Monday, May 31, 2010

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Maryland

This is the 21st post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Archives of Maryland Online - - broken down in to the following categories: City Directories (Annapolis and Baltimore); Codes, Compilations of Laws, Rules and Regulations; Constitutional Records; Early State Records; Executive Records; Fiscal Records; Judicial Records; Land Records; Legislative Records; Maryland Manual (Archives of Maryland publication); Military Records; Probate Records; Session Laws; Slavery Commission; and newspapers, maps, history, and more. This site is difficult to search and scroll through records, so much patience is required!

Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage - - a collaborative effort between libraries, academic institutions, genealogical and historical societies, and museums highlighting photos, maps, documents, diaries, letters, and other items of Maryland History

Maryland Historic Trust - - from the Maryland Department of Planning; check out the Maryland inventory of Historic Properties, and explore local historic districts, historical markers, cemeteries and monuments, and living tradtions and oral history from your ancestors' communities.

Maryland Historical Society - - Eubie Black Collection, Star-Spangled Banner Sheet Music Collection, Obsolete Currency, Cross Section of Photograph Collection (a selection from the 800,000 photos owned by MHS and sorted by subject), Painting collection (more than 1,500 images dating from the 17th century to the present), Maryland Historical Magazine tables of contents (or access to online editions for MHS members).  It is recommended that you click on the Library link and then explore the following Collections Overview and Digital Resources links. You can also check out the Maryland Memory Project here (

Maryland State Archives - - while this site has some overlap with the Archives of Maryland Online (access to Maryland Manual, for instance), from this web page, one can access Maryland death records, land records, the state museum, (must subscribe via e-mail), the Special Collections, order digital images from the Archives, and search the Underground Railroad Database.

SAILOR - Maryland's Public Information Network; Maryland Digital Collections - - a search engine of a wide variety of digital collections from various institutions


College of Southern Maryland - Southern Maryland Studies Center - - although there is not a lot of resources online, there are some photos from the Headen Collection available for viewing, as well as lists of finding aids.

Johns Hopkins University Digital Projects - - from the Sheridan Libraries Rare Books and Manuscripts Collections; includes the Baltimore Architecture Project, the James Birney Anti-Slavery Collection, Laurence Hall Fowler's Lost Baltimore, and more

Towson University Digital Collections - - photos and student newspapers; you can also access a chronology of the university and the biographies of the university presidents here (

University of Maryland, Baltimore County - - Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery Digital Collections - - photos, newpapers, Civil War Collection, theses and dissertations

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore - Frederick Douglass Library - - historic images of UMES

University of Maryland University Libraries Digital Collections - - from the University archives to  the National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection to the Sterling Family Papers to the Jim Henson Collection, there is something here for everyone!


Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society Archives and Web Exhibitions - - if your ancestors lived in an area that was served by the B&O, you may want to check out these online documents and maps to see how the railroad affected their lives

Baltimore County Public Library - Baltimore County History - - This page has a number of great history and genealogy links for anyone with Baltimore County roots. Be sure to check out the Baltimore County Legacy Web (, where you can do a search of the collection of digitized images.

Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture - - Delmarva stands for the area where DELaware, MARyland and VirginiA come together. This site features student research, local heritage, and family history highlighting the Delmarva history and culture. Included are digital collections.

Enoch Pratt Free Library Digital Collections - - a variety of collections; of particular interest to historians and genealogists are the Burnt District Reports, the Baltimore Fire of 1904, Mapping Maryland's Counties, Prominent Marylanders, Slave Documents Collections, Views of African American Life in Maryland, and the Works Progress Administration of Maryland.

Howard County Marriage Records Index -

Jewish Museum of Maryland Collections & Research - - in the Family History & Genealogy section of this website, there is access to "Maryland's most extensive listing of Jewish cemetery burials and other on-line resources". You can also search the collections as well as browse random images and online exhibitions, and visit the Timeline of Baltimore Jewry.

Montgomery County Historical Society - - genealogy club newsletter, links to digital images of aerial photos of Montgomery County, history, and online exhibits

Talbot County Free Library's Local and Genealogical Special Collections (Maryland Room) - - a nice small online collection of photos, documents, postcards, maps, historic sites, local history narratives, plus a description of genealogical holdings

Washington County Free Library Genealogy Databases - - obituary locator (1790-2007), historic Newspaper Index, marriage, school, church, and cemetery records, plus links to other sites with area records

WHILBR - Western Maryland's Historical Library - - featuring images, documents, newspaper articles, books (city/county directories) and more from Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties

Check out my Maryland Online Historical Directories and Maryland Online Historical Newspapers pages.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Special on Casefile Clues

Michael John Neill is offering a Memorial Day discount offer of $15 for an annual subscription to his e-newsletter, Casefile Clues, through Monday, May 31st. I wrote a review about Casefile Clues a while back, and I highly recommend it! You can order a subscription securely through Paypal. Check it out!

Check out all the Memorial Day specials on my Special Offers page!

Friday, May 28, 2010 Offers 25% Discount on Any Book or CD During Memorial Day Weekend

This just in from the Genealogical Publishing Company...

Our Memorial Day Sale is now underway! From today through 11:59 PM EDT, Tuesday, June 1, 2010, you can order any product available at at a discount of 25% off the current selling price of the book(s) or CD(s) of your choice. To take advantage of this special holiday discount, simply add the code MDS10 (all caps, with no spaces) in the Discount Code box on the "Calculate Shipping and Discounts"page during the check-out process.

You can use your special MDS10 discount code as many times as you like, so long as you place your final order by 11:59 PM EDT, Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

Order now and save on:

Remember, to take advantage of this special Memorial Day discount, simply add the special code MDS10 (all caps, with no spaces) in the Discount Code box on the "Calculate Shipping and Discounts" page during the check-out process before 11:59 PM EDT, Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

More Special Offers for Memorial Day Weekend...And Some Freebies!

