Genealogy website MyHeritage launched a Compilation of Published Sources collection, containing 150,000 digitized, keyword-searchable genealogy and history books published over the past four centuries. Even better, you can search the collection and view your search results for free.
Books include city directories, government publications, periodicals, association newsletters and others.
I initially thought they might be from the FamilySearch Books digitized collection, but that’s not the case. “The collection does not come from FamilySearch, Mocavo or any other,” MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz said when I asked.
Instead, the collection is sourced from various published texts that are copyright-free. A team of curators examines each digitized book for relevance to family history research, and enhances its metadata if they decide to include it.
Here’s a search I ran for my Depenbrock family, who lived in and around Cincinnati.
It’s a relatively unusual last name, so I didn’t add a first name. If you’re looking for someone with a more-common name, you could search for a first and last name, plus a keyword such as a town, street or employer.
Because a book mentioning an Ohio ancestor might have been published elsewhere, I left the Publication Place “Match Optional.” That means matches in books published in Ohio will be ranked higher in my search results than books published elsewhere.
Results show the publication title and year, and the portion of text containing the name. Click on a title to see the page. Looks like my third-great-uncle George Depenbrock was a justice of the peace in Colerain Township, serving a term that expired Jan. 3, 1907:
Below the image is a detailed description of the publication—in this case, Ohio: The Federal, State, County Officers and Departmental Information, 1903, vol. 1903-05, published in 1911 by the Ohio Secretary of State in Columbus, and contributed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Note that the search does pick up first and last names that both appear on a page, but don’t necessarily belong to the same person, as in this result for my search for Edward Norris:
If you click the full screen button above the page image, you’ll get a Download icon you can click to download the record to your computer. You also can register for a free or a premium MyHeritage account and create a family tree, then attach the record to that person in your tree.