of 1.5 million US Railroad Retirement Board pension records to what was already a useful site.

10. New York Public Library Digital Collections

Redesigned and updated, this handsome website now features an image stream for serendipitous finds, plus curated collections of everything from postcards to menus, theater history to the Big Apple’s doors, and city directories to maps.

11. WorldCat

Search among 2 billion items in the world’s libraries at this online catalog, or download apps to check the holdings of 10,000 repositories on the go.

Find out the other 101 best genealogy websites for 2016.