Geneabloggers, authored by Thomas MacEntee, is holding a Data Backup Weekend contest in which participants can win one of four copies of Handy Backup Standard by Novosoft LLC (value $39 US)! To enter, leave a comment at Geneabloggers' contest post about data backup between Friday, May 29 and Monday, May 31st no later than 11:00 PM, CDT. Details and rules are available here.


At another of Thomas' blogs, Hi-Definition Genealogy, he has recently announced a free E-mail Signature Cheat Sheet:
An email signature is usually a snippet of text or an image embedded into your blank email template.  Each time you create a new email, the text or signature will appear at the bottom...Look at the bottom of your email as real estate that should be used wisely.  If you run a business, you should be placing links to your website or advertising your latest special or offering.  If you sit on the board of a genealogical society, think about advertising your next event or project.  It costs nothing and every time you send an email, the message gets out.

This is the sixth free Cheat Sheet Thomas has designed. You can find links to more at my Special Offers page.


Family Tree Magazine is having a Memorial Day Weekend sale! When you spend $30 or more, you’ll get 15 percent off Family Tree Magazine products and free US shipping when you enter the offer code FTREMEMBER at checkout. They encourage you to think about Father's Day and June wedding gifts while making your purchases. This sale is on now through June 2. Click here to start shopping.


id you miss's free webinar on Finding Your Military Heroes on Not to worry; all their webinars are available for free and are archived here. You can also see notifications for upcoming ones!


Speaking of Ancestry, they now have two classic genealogy reference books available online for free (no subscription required!) at their new Wiki:
The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy has been called the bible of genealogy. Focusing mainly on record types and methodology, The Source is one of the best places to learn how to do genealogy.

Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources looks at each state and offers an in-depth look at what records are available and where to go to find them. As one of the most valuable books in place-based research, it has helped researchers for more than 20 years.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Win a One-Year Subscription to,, and

I've been a long-time subscriber to Woman's Day magazine and receive their e-newsletter as well, which usually includes various contests to win vacations, jewelry, cosmetics and the like. Imagine my surprise this morning when I saw their featured contest was a one year's subscription to, which includes access to partners and! Ten lucky winners will be drawn after the contest ends July 24th. No purchase necessary. Go here to enter.


Also, yesterday Randy Seaver mentioned the following on his blog Genea-Musings:
As part of a special partnership between the National Genealogical Society and, all NGS members will receive a complementary three-month membership to ($20 retail value). You don't even need to enter your credit card, and the membership will not renew without your expressed permission.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Special Offers and a Chance to Win an iPad

As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, I discovered the following freebies and contest.

1. is hosting a FREE webinar TONIGHT on Finding Your Military Heroes on Ancestry blog explains:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 8pm ET/5pm PT
Investigating and preserving the stories of the military heroes in our family tree is wonderful way to honor their service. In this webinar, Juliana Smith, editor of the Ancestry Weekly Discovery, will show you how to identify family members who served, determine what records are available, and find their stories in those records. In this free one-hour class, you’ll see examples of some of the records you can find on, get search tips, and learn how to use that information to take your family history further. Sign up today! Invites Family Historians to Honor Their Veteran Ancestors by Researching Military Records. They will be providing "free public access to all of its United States Military databases  from May 27, 2010 through  June 1, 2010 in honor of Memorial Day." For details on what military records are available, please see Renee Zamora's post here.

3. Dick Eastman is hosting a contest to win an Apple iPad on his blog. "To enter the contest, all you need to do is enter a genealogy query, an advertisement for a genealogy service or product, or an announcement of a future genealogy event, at runner-up winners will each be awarded one-year free subscriptions to the Plus Edition of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter." For more details, read his post here. The "contest closes at 12 midnight Eastern Daylight Savings Time on Saturday, June 12, 2010. The winners will be announced the following day at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree held in Burbank, California..." and online.

All three of these will be posted on my Special Offers page until they expire.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 2010 Scanfest

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Maine

This is the 20th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Maine Memory Network - - Maine's statewide digital museum "provides access to thousands of historical items belonging to over 200 organizations from across Maine. Search for or browse these items, explore online exhibits, or create your own collection of images from the database." Links to the Maine Historical Society, Longfellow, Maine History Online and Vintage Maine Images websites.

Maine State Archives: Researchers - - in the left-hand margin, you'll find useful resources. The Archives Interactive is a search engine for several databases. While it gives results, no images or records are available online. Tributes, camps, and photos are available in the Civilian Conservation Corps database. There are also a state marriage (1892-1967, 1976-1922) and death (1960-1996) databases. Additionally, you can download various databases including a divorce index (1800-1891), courts (1696-1854), maps, military, photos, government documents and more.

Maine State Museum Collections - - photo database of the museum's collections from clocks and watches to toys


Bates College Edmund S. Muskie Library Archives and Special Collections - - includes digital collections; honors theses, transcriptions of oral histories, historic photos

University of Maine System Libraries Digital Collections - - includes the University of Maine at six campuses, the School of Law, the University of Southern Maine, and the University College. There are links to the libraries collections (regular, special and digital) on this page. I originally had a link to their Mariner-Gateway to Library Resources ( or but can no longer access this page. It was supposed to lead to a searchable database of all the campus libraries' digital collections. I am leaving this information in this post with the hope that it will eventually work. You can view a cached version here.


Abbott Memorial Library Town of Dexter Obituary Database - - 1900-present

City of Bangor Public Works  - - see right-hand menu for Cemetery Internment Listing, which is a .pdf file. Also see the link for the Mount Hope Cemetery website, which has a searchable database.

Curtis Memorial Library Snow Index to Brunswick Newspapers - - indexes microfilm of the Brunswick weekly newspapers from 1853 through December 1960

Georgetown Historical Society - - history, genealogical name index, photos

McArthur Public Library Biddeford Area Biographical Resource - - "The information in the Resource comes from the hundreds of index cards written and maintained by McArthur Librarians since the 1930’s. Some of the resources, especially the very early newspapers, are no longer in existence—or if they do exist may be quite difficult to obtain. Some of the resources, such as the Scrapbooks, can only be accessed inside the Library. We will continue to add to the Resource, and shall continue to add links as more resources are available online."

