New Online Local History Collection Launches for Libraries

By Diane Haddad

A local history-focused genealogy database may be coming soon to a library near you.

Arcadia Publishing and the electronic publisher Alexander Street Press have launched a new site called Local and Regional History Online: A History of American Life in Images and Texts.

It’ll eventually contain more than a million photos, postcards and maps, plus stories of immigrants, laborers and newsmakers, from all over the United States and some parts of Canada. They’re from Arcadia’s 5,000 photo-rich local history books. Click here to see titles of books included so far.

If your library subscribes, you’ll be able to use Local and Regional History Online at the library or from home through the library’s Web site.

You can search texts for a name or other term, or search for a book title, author, place it’s about, subject, “featured” person, historical event, date range, organization name or ethnic group. You also can browse these categories.

I was lucky enough to try out the search. If you get to use the site, search for ancestors’ names, but also try names of churches, schools, parks, organizations, employers, neighborhoods, streets, ethnic groups, events and other topics.

This may be a glitch, but my search results didn’t link directly to the page with the match—instead, I was taken to the main page for the book with the matching term. Then I searched again to go to the right page.

Note that many Arcadia books are available for limited preview in Google Book Search, which is how I found this 1920s photo of my great-grandmother’s house in Bellevue, Ky.

Learn more about Local and Regional History Online here. Thanks to Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Sharon DeBartolo Carmack for this tip.