Fine Print: Published Sources

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Perhaps you want to look up your great-grandfather’s work address, or see if April showers rained out Great-aunt Martha’s 1906 garden club luncheon. All this (and more) is possible if you take advantage of sources such as newspapers, city and business directories, local histories, organization newsletters and genealogical journals.

You’ll find fewer published sources online than, say, census and vital records. Still, we’ve ferreted out sites with full-text newspaper articles, historical reference material and local history books. Other resources we’ve listed will help you locate the books, journals and other publications you need in public libraries, historical society offices, small genealogical publishers’ storage rooms and even on other people’s bookshelves. When you do get your hands on the information you need, you’ll hang onto every word.
Research Tip: The historical or genealogical society in your ancestral town, county or state should be your first stop for that hard-to-find local history, pioneer diary or compilation of gravestone transcriptions. Such organizations often publish, sell or lend out local history books.

Web Sites

Access World News

<>: Available at subscribing libraries, this archive offers articles from 1,000-plus US and international newspapers.

Accessible Archives $

<>: Find Pennsylvania Gazette article transcriptions (1728 to 1800), along with African-American and Civil War-era newspapers. Access with a subscription, or get free access in some libraries.

Advance Genealogy Books

< books>: This site, affiliated with behemoth bookseller <>, lists more than 11,000 family history titles. $

< >: The American Genealogical-Biographical Index, with millions of names from printed genealogical sources and family histories, is part of the US subscription. acquired the bulk of its digitized texts from HeritageQuest Online’s Genealogy & Local History Collection, but has added hundreds more titles. You also get fully searchable images of US, Canadian and UK newspapers dating back to the 1700s, and a host of city directories.

<>: Look through digitized pages of the past, ranging from essays by Benjamin Franklin to Fannie Farmer’s cookbook.

Books We Own

<∼bwo>: If someone on this site owns a resource you need, you can request a free lookup — you pay only photocopying and postage costs.

Colorado’s Historic Newspaper Collection

<>: This statewide database includes text and graphics from dozens of newspapers dating from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s.

Cyndi’s List — Books

<>:Looking for a history of the Whatsit family in East Podunk, Neb.? If it’s in print, one of the small publishers and suppliers listed here probably has it.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

<>: Access the 14 printed volumes to date, covering people who died between 1000 and 1930, and a selection of biographies from unprinted volumes. You can search all biographies by keyword and some by a profession or geographic region.

Digital Library of Georgia

<>: Explore Georgia’s history in photos, old books, American Indian documents (1730 to 1842) and three newspapers: the Cherokee Phoenix, Dublin Post and Colored Tribune.


<>: Don’t overlook this massive auction Web site as a source of used family history books and CDs. Try searching on the common misspelling geneology, too.

Family History Library Catalog

< /eng/ library / fhlc /frameset_fhlc.asp>: The Salt Lake City-based genealogical mecca lets you search its catalog several different ways — we suggest trying them all. You can borrow microfilm and some books through a branch Family History Center (click on Family History Centers to find one near you). If the book you need doesn’t circulate, see if your public library has it.

Genealogical Periodical Annual Index: Vol. 39

< newsletter/gpai2000.pdf>: Get free access to the 2000 edition of this annual index to surnames, places, topics and book reviews in English-language genealogy periodicals. (Other years’ indexes are available in print.) Family and Local Histories $

<>: Receive at-home access to the publications in HeritageQuest Online’s Genealogy & Local History Collection. These titles cover towns and families from all US states, Canada and the British Isles since the 1700s. Genealogy Library Collection $

<>: Place your family in historical context with this collection of published US resources, including family histories and newspaper articles.

Godfrey Memorial Library $

<>: In addition to other genealogy offerings, members get access to a 400-plus newspaper database, 19th-century African American papers, the New York Times (1851 to 2001) and other major cities’ papers.

HeritageQuest Online

<>: If your local library or genealogical society subscribes to HeritageQuest Online, you can access its data offerings for free. HeritageQuest Online offers a digital version of the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), which lets you search 1.6 million citations of genealogy and local history articles published since 1800. You also get the searchable Genealogy & Local History Collection of 25,000-plus family and local history books.


<>: Looking for a library in your ancestral hometown? Search or browse this index to 18,000 libraries worldwide, with some links to online catalogs.

Library of Congress American Memory Collection

<>: “America’s library” has a wealth of digitized documents, such as Stars and Stripes and other military newspapers, oral histories, photographs and maps.

Locate a Federal Depository Library

< libraries.html>: Search the federal publications catalog and find a depository near you. These libraries get copies of every US government publication — including all those National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) finding aids.

Making of America

<> and <>: These sister sites serve up searchable digitized 19th-century material. The University of Michigan version has 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles. The Cornell site has more than 250 monograph volumes and 100,000 journal articles.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections

<>: This database catalogs manuscripts and special collections at libraries across the country. The index references topics and personal, family, corporate and geographic names. Pre-1986 entries are available as printed volumes at many libraries.