Penobscot Marine Museum Photography Collections - - fascinating slideshows of historic photos

Portland Public Library Maine News Index Online - - see list of titles and years covered here

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland - Maine Catholic Cemetery Committee's Online Database -

Westbrook Historical Society - - photo archives with history, transcription of 1850 Federal Census and Mortality Schedule of Westbrook, and an online newsletter

Check out my Maine Online Historical Directories and Maine Online Historical Newspapers pages.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

FamilySearch Collection Update: New Records Added Online for Czech Republic, Mexico, and U.S.

Received May 11 from

Eight new searchable collections were updated or added this week at—millions of new free images and records.

This week the complete name indexes for the states of Alabama, Colorado, and Illinois were published online at FamilySearch’s Record Search pilot (, click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot) or

The Delaware state birth records, 1875 Minnesota State Census, and Illinois, Cook County birth records were also added.

Also released was a digital image collection of church records from Litomerice, Czech Republic—60,000 images! Consumers will see these types of collections more and more online as FamilySearch digitizes microfilms in its Granite Mountain Records Vault. Instead of a microfilm reader in a local family history center, patrons use FamilySearch’s image viewer online to search these high quality digital collections—and they are accessible 24/7.

See the chart below for the complete list of all the newly added or improved collections.

None of this would be possible without the great contributions of many online FamilySearch volunteers. These individuals donate the time and effort needed to make these collections freely available to FamilySearch patrons. If you would like to help by donating a few minutes here and there online with projects of personal interest, become a FamilySearch community volunteer at Many hands produce great work. Thank you for your support!

Collection NameIndexed
Digital ImagesComments
Czech Republic, Litomerice State Regional Archive Church Records 1552-1905, pt. 03 - WP60573Browsable images only
Mexico Census 1930 Index, Yucatan3785501061300
U.S Delaware State Birth Records 1861-1922 - FSI12123493600
U.S Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers 1873-1908124000033245
U.S 1875 Minnesota State Census47500013600Must be registered to see images.
US Federal Census, 1910, Alabama187052046763
US Federal Census, 1910, Colorado76768019192
US Federal Census, 1910, Illinois5024520125613

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

AnceStories Listed as One of's 50 Best Blogs for Genealogy Geeks

AnceStories was recently listed as one of's 50 Best Blogs for Genealogy Geeks. Along with 13 others, this blog was recognized under the category of Specific Research Projects: "From African American genealogy to Cape Cod family ancestry, learn about specialized research here." I was curious as to how genealogy fit in with the online university world, and when I received the notice from the website, I checked it out. Here's what they had to say:
Americans are proud of their melting-pot culture, but genealogy is also a popular past-time and even profession, as family ancestry is complex and often hard to define. It takes a lot of research to untangle the web of genealogy in order to create a clear family tree, but as an online university student, you’re probably used to taking on similarly large projects. Either as a break from studying, a supplement to your history classes, or even for inspiration to start your own family ancestry research, check out these 50 blogs on genealogy.

Thank you to Kaitlyn Cole and for including AnceStories on their list, and congratulations to the other winners.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2010 FamilySearch Software Award Recipients Announced

SALT LAKE CITY—Recipients of the 2010 FamilySearch Software Awards were announced at the FamilySearch Developers Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 14 recipients were recognized for their outstanding and innovative work in advancing products and technologies that integrate with FamilySearch’s emerging suite of products and services.

The annual FamilySearch Software Awards has been established to encourage and recognize software development that benefits the growing demands and needs of family history consumers. “The awards formally recognize the software achievements of those developers and companies that are making important contributions to the family history and genealogy industry,” said Gordon Clarke, FamilySearch developer services product manager.

The Best New Product awards were given to applicants in different platform categories. Products with specific features deemed important to the growth of the industry received the Best New Feature award. Community Player awards recognized individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the software developer community.

The following recipients were announced and awards presented at the FamilySearch Developers Conference:

Best New Product Awards:
· The MagiKey for the “Best New Windows” product
· Arcalife for the “Best New Web site”
· MobileTree for “Best New Mobile” product
· FamilyInsight for “Best New Macintosh” product

Best New Feature Awards:
· OurFamilogy for “Best Research” feature
· SharingTime for “Best Collaboration” feature
· Genetree for “Best DNA” feature
· Ancestral Hunt for the “Best Geo-Mapping” feature
· FamilyPursuit for the “Best Groups” feature
· Photoloom for the “Best Media” feature
· FamilyChArtist for the “Best Print” feature
· AppleTree for the “Best Celebrity Tree” feature

Community Player Awards:
· Gaylon Finlay, Incline Software, “Bug Hunter” award
· Michael Booth and Bruce Buzbee, Roots Magic, “Trailblazer” award

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons can access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

British Library and brightsolid Partnership to Digitise up to 40 Million Pages of Historic Newspapers

British Library and brightsolid partnership to digitise up to 40 million pages of historic newspapers

  • Mass digitisation to make millions of newspaper pages available online and in the Library’s reading rooms
  • Innovative deal will help safeguard the future of the world’s greatest newspaper archive

The British Library’s Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley, will today announce a major new partnership between the Library and online publisher brightsolid, owner of online brands including and Friends Reunited. The ten-year agreement will deliver the most significant mass digitisation of newspapers the UK has ever seen: up to 40 million historic pages from the national newspaper collection will be digitised, making large parts of this unparalleled resource available online for the first time.

Spanning three centuries and including 52,000 local, regional, national and international titles, the British Library holds one of the world’s finest collections of newspapers. Each year the Newspaper Library at Colindale is used by 30,000 researchers in subjects ranging from family history and genealogy to sports statistics, politics and industrial history. This vast resource is held mainly in hard copy and microfilm, necessitating a trip to the north London site for people wishing to use the collection.

