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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Apr 20, 2017

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

by Cynthia Carman

The internet has become the premier place for libraries to publish their catalogs and in many cases provide the printed, graphic, or index resource online. What a boost for the genealogist! Gone are the days of scouring through volumes of books for a reference to a book or other record about your family.

Genealogy Research Guides emphasize the importance of searching for your family in compiled records. