Best Websites for Midwest US Genealogy in 2013

By David A. Fryxell Premium


Allen County Public Library
How does a humble county library make our list? By being second only to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in its genealogy collection. Although especially rich in Indiana resources, this Fort Wayne institution also has broader databases of family histories, surnames, military records and family Bibles.

Cook County, Illinois, Vital Records
The $15 to $17 this site charges to download Chicago-area birth, marriage and death records is still cheaper than a plane ticket to O’Hare. And even though privacy restrictions limit birth certificates to 75 years or older, marriage records to 50 years or older and deaths to 20 years or older, each category still numbers 1 million-plus records.

CyberDrive Illinois
This Illinois State Archives site continues to unlock the riches of the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories system, telling you where to find nearly every scrap of the state’s past. That includes an index to more than a half-million land sales, which you can then look up on digitized plat maps. Other databases cover military records, marriages and deaths.

Minnesota Historical Society
This site offers almost as many genealogy resources as Minnesota has lakes. Start with birth records (1900-1934, plus selected earlier records), death cards and certificates (1904-2001), an index of veterans’ burials, and state censuses (1865, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905). Then dive into a guide to place names, old photos, and building and house histories.

Missouri Digital Heritage
Drawing on collections of the Missouri State Archives, the Missouri State Library and other institutions, this site makes available more than 6.8 million records. Offerings range from old postcards to military and naturalization paperwork to digitized death certificates (1910-1962).

My Genealogy Hound
This new, free website from Hearthstone Legacy Publications lets you access thousands of biographies extracted from pre-1900 county history books, plus old county maps. The initial focus is on Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, with maps also from Oklahoma and Texas.

Newberry Library
Already a favorite, wherever your ancestors lived, for its Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, this site has beefed up its Chicago-area offerings. New here are full-text searchable PDFs of volumes 1 to 39 (1969-2007) of the Chicago Genealogist.

Ohio Historical Society
Use the Quick Links dropdown menu in the upper right to get to the good stuff at this resource-rich site, including War of 1812 rosters, an index to death certificates (1913-1944), and an index to records from Ohio’s boys and girls Industrial Schools (1858-1944).

Oklahoma Historical Society
A new 1889 Oklahoma County Land Database and Map and the 1933 Unemployment Relief Census add to what was already a super Sooner site. Along with resources for American Indian ancestors, explore the 1890 territorial census, 1901 Land Lottery participants (partial), an obituary index and the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.

Seeking Michigan
The 1884 and 1894 state censuses are new at this handsome site, joining death certificates (1897-1920), Civil War service records, naturalization records and more.

Wisconsin Historical Society
A whole new website design (in beta when we last checked) may be ready by the time you read this. Underneath the hood will be the same great Dairy State databases, including pre-1907 vital records, Civil War files and the Wisconsin Genealogy Index to 150,000 obituaries and biographical sketches.

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