The partnership between the British Library and brightsolid will enable the digitisation of a minimum of 4 million pages of newspapers over the first two years. Over the course of ten years, the agreement aims to deliver up to 40 million pages as the mass digitisation process becomes progressively more efficient and as in-copyright content is scanned following negotiation with rightsholders.

Delivering the keynote speech at the Westminster eForum this morning (Wednesday 19 May), Dame Lynne Brindley outlined how the partnership will transform access to this vital part of the national memory.

“I am delighted to announce the British Library’s partnership with brightsolid to embark upon the most significant programme of newspaper digitisation this country has ever seen,” said Dame Lynne. “Historic newspapers are an invaluable resource for historians, researchers, genealogists, students and many others, bringing past events and people to life with great immediacy and in rich detail. Mass digitisation unlocks the riches of our newspaper collections by making them available online to users across the UK and around the world; by making these pages fully searchable we will transform a research process which previously relied on scrolling through page after page of microfilm or print. brightsolid have an excellent track record of digitising archive materials and making them available to new audiences – I look forward to announcing the web service resulting from this partnership, which will launch and then steadily grow from next year.”

Digitised material will include extensive coverage of local, regional and national press across three and a half centuries. It will focus on specific geographic areas, along with periods such as the census years between 1841 and 1911. Additional categories will be developed looking at key events and themes such as the Crimean War, the Boer War and the suffragette movement. The aim will be to build a ‘critical mass’ of material for researchers – particularly in the fields of family history and genealogy.

brightsolid, a subsidiary of Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson, was selected following an EU procurement process. brightsolid has previously delivered the highly successful project in partnership with The National Archives (TNA) and owns the leading family history resources and brightsolid is taking on the commercial and technical risks of the project, with no direct costs to the British Library. The firm will digitise content from the British Library Newspaper Library, which it will then make available online via a paid-for website as well as integrating it into its family history websites.

This resource will be available for free to users on-site at the British Library and copies of all scanned materials will be deposited with the Library to be held in the national collection in perpetuity.

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the British Library on such an exciting project. Digitisation will mean that those people who haven’t previously been able to access the physical resource will now be able to access it from anywhere at any time. In particular it is an important resource for the genealogy community, which we are closely involved with through our brands and, helping them to bring to life how their ancestors lived. It will also offer a unique insight into major events and key periods of historical interest.

“We’re also closely linked to the publishing community through our parent company, DC Thomson and we very much see this project as a collaboration with the industry. In fact we are already in dialogue with some rightsholders and expect this to continue throughout the project. As a business, our core strength is in building innovative online businesses around people and places, and this project fits perfectly within our expertise. We are looking forward to working with the British Library on this project and developing this hugely important online resource.”

Along with out-of-copyright material from the newspaper archive – defined in this context as pre-1900 newspaper material – the partnership will also seek to digitise a range of in-copyright material, with the agreement of the relevant rightsholders. This copyright material will, with the express permission of the publishers, be made available via the online resource – providing fuller coverage for users and a much-needed revenue stream for the rightsholders.

David Fordham, President of the Newspaper Society said: “This initiative is a hugely significant and exciting development which will unlock many of the great newspaper treasures that lie within the millions of pages in the British Library Newspaper archive at Colindale. It represents a particularly exciting opportunity for regional newspapers which have a long and rich heritage and capture changing times in local and regional areas across the centuries. I look forward to watching the project develop and hope that it makes a major contribution to the industry.”

The successful appointment of brightsolid as its newspaper digitisation partner will help the British Library to fulfil its strategic goals of long-term preservation of and access to the national newspaper collection. The Library’s newspaper strategy aims to secure the future of this unique resource by moving the hard-copy collections from the current building at Colindale to a purpose-built storage facility in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. Access to the collection will be provided via microfilm and digital copies made available at the Library’s main site at St Pancras.

“The success of our 19th Century British Library Newspapers website demonstrated the public’s huge appetite for digitised historic newspaper content,” added Dame Lynne. “Our new partnership with brightsolid will enable us to deliver a huge increase in the amount of digitised material available – transforming access and searchability for users on and off-site and reducing wear-and-tear on our often fragile collection items. It will help the newspaper collection to remain relevant for a new generation of researchers, more used to accessing research information via their laptop than travelling to a physical location.”

She concluded: “The British Library’s newspaper archive is one of the world’s great newspaper collections. Through this partnership with brightsolid we will make millions more pages accessible – and to many more people.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 Years Ago: The Eruption of Mount St. Helens

From the Washington State Digital Archives

Today, May 18th, is a red-letter day in Washington State. Thirty years ago today, at 8:32 AM, Mount St. Helens erupted. "The eruption touched off the greatest landslide ever, ripping off a large part of that enormous dome, blowing out 3.7 billion cubic yards of mountaintop and spewing ash that girdled the globe a number of times. The blast zone was 230 square miles; 57 people, including the crotchety Harry Truman, lost their lives." [Washington Secretary of State blog]

At the time, I was a 13-year-old eighth grader, living with my parents and younger siblings about 10 miles north of Colville in Northeastern Washington. It was a Sunday and I'm sure we went to church that morning. I don't remember exactly when or how we heard the news that the mountain had erupted, but at the time, it wasn't a surprise. Scientists had been monitoring the mountain for some time, as it was showing signs of volcanic activity. But it wasn't until we came home after church and turned on the TV that we realized the effect the eruption was having on Eastern Washington, especially those communities lying directly in the path of the ash cloud, like Ritzville and Spokane.

