Handbook of Texas Online
If you have Texas kin, this encyclopedia from the Texas State Historical Association and the University of Texas is a good starting point. The Handbook of Texas Online is a searchable collection of more than 23,000 articles on Texas history, people, places and culture. Search the handbook using one or more keywords, or try the more advanced search form.
Illinois State Archives Online Databases
Prairie State roots researchers have a vast expanse of online genealogy data, thanks to the Illinois State Archives. Search for public-domain land sales; servitude and emancipation records; veterans of the Black Hawk War, War of 1812, Winnebago War, Mexican War, Civil War and Spanish American War; and residents of the Soldiers and Sailor’s Rest Home. You can also access the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1793-1900, a joint project of the archives and the state genealogical society.
Kentucky Vital Records Index
The University of Kentucky has created a free, searchable index to the state’s vital statistics. The database covers deaths between 1911 and 1992 and marriages and divorces from 1973 to 1993. Look for your relative by name, or in the case of the death index, by place of death or residence. Once you’ve found a name in the index, you can order the complete record from the Kentucky Department of Health Statistics in Frankfort.
Library of Michigan 1870 Census Index
You can search this index to the 1870 Michigan federal census by last name, first name (or use wildcards), county and township. The site’s best feature: With the results, you get a link to a scanned image of the actual census page in PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader) format. (Download the Reader free at www.adobe.com/support/downloads.)
Library of Virginia Digital Library Program
Good news for Southern researchers: Thanks to the Library of Virginia’s Digital Library Program, you can search through 2.2 million original documents, photographs and maps. Records include wills, military service, death indexes, family Bibles and land and court records. Each of the 80 databases has a detailed help section, with search tips and information on ordering copies of the documents. Don’t miss the photo collections—they hold hundreds of images of individuals, businesses, churches and school groups.
Maine Memory Network
If your ancestors settled the Pine Tree State, check out this database of Maine’s Historical Documents. The collection includes historical maps, photos, diaries and letters. You can search the electronic documents by keyword, theme, people, events or collections.
Minnesota Death Index
The Minnesota Historical Society has indexed the state’s death certificates from 1908 through 1955. Perform searches by name and year and county of death; if you’re unsure of the surname spelling, choose the Soundex option. You can opt to be notified of database updates. While you’re here, stop by the society’s Visual Resource Database www.mnhs.org/library/search/vrdb/bsearch.html (or select Photo Collection from the home page’s pull-down menu) to view photos, art and posters from Minnesota’s past.
Pennsylvania Digital Archives
The Pennsylvania State Archives has placed a collection of historical records online that focuses on the state’s servicemen. Find your ancestor’s stint through World War I Service Medal Application Cards, Spanish-American War Veterans Cards and Revolutionary War Military Abstract Cards. Each set of cards is organized alphabetically by surname; individual cards may include place of residence, birth date and place, and service details.
Western States Historical Marriage Record Index
Researchers with roots out West are blessed with a union of 270,000-plus marriage records. So far, nearly all Arizona, Idaho and Nevada marriages before 1900 have been indexed; many Idaho and Utah counties’ entries stretch into the 1930s and beyond. You can also search (by bride or groom) marriages from southwestern Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and selected counties in California, with more marriages added daily.