Best Southern US Genealogy Websites in 2013

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Typical of the buried treasure about African-American ancestors you can unearth here is a newly added database of Camden County, Ga., deeds (1786-1881), a complete abstraction of deeds, as well as runaway slave and estate sale ads. A slick search engine makes it easy to explore the site’s family history fodder, much of which is user-generated.

Alabama Mosaic
A single search combs this digitized historical collection from more than 20 Alabama archives, libraries, museums and other repositories. Finds range from old receipts and letters to photos of Alabama officials, football teams and teachers.

Digital Library of Georgia
Colonial wills, Confederate records, historical photos and a New Georgia Encyclopedia are among the million digital objects here, in more than 200 collections from 60 institutions and 100 government agencies. Recently added newspapers, bringing the South Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive to more than 141,000 images spanning 1845 to 1922.
Digital Library on American Slavery
Here, descendants of slaves and slaveowners alike can learn more about this tragic period of America’s past. The core of the collection comes from petitions to legislatures and country courts filed between 1775 and 1867 in the 15 slaveholding states and the District of Columbia. The information—much of it unavailable elsewhere—covers about 80,000 slaves, 8,000 free people of color and 62,000 whites.

Florida Memory Project
Check out the Works Progress Administration (WPA) collection of church records, Confederate pension applications, Spanish land grants and WWI service cards that are among the more than 356,000 individual records here. Video and audio collections now supplement the 175,000 digitized photos that capture Florida back when.

Louisiana State Archives
Both the Louisiana Death Records Index and the Orleans parishes birth index let you click to order certified copies for a small fee. You’ll also find ships’ manifests, Confederate pension applications, a marriage index and a searchable archive of audio and video.

North Carolina State Archives
Click around this site (don’t miss the Online Projects link) for Bible records, 3,000-plus historic maps, and indexes of marriage and death announcements appearing in five North Carolina newspapers (1799-1893). The MARS catalog leads you to resources at the archives in Raleigh, the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo and the Western Regional Archives in Asheville.

Portal to Texas History
This new University of North Texas site is a gateway to Texas history materials, spanning 3.4 million (and growing) files of everything from early newspapers to college yearbooks.

South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Tucked away under the Online Research link are indexes and images including Confederate veterans’ records, wills, court paperwork and land-grant plats.

Virginia Memory
A collection with substitutes for lost records (such as those burned in courthouse fires) from Virginia localities is new at this Library of Virginia site. It was already packed with digital treasures, including an index to Confederate Veteran magazine (not just Virginians), family Bibles, Revolutionary War land bounties, Civil War pension rolls and disability applications, and WWI veterans questionnaires.