Spokane, Washington is the largest urban area between Seattle and the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Eighty miles to the south of my home, it was where all local television news was broadcast for my small rural community. And what a broadcast the local stations had for us! The reporters told how everything became deathly quiet, the sky turned dark by three o'clock in the afternoon with street lights coming on, and then the ash fell. Like snow it came down, up to six inches' worth, but much more serious. People with respiratory problems were affected, and so were vehicles. The fine particles of ash clogged air filters in automobiles. Air filters and face masks were soon sold out everywhere. Snow plows had to clear the streets, and the Spokane Police Department had special filtration systems in place on the front of their vehicles making them look like strange space machines. In fact, the city took on the look of a moonscape, gray and dusty. Schools, colleges, and even businesses closed for a week, and as in times past and future, the community came together to help each other out. (Check out photos from the local paper here.)

But up in the Colville area, the effect was much less severe. I took some photos of my parents' Jeep which showed just a light dusting of ash, as well as a panoramic shot of the mountain across the valley from their home. Normally easily visible even on a cloudy day, it appeared to be obscured by a cloud--not of rain, but of ash from a mountain some 400 miles away!

Jeep, with light dusting of ash.
© Copyright 1980, Miriam Robbins Midkiff

View from my parents' home toward Mount Dominion, normal day.
© Copyright 1980, Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Same view, with ash.
© Copyright 1980, Miriam Robbins Midkiff


Meanwhile, on the "other side of the mountains," as we like to say here in Washington, my husband-to-be was soundly sleeping. A 23-year-old college student in Vancouver (Washington, not British Columbia), he had been staying awake for hours on end, hoping to be able to witness the highly-anticipated event that the media and scientific world had been predicting. A beautiful dome in the snowy Cascade range which stretches from Lytton Mountain in British Columbia to Lassen Peak in Northern California, it was in the company of such notable peaks as Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, the Three Sisters, Mount McLoughlin, and Mount Shasta.

From the Washington State Digital Archives

Exhausted after waiting, he fell asleep and slept through the blast and concussion, even though it was only 50 miles away! Only a small amount of ash fell on Southwest Washington, as the blast and then the jet stream carried it away to the northeast.

Many residents of Washington can today show you their jars of Mount St. Helens ash, the fine particles like baby powder, from which ash trays and other mementos were made. Even today, if you look carefully, you can see the ash here and there throughout Central and Eastern Washington. Certainly, if you do any digging, you'll come across the layer. The ash, although devastating on many levels, did enrich the soil in Eastern Washington.

I tried to find the photo of my one trip several years ago when we came rather close to the now barren mountain after visiting my in-laws. It appears the photo has been damaged in my computer crash a year ago, so I won't be able to post it here. But I'll never forget driving up and pulling over to take a good look at the remains of the scorched mountain. At that time, it had been smoking again. Even at 10 or 15 miles away, it looked ominous, eerie, ghostly. Chills went up my spine and I urged my husband to turn around quickly and return to Vancouver. It took no strong imagination to understand how the ancient natives felt about these volcanoes. Sleeping giants, monsters, evil spirits...the legends live on.


Here are more memories shared by others in the Inland Northwest.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Scanfest is Coming!

The May 2010 Scanfest will take place one week early due to the Memorial Day weekend holiday. We will meet here at AnceStories next Sunday, May 23rd, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, May 22nd at 4 PM, PDT and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!

Some Freebies and Special Offers!

This week, a number of freebies and special offers designed to help genealogists with technology and research went online:

Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High-Definition Genealogy added four new free Cheat Sheets to his blogs (he already had one for Twitter which he created a year ago): Google Docs: Getting Started, WordPress: Getting Started, Blogger: Getting Started, and Facebook for Genealogists. These are all in .pdf format and can be saved to your computer and/or printed up to put in a binder.

Steve Danko of Steve's Genealogy Blog put together the free A Beginner’s Guide to Eastern European Genealogy, a .pdf version of his three-part series he published on his blog.

And to celebrate her genealogy talk today on "Using Social Networks for Genealogy" at the Immigrant Genealogy Society in Burbank, California, 20-year-old Elyse Doerflinger is offering her e-book, Conquering The Paper Monster Once And For All! for only $3.99. This offer is good until May 30th.

I now have a Special Offers page on my blog that lists all the current special offers, freebies, contests, and discounts available in the genealogy world. Check it out!

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Louisiana

This is the 19th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

LOUISiana Digital Library - - " online library of Louisiana institutions that provide over 144,000 digital materials. Its purpose is to make unique historical treasures from the Louisiana institution's archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories in the state electronically accessible to Louisiana residents and to students, researchers, and the general public in other states and countries. The LOUISiana Digital Library contains photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, oral histories, and more that document history and culture."

Louisiana State Archives - - from this page you can access the Research Library with its online indexes (New Orleans Ship Passenger List Online Index,January-July 1851; State Confederate Pension Applications Database; State Death Index; Orleans Parish Births and Marriages Databases); Multimedia Archives with some online material (television collections, oral histories, political history collection, Louisiana governors, Academy of Politics, and Black History Collection); as well as some images from some of the Events, Exhibits, and Collections (B.R. Art League Collection; WWI Collection; Freedom Train; and more)


Armistad Research Center - - "the nation's oldest, largest and most comprehensive independent archive specializing in the history of African Americans and other Ethnic Minorities." The digital projects include an online finding aid database, the LOUISiana Digital Library (see above), and the American Missionary Association Timeline. This project is under the auspices of Tulane University.

Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Online Resources - - this Methodist college has a lot of documents regarding their denomination, as well as "Researching Your United Methodist Ancestors" Guide; a great resource if your ancestors were members of this denomination!

Dillard University Will W. Alexander Library Archives - - the archives' collection provides information on Dillard University, Straight College, the United Methodist Church, Black Education in the South, Flint-Goodridge Hospital, New Orleans University, the American Missionary Association, and New Orleans History. They include the history of Dillard, online finding aids (descriptive only), digitized collections (the Dillard Bulletin) and a list of special collections.

Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Special Collections - - while the majority of the university's digital collection is at the LOUISiana Digital Library (see above), the university's website contains digital university archives documenting the history of LSU with photos and printed materials. This site also contains the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History and the resource-rich Louisiana Newspaper Project, a must-visit collection.

Louisiana State University (Shreveport) Special Collections - - while this site does not have a lot of online material (their digital collection is at the LOUISiana Digital Library), they have excellent online finding aids and descriptions of their onsite collections. Online indexes include the Shreveport Times Index (1991-2009), North Louisiana History (1970-2005, searchable by author or subject), The Fighting Men of Louisiana, and Shreveport City Records (Indexes to the ordinances and regulations passed by the Shreveport City Council, 1974-1979; organized by date and subject). Also included are LSUS Faculty and Alumni Authors 2008-2009 Bibliographies.

Loyola University New Orleans Monroe Library Digital Collections - - electronic theses; Jesuit Scrapbooks from the new Orleans Province; Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence Collection; Loyola Maroon (student newspaper); Anthony J. Stanonis Pamphlet Collection; Fr. Louis J. Twomey, S.J.: Loyola's Voice for Labor; New Orleans, Race and the Catholic Church, 1947-56; Walker Percy Exhibit

McNeese State University Frazar Memorial Library Archives and Special Collections - - digital collections are at the LOUISiana Digital Library (see above), but the site includes online special projects and guides, including a map and bibliography of the Lake Charles' Fire of 1910, online books about Southwest Louisiana, and an interactive map of Lake Charles in 1948.

Newcomb College Center for Research on Women - - online finding aids and exhibits chronicling the rise of women's issues and feminism in the nation and the South, as well as the history of the college.

Tulane University Special Collections - - online search tool for vertical files; Southeastern Architectural Archives online exhibits; Jazz Archives with the Jazz Archivist online publication; online finding aids for the Manuscripts Department; and the Lousiana Collection with the online political ephemera collection.


Caddo County Marriage License Index, 1937-present -

Jefferson Genealogical Society New Orleans Obituary Index, 1994-2005 -

Jefferson Parish Library Obituary Database -

The Historic New Orleans Collection - - this is a must-visit site if you have New Orleans ancestors. While there certainly are not a lot of online resources, there is information on their collections as well as online exhibits, podcasts, videos, a downloadable Quarterly, and photos.

New Orleans Notarial Archives - - from this site, you can search current and historical land records and other contracts recorded in Orleans Parish. Historical indexes can be searched for free; accessing current records and historical documents requires a fee.

New Orleans Public Library Louisiana Division City Archives and Special Collections - - from this page you can access finding aids and inventories, photos, early recordings, early sheet music, oral histories index, Louisiana Scrapbook collection, maps, online pamphlets, vertical files, a list of WPA materials at the library, the Louisiana Biography/Obituary Index, marriage indexes, indexes to Sanborn maps for New Orleans, newspaper indexes, and much, much more!

New Orleans St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 Tomb and Marker Survey - - a project of the University of Pennsylvania

Washington Parish Library System Obituary Index -


Friday, May 14, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Clarence GEBBEN

Funeral card of Clarence Gebben, Grandville, Michigan, citing services on 23 June 1990; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. This item was passed from the estate of Adrian and Ruth (Hoekstra) DeVries to their granddaughter, Miriam Robbins Midkiff in 2008.

Clarence GEBBEN was married to the sister (Catherine) of my maternal (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES. While I know I met Uncle Clarence on a couple of occasions as a child, I really don't remember him well. I suppose he was a quiet man, and my memories, although still somewhat vague, are more of Aunt Catherine. In my last Funeral Card Friday post, I mentioned that Aunt Catherine made a knitted sweater, cap, and bootie set for my daughter when she was a baby. This would have been in 1990. When I looked at the date of Uncle Clarence's death, I realized that that set was probably made around the time he died. I like to think that knitting the baby things was a comfort to Aunt Catherine during the hard and lonely time when she first was a widow, to help her pass the time.

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme! Dee encourages others to highlight their funeral card collection on the first Friday of each month. Since I have so many, I've decided to highlight mine every Friday.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AnceStories Chosen as One of's Top 100 Genealogy Sites

Top genealogy site awards

AnceStories has been honored to be listed among's Top 100 Genealogy Sites! The criteria for this award were as follows:
1) high quality content;
2) originality in topic choice, approach and design; and
3) frequently updated content. 
In today's announcement, they said:
We also put some emphasis on finding hidden gems in the community, and bringing sites to attention which currently have relatively small audiences. As such, there are a number of lesser-known sites included, and a few more prominent sites unmentioned for the same reason.
Thank you so much for this award, and congratulations to all the other winners!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles Frisbie and Mary Lucy (WRIGHT) STRONG

Grave of Charles Frisbie and Mary Lucy (Wright) Strong, Belle Passi Cemetery,Woodburn, Marion County,Oregon.Photographed and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff,[ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Spokane,Washington.2005.

Last week I featured some tombstones belonging to the graves of my husband's great-grandparents, located west of Portland, Oregon. This week, I am highlighting the tombstones of my own great-great-grandparents, located south of the same city. They are buried 385 miles from me...the closest ancestral graves in my family tree. Google Maps says a trip from my home to this cemetery would take only 6 1/2 hours, but when I traveled the route during Memorial Day Weekend 2005, it took closer to 8 1/2 total. The trip from Spokane to the Portland area generally takes 6 1/2 hours, with breaks, and then the trip down to the cemetery took another couple of hours, because of the traffic we had to maneuver through in Portland.

I have two other ancestral graves located west of the Mississippi River: one is in St. Paul Minnesota (21 hours away) and one is in San Antonio, Texas (32 hours away). My own infant brother's grave is located 34 hours away in Metlakatla, Alaska. All the other ancestral graves are located east of the Mississippi; many are in Michigan, New York, Ontario, and New England. It is for this reason that I am eternally grateful for the volunteers at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness and the photo volunteers of Find A Grave. If it were not for them, I would have no idea where many of my ancestors were buried, much less what their graves looked like.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

My Husband's Maternal Line

Three years ago, I published "Eight Generations of Mothers," which highlighted my matrilineal line. For this Mother's Day, I'd like to post my husband's matrilineal (maternal) line. I have to add that I am very blessed to have the mother-in-law that I do. She's got a wicked sense of humor, is generous to a fault (can't remember when I have visited her and didn't go home with something she gave me), and is a wonderful cook...a heritage that must have been passed on from her mother and her maternal grandmother, both of whom owned restaurants.

This is my mother-in-law, Alice Carol CHAPLIN, at around the age of 2 1/2. Isn't she a cutie? This photo was taken the summer of 1935, and may have been taken in Clark County, Washington.

This photo was taken the same day as the one above. It is of Alice's mother, Leona Mary (MARTIN) CHAPLIN (in front), at about age 28, with her mother, Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN, about age 69, in the background. I love this shot for a number of reasons. There are very few family photos from my mother-in-law's family that I have been able to find. I also like this because it shows a young, very pretty, Leona. I only met her once, at my wedding, and she was quite elderly and wheelchair-bound. There's only one other photo I know of her, and that's with her twin brother when they were babies. I also like this because it's the only photo of Angelia that I have in which you can see her face. I recently visited Angelia's grave in Oregon last weekend.

Here is Angelia's mother, Rebecca (HEWITT) LUKE. This portrait, the original of which includes her husband, was taken in 1908, probably in Bon Homme County, South Dakota. She was about 73 in this photo.


I have information on one more generation in this line: Hannah (MILLER) HEWITT was born about 1803 in Pennsylvania and died between 1860 and 1870 in Wisconsin, probably in Dane County. I do not have any photographs of her.

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Kentucky

This is the 18th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Kentuckiana Digital Library - - finding aids database; digitized newspapers, books, images, journals (including the Daily Racing Form), and Sanborn maps; oral histories, and manuscripts.

Kentucky Genealogical Society - - genealogical index, military reports, vital records indexes, city directories, family files, cemetery records, obituary and newspaper article indexes, yearbooks, photos

Kentucky Historical Society - - digital collections (images, sound, video, text, photos, manuscripts, oral history, maps, etc.); Civil Rights Movment; Historical Marker database; Cemetery Records database; virtual library, and a link to the Kentuckiana digital library

Kentucky Secretary of State Land Office - - informative descriptions of records and searchable databases of  patents and warrants, including those issued to military veterans; gazetteers, maps, Louisville Genealogical Society journals; lots of great Kentucky land resources here!


Berea College Hutchins Library Digital Content - - college history, photos, oral history, radio broadcasts, Appalachian studies, and more

Centre College Library Special Collections - - digital collections (texts; includes Kentucky School for the Deaf), college archives (finding aids), early photographs, college history, biographical sketches of presidents, selected documents from Kentucky College for Women and other women's educational institutions, special exhibits, 1890 alumni search

Eastern Kentucky University Library Digital Resources - - photo and image database, map index database, Leslie Anderson Papers (photos of first graduating class and more), Walter J. Binder Papers (WWI photos and more), Board of Regents/Faculty Senate Indexes, Civil War Collection, Correctional Photos Archives (prison, rehabilitaion), historical resources, negative and photo collections, Anna Kadlec Papers (settlement house movement), Milestone Index (student newspaper), postcard collection, Jimm Taylor collection (photos from 1940 - 1965)

Georgetown College Special Collections - - lists of alumni, as well as those who become college presidents and members of Congress; memoirs of the college fire of 1930

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Appalachian Archives - - a searchable index of artifacts documenting the history and culture of the central Appalachian coalfields

Sullivan University System Archives - - "a reference collection of Sullivan University historical materials. Materials include pictures, newsletters, catalogs, and banners documenting the history of Sullivan University, Spencerian College, Louisville Technical Institute, and Sullivan-Lexington." Searchable indexes.

Transylvania University Gay/Thomas Library Special Collections - - Bullock Photograph Collection and Doris Ulmann Photographs

University of Kentucky Special Collections and Digital Programs Division - - postcards, oral history, online exhibits, Notable Kentucky African-Americans Database

University of Kentucky Vital Records Index - - indexes for Deaths (1911 - 1992), Marriages (1973-1993), and Divorces (1973-1993)

University of Louisville Ekstrom Library Special Collections - - photographic archives, digital collections (African-American, music, advertisements, postcards, photos, bookplates, maps, theses and dissertations, and more)

University of Louisville University Archives and Records Center - - digital collections (see description above), university history, online finding aids and subject guides, oral history center

Western Kentucky University Kentucky Library and Museum Online - - Civil War materials, quilts, arrowheads, paintings, diaries, furniture, letters, genealogy, clothing, maps, photos, postcards, oral histories, greeting cards, newspapers, land grants, campaign buttons, folk songs, scrapbooks, sheet music, toys and games, photograph record


Boyd County Public Library Genealogy Databases - - indexes for obituaries, cemeteries, marriage records, and surname files

Carriage Museum of America - - history, photos, descriptions, and more!

Daviess County Public Library Kentucky Room - - obituary index

Filson Historical Society - - while there is not an online collection per se, there are enough scanned images from various photo, postcard, manuscript, and scrapbook collections to make this site interesting and worth visiting. Finding aids are also available online; additionally, the current newsletter is online.

Henderson County Public Library Obituary Finder - - 1972 to present; 1972 and 1973 are being added

Jefferson County Public Schools Archives and Records Center - - school history, historic photos, reunions and alumni

Kenton County Public Library Genealogy and Local History - - digital library (atlases, journal, biography), family and local history files (cemetery, census, church, city directories, court, general, hospital, military, organizations, school, slave schedules, vital statistics), biographies, historical societies, National Historic Register, Northern Kentucky Heritage Magazine

Lexington Cemetery Genealogical Research - - this searchable index lists birth and death dates where known, as well as burial or cremation dates, disposition or cremation numbers, funeral directors, and interment location by section, lot, part, and grave

Lexington Public Library Kentucky Room - - Local History Index, lists of genealogical resources (many links are broken; you must use the site's search engine), postcard collection, Woman's Club of Central Kentucky Slides, funeral notices collection, Fayette County Cemeteries Index

Louisville Free Public Library History Resources - - while this list does not include online data, it is a very nice finding aid for Louisville and Cincinnati (Ohio) area genealogical and historical resources

Mammoth Cave National Park Cemetery Database -


Friday, May 07, 2010

Funeral Card Friday: Catherine Josephine (DeVRIES) GEBBEN

Funeral program of Catherine Gebben, Grand Rapids, Michigan, citing death on 12 February 2002; DeVries Family Papers, digitized and privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. 2010.

