101 Best Websites: Midwestern US Genealogy

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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Arkansas History Commission

Don’t be so distracted by the appearance of this gorgeous site that you overlook its contents. These include the Catalog of Arkansas Resources and Archival Treasures (CARAT) and special collections on the Civil War, black history and folklife, plus a one-stop search of county records.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

This site is home to more than 500,000 naturalization petitions (including many from residents of the county seat, Chicago) covering 1871 to 1929, primarily declarations of intention (1906 to 1929). These declarations, usually the first papers filed by those who wished to become US citizens, might be the only public record of an individual immigrant. You can search by name or partial name, birth date, birthplace and even occupation.

Cook County, Illinois, Vital Records $

Got Chicago-area kin? Find them in this collection of more than 8 million birth, marriage and death records dating from 1872, then download copies of the original records for $15 each. Privacy restrictions limit birth certificates to 75 years or older, marriage to 50 years or older and deaths to 20 years or older.

Encyclopedia of Alabama

A true online encyclopedia rather than a records collection, this site serves up in-depth, authoritative, cross-linked articles, images and maps. Wondering who or what is Wedowee or what Samuel Dale did? Y’all can get answers here faster than you can say “Roll Tide!”

Kentucky Historical Society

Bluegrass State researchers will stampede to this site for its cemetery records, Civil Rights archive and digital collections of everything from artifacts to old postcards. Click on the Kentuckiana Digital Library to also search more than 550,000 digital images including historic newspapers, photographs, Sanborn maps and historical issues of the Daily Racing Form.

Louisiana State Archives

A new multimedia archive lets you search historical audio and video in addition to the text treasures here. Click Research Library for Confederate Pension Applications, death records, Orleans parish births and marriages, and passenger lists.

Minnesota Historical Society

This family history-friendly site serves up all things Minnesotan, dontcha know. Search state census records, birth records from 1900 to 1934 (plus selected earlier records), death cards and certificates from 1904 to 2001, and an index of veterans buried in Minnesota. You’ll also find a wealth of visual resources, house histories and a guide to place names.

Missouri Digital Heritage

Taking their Show Me State nickname to heart, the Missouri State Archives and State Library have put on view more than 6.8 million searchable records. The show includes military records, naturalization documents, land patents, birth and death records, photographs and old newspapers.

Seeking Michigan

Click Seek to search naturalization records, WPA property descriptions, nearly 1 million Michigan death certificates (1897 to 1920), Civil War service records, oral histories, plat maps and more.

Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Genealogy Index searches more than 150,000 Dairy State obituaries and biographical sketches published before 1999, as well as a million births, 400,000 deaths and a million marriages registered before September 1907. But that’s not all that makes this website stand out: You also can access Civil War records, old photos, 16,000 historical articles and more.

Check out the rest of our 101 Best Websites for genealogy in 2012! Click on a category below.
From the September 2012 Family Tree Magazine