State archives, county historical societies, libraries and other organizations across the country are preserving the history of ordinary people in free online collections of photos, letters, stories and historical documents.
You might find something about a relative in one of these collections. Youll almost certainly get a good picture of your ancestor’s life. Here’s a sampling of digital memory sites (I had to stop myself from spending all day surfing for more!) followed by tips on finding a collection relevant to your family:
- Allen County Community Album: Images at this Allen County Public Library-hosted site portray people and places in Northeastern Indiana. The librarys well-known Genealogy Center also has an Our Military Heritage site with records and photos from researchers across the country.
- Arizona Memory Project: Collections come from the Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Arizona Jewish Historical Society, state archives, City of Glendale, Gila County and others.
- Documenting Arkansas: This site’s content relates to the Civil War, 1927 Mississippi River flood and other events.
- Dominion Institute Memory Project: See 85-plus years of military history through first-hand accounts, photos and artifacts from veterans across Canada.
- Greater Cincinnati Memory Project: This site from my hometown shows you historical photos of schools, churches, homes, city scenes, people and special events.
- Maine Memory Network: More than 200 organizations have contributed materials to this site, which also supports similar projects for Maine communities such as Bath and Isleboro.
- Montana Memory Project: Cattle brand books, the Fergus County Heritage Book and Rocky Mountain College yearbooks are a few of the resources you’ll find here.
- Terrace Park, Ohio, Building Survey: A local genealogist maintains this site on the history of buildings in an Ohio neighborhood. It has photos, deeds, census and land records, residents’ names and more.
- The Valley of the Shadow: Censuses, church records, letters, diaries and newspaper articles detail life in two communitiesFranklin County, Pa., in the North and Augusta County, Va., in the Southbefore, during and after the Civil War.
To find collections related to your ancestors lives, look for links to a memory project or digital archive on Web sites for the state archives, local libraries or local historical society. Many projects are listed on Cyndi’s List country, state and local pages; as well as USGenWeb state and county pages.
Also try running a Google search on digital history or memory project plus the town, county or state name, or a topic such as Civil War or pioneer.
Click Comments below to share a link to your favorite digital memory project.