Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Check your State Archives, Libraries and Historical Societies

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to: Check the holdings - both online and in repositories - of the State Archive, State Library and State Historical Society where your ancestors resided.

Most researchers understand that "it isn't all on the Internet," and "it isn't all at the Family History Library," and "it isn't all at [insert your favorite repository here]". 

Just like the National Archives, which collects Federal records from all United States government agencies, State Archives collect records from state governments, and often from county or city governments withing the state.  State Libraries and Historical Societies collect items that pertain to their state and its inhabitants - like family history books, city and county books, maps, manuscripts, paper collections, etc.

Most State Archives, State Libraries and State Historical Societies have an online catalog to help researchers find holdings of interest.

You can search for the website of the state archive or state library or state historical society of interest using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo. etc.).  You can use the excellent list at http://www.ohiohistory.org/textonly/links/arch_hs.html to click to the state archive or historical society of interest.

As an example, the Maryland State Archives has a section devoted to "Family Historians."  On that web page, there are links for researchers to determine:

*  How to Obtain Copies of Records
*  What We Have
*  Beginner's Guide to Research
*  Guide to Family History Research
*  How to Find Specific Records (Guide to Government RecordsSpecial Collections LibraryMdlandrec.net Plats.netMDVitalrec.net Archives of Maryland)
*  Online Genealogy Workshops
*  Genealogy Topics

A Maryland researcher could spend hours going through these materials online, and if they have the opportunity, could spend days working at the State Archives finding unpublished material that is not available at any other repository.

Go forth and research at State Archives, State Libraries and State Historical Societies - you'll be glad that you did!

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant, with proper attribution. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Great tip, Randy! I've been doing a lot of this lately and have been pleasantly surprised with what I find. Also check State Genealogy Societies.