Catherine Josephine (DeVRIES) GEBBEN was the only sister of my maternal (step) grandfather, Adrian DeVRIES. I've been highlighting the DeVRIES family's funeral cards every Friday for some time, now. Her card is, like her brother Adrian's, more of a mini-biography. I have two special memories of my Grand-aunt Catherine. One was visiting her and Uncle Clarence during the Christmas season of 1978 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While at Aunt Catherine's house, I enjoyed looking at her many books of Norman Rockwell paintings and magazine covers. The other special memory is that she knitted a beautiful baby sweater, cap, and bootie set and sent it to me when I was pregnant with my first child (20 years ago!).

Thanks to Dee Akard Welborn for this great Friday theme! Dee encourages others to highlight their funeral card collection on the first Friday of each month. Since I have so many, I've decided to highlight mine every Friday.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Historical Newspapers for Free on Footnote During May

I just received an announcement from During the month of May all the historical newspapers on will be open to the public. A free registration is needed to view the images.

To access the newspaper collections visit

On Footnote you will find newspapers ranging from small towns to major cities and dating back to the 1700’s. Whether a historian or a genealogist, historical newspapers are one of the best resources that provide a unique window into the past.

52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases: Kansas

This is the 17th post in a weekly series of Online American Digital Archives and Databases found for free at state, county, municipal, college and university history, library, and archive websites, as well as public and private library and museum sites, and historical and genealogical society sites.

Kansas State Historical Society - - in collaboration with the State Archives; photos, podcasts, documents, exhibits, publications, trading cards and bookmarks featuring famous Kansans, videos, historic sites, and more. Look under the Genealogists section for information and databases  which include vital records, census, newspapers, military records, individuals (death notices and more), directories, land records, and local government records.

Midwest Historical and Genealogical Library - - within the lists of finding aids, you'll discover links to online resources, including directories, scrapbooks and obituaries, Sedgwick County marriage affidavits (1879-1922), and a few state reference books

Western Trails Project - - "The two-year project, called 'Western Trails,' aided in the creation of digital copies of source materials related to the historic western migration of the U.S. population, whether on foot, by horse-drawn conveyance, by rail, or by highway." It is a collaboration of five Kansas institutions, and state agencies in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming are also taking part.


Bethel College Mennonite Library and Archives - - includes indexes to obituaries and census records, scanned archival records and images, and bibliographies

Emporia State University Libraries and Archives - - scroll to the bottom of the page to access the May Massee (art) and Walter M. Andersen (photograph) collections, as well as online resources on the history of Emporia and the surrounding area

Fort Hays State University Forsyth Library Digital Collections - - master's thesis collection, Benjamin Franklin letters, pictorial history of college, Kansas Heritage Project (history of each county), plus collaborative projects with the Stafford County Historical Museum Society, the Digital Repository of Space Exploration, the Sternberg Museum Digital Collection, and the Collyer Community Alliance

Friends University Special Collections - - 135 Quaker photographs of a collection categorized into Academies, Families, Meetings and Ministers, and Missions

Kansas State University Libraries Morse Department of Special Collections - - a few rare books and some manuscripts from the university archives are available in this small online collection

University of Kansas Digital Initiatives - - includes image collections featuring university architecture, art, and history; Robert J. Dole Archive; Florence Nightingale Letters; Kansas City aerial photos; also includes Territorial Kansas Online (a virtual repository for Territorial Kansas History); Kansas railway history (1860-1890), and much more

Wichita State University Special Collections - - photos, rare books, local history, maps, manuscripts (diaries, company records, correspondence and other materials), and university archives (catalogs, photos, student newspapers, and yearbooks)


Atchison Public Library County Online Cemetery Files -

Central Kansas Library System Genealogy Resources - - cemetery records, obituary indexes, and links to other resources

City of Chanute Cemetery records -

City of Salina Gypsum Hill Cemetery Records -

Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum - - includes a family tree, timelines, online documents, quotes, residences, and more

Franklin County Genealogical Society Genealogical Indexes - - marriages, cemeteries, probates, divorces, surname index, postmasters and elected officials, births, first families, ancestor charts, landowners' maps, naturalizations, federal pensioners (1883), military, obituary indexes, school records, tax lists, and more

JoCoHistory (Johnson County History) - - check out People for historical biographies and biographical articles from the quarterly newsletter of the Johnson County Museum. Cities and Towns give you photos, historic sites, and history about locations. Organizations features businesses, social and civic groups, government agencies, schools, and sports teams.

Johnson County District Court Public Records -

Kansas City Public Library Kansas Collection - - exhibits, photos, links to Kansas history and genealogy sites

Kansas City Public Library Missouri Valley Special Collections Digital Gallery - - Digital images of Art, Architecture (includes postcards), Culture and Society, Kansas City, Maps (includes Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps), and People; also a Local History Index

Kinsley Library Links for Edwards County Genealogy and Local History Research - - burial file, cemeteries, church records, images, newspaper name index, school and vital records

McPherson Public Library Obituary Index - - 1872 to present

Miami County Genealogy Records - - indexes to births deaths and marriages from 1885 to 1911

Osage County District Court - - marriage and probate records indexes

Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library - - local newspaper and obituary indexes

Wichita Genealogical Society Databases - - directories (farmers' and negro); mortuary ledgers

Wyandotte County Historical Museum Trowbridge Research Library - - cemetery records