State Archives websites provide links to contributing institutions, and descriptions of the online and physical collections held at those institutions. These holdings might be publications, official records, collected papers, photographs, databases, etc.
I posted Book Review - Online State Resources for Genealogy E-Book, Version 2.0 yesterday, and in the process, I checked out the Online Archive of California (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/).
This site "provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses."
I chose to explore the Online Archive of California. Here is the home page:
There is a search box just below the Welcome statement above - I will use that later in this post.
The list of over 200 repositories is in the center box on the screen above. I scrolled down to see what they offered for San Diego. One of the repositories was my alma mater, San Diego State University:
There were a number of family paper collections on the list. I searched for "seaver," "carringer," and "genealogy" on the collection list page, but didn't find any matches. I did click on one collection to see what the description looked like:
Each collection has sections for Description, Background, Extent, Restrictions and Availability. There are links in the "Collection Guide" section for Online access (the one shown above is not online) and the website for the collection.
I also wanted to see what the Online Archive of California had for San Diego, so I put "san diego" into the Search box on the home page (there is a search box on every page), and saw:
There are 2,956 collections with "San Diego" in the title, and 13,421 items. The collections listed can be investigated to determine the holdings. The "Items" list is full of historic photographs - here is the first page of photographs for San Diego:
I figured that most of these were in San Diego area repositories, but a check of the list of Institutions (on the right on the screen above) shows that there are many items held in repositories outside of San Diego.
The point here is that every state has online archives similar to this one for California. Perhaps the biggest value of these archive websites is to help you decide what you want to research when you visit a given institution. I hope that my readers will search for them, then go and explore them!
This is kind of like the Forrest Gump box of chocolates - you never know what historical or genealogical gems you are going to find.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/08/tuesdays-tip-check-out-state-online.html
Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver