10 Best Web Sites for Local Searches

10 Best Web Sites for Local Searches

You can thank your lucky stars if your ancestors resided in the areas these Web sites cover.

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1719-1830
This Web site and its searchable database of 100,000 Louisiana slaves are the culmination of 15 years of research by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall.

Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
Read all about it in more than 477,000 digitized pages from 147 newspapers published in Colorado from 1859 to 1923.

Florida Memory Project
This state archives site is the next best thing to a Florida vacation: more than 154,000 digitized photographs, rare documents from Florida’s past, Spanish land grants, WWI service cards, Confederate pension applications, WPA stories, an extensive folklife collection, an interactive timeline and more—all without springing for sunscreen.

Illinois State Archives
Find your kin in the Land of Lincoln with a wealth of military records, a statewide marriage index (1763 to 1900) and two-part statewide death index (pre-1916 and 1916 to 1950). There’s also a guide to the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD), where you can learn locations of records not online here.

Missouri Digital Heritage
This collaboration between the state archives, library and historical society aims to bring digital collections from across Missouri into one place for easy access. It builds upon the stellar online offerings of the Missouri State Archives, which include 93,104 naturalization records (1816 to 1955), 35,000 land patents (1831 to 1969), more than 185,000 searchable pre-1910 birth and death records plus death certificates (1910 to 1957, linked to a digitized image of the original), and records of 576,000 Missourians who served in the military through World War I. Add photographic collections, historical newspapers and special collections, and you really have a Show Me State site worth showing off.

Nevada Census Online
Researchers fortunate enough to have Nevada ancestors can skip those pricey federal census sites. It’s all here for free—extant Nevada enumerations from 1860 through 1920, 310,000 entries in all.

Oregon State Archives
The main attractions here are the Oregon Historical County Records Guide, with maps, histories and record inventories for all 36 counties; the surname-searchable Oregon Historical Records Index; and the Provisional and Territorial Records Guide to the archives’ holdings.

Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique $
Drawn from Quebec parish records, this database includes more than 750,000 entries ranging from 1621 to 1850, most from before 1800. Searching is free, but you’ll have to pay to see full results, starting at about $20.

Washington State Digital Archives
Why did we recently rate Washington second only to Massachusetts among the best states for genealogy research? Click here to see a key reason: This massive digitization project boasts 80 million records, with almost 64 million of them searchable and many linked to images of the originals—birth, death and marriage records; censuses; military records; land records; naturalizations; and more.

Wisconsin Historical Society
A treasure trove for Badger State history of all kinds—including Civil War records, images and 150,000 names in biographical sketches, obituaries and newspaper articles—this site also lets you search 1 million births, 1 million marriages and 400,000 deaths, all pre-1907.

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