New York Times Article Archive $

<>: Search the nation’s newspaper of record from September 1851 to December 1995. If you get a hit, you can buy the article in PDF format for $2.95. (You can get the same content via the Godfrey Memorial Library.) $

<>: This pay-per-viewsite lets you search more than 600 US newspapers, magazines and news wires. Five articles cost $14.95.

Newspaper Abstracts

<>: Search more than 15,500 pre-1923 abstracts and extracts on this volunteer-run site, or browse by country, state and county. $

<>: A $99.95annual subscription gets you access to more than 25 million pages from US, UK, Irish, Canadian, Danish, South African and Jamaican newspapers.

The Olden Times

<>: Browse or search 18th-through early 20th-century newspapers from the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia.

Online Archive of California

<>: Historical materials from all over the Golden State — more than 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to museums, historical societies and archives — come together here.

Paper of Record $

<>: Pay $99.99per year for keyword-searchable access to papers from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

Quincy (Ill.) Public Library Historical Newspaper Archive

<>: Look for Illinois ancestors in Quincy-area newspapers from 1835 through 1890.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

<>: Can’t borrow a faraway repository’s book via interlibrary loan? Ask one of these good-deed doers to copy and mail you the page you need in exchange for photocopying fees and postage.

The San Francisco Call Database: Index to Files 1869 to 1895

< sfci.html>:If your ancestor appears in this name index (birth and death information, if available, are included), you can order a copy of the article for $12 or see if your library has the newspaper on microfilm.

The Scotsman Digital Archive $

<>: This site offers the Scottish newspaper from 1817 to 1950. It’s free to search, but you’ll pay to view articles.


<>: So far, this site has digitized pages from newspapers in 16 states (plus Antigua), dating back as far as the 1800s. Registration is free but required to search or browse page images.

Toronto Star $

<>: Search articles from 1894 to 2002 for about $24 per month. A free trial lets you see 1945 papers for free.

Utah Digital Newspapers

<>: Read 1870s issues of the Salt Lake Tribune, plus 30 other Utah newspapers. You can browse by county, or search by a phrase or keyword, and see a scanned image of the article.

Books and CDs

Research Tip: What to do when the only library with the book you desperately need is across the country? Ask your local librarian whether the book is available through interlibrary loan. If so, he or she can request it for you.

A To Zax: A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists and Historians by Barbara Jean Evans (Hearthside Press)

American Genealogical-Biographical Index series CD (Genealogical Publishing Co.): Look for it in major libraries and on microfilm at the Family History Library.

The American Genealogist: Being a Catalogue of Family Histories … Published in America, from 1771 to Date [1900], 5th edition, by Joel Munsell’s Sons (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

A Bibliography of American County Histories compiled by P. William Filby (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

Biography and Genealogy Master Index CD (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

G.K. Hall Bibliographic Guide to North American History, annual series (G.K. Hall)

Genealogical Library Master Catalog CD set (

Genealogical and Local History Books in Print, 5th edition, 4 volumes, compiled and edited by Marian Hoffman (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

Genealogical Periodical Annual Index (Heritage Books)

Genealogies in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography, 5 volumes, edited by Marion Kaminkow (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

Guide to Newspaper Research by Wendy Uncapher (Origins)

Index to American Genealogies and to Genealogical Material Contained in All Works as Town Histories, County Histories, Local Histories, Historical Society Publications, Biographies, Historical Periodicals, and Kindred Works edited by Joel Munsell’s Sons (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

Index to Personal Names in the Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, 1959-1984 (Chadwyck-Healey)

National Genealogical Society Quarterly journal (National Genealogical Society)

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register quarterly journal (New England Historic Genealogical Society)

Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records edited by Kory L. Meyerink (Ancestry)

United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography, 5 volumes, edited by Jack Kaminkow (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

• Who’s Who in America and Who Was Who in America series (Marquis)
Image: Your ancestor might have written — or be mentioned in — a book like this memoir from the Digital Library of Georgia. Many state archives host similar online collections.

Genealogical Publishers

Here are some of the many publishers of family histories and records transcriptions. To find books on your ancestral locale, type the county or town name and terms such as genealogy book into Google <> or another search engine.

Brookhaven Press

Box 2287, La Crosse, WI 54602, (608) 781 0850, <>

Genealogical Publishing Co. and Clearfield Co.

3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211, (800) 296-6687, <>

Global Heritage Press

43 Main St. S., Campbellville, Ontario L0P 1B0, Canada, (800) 361-5168, <>

Heritage Books

65 E. Main St., Westminster, MD 21157, (800) 876-6103, <>

Higginson Book Co.

148 Washington St., Salem, MA 01970, (978) 745-7170, <>

Picton Press

Box 250, Rockport, ME 04856, (207) 236-6565, <>

S&N Genealogy

West Wing, Manor Farm, Chilmark, Salisbury SP3 5AF, UK, +44 (1722) 716121, <>
From the September 2005 Family Tree Sourcebook