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Portal to the Past
7/31/2014
American Memory whisks you away to yesterday.
The ultimate genealogy time machine isn't some contraption out of a sci-fi novel, but it does come from library shelves. It's the Library of Congress' (LOG) American Memory Web site <memory.loc.gov>.

Just a few clicks on this free site can transport you back to your ancestors' day. American Memory brims with primary sources of US history and culture — the books your forebears read, firsthand accounts of their daily activities, their maps, their music, their clothes. Part of the LOC's National Digital Library Program, it consists of 7 million digitized materials from 100-plus historical collections and collaborations with other American libraries.

How can you best use this resource in your research? To dig out those fascinating details that let you spend an afternoon in your ancestor's shoes. Understand their gold fever by reading A Yankee Trader in the Gold Rush, for instance. Or pore over a period map to get a better grasp of 18th-century migration patterns. Although you probably won't find your ancestors in this collection by name, you'll certainly find items relating to their life and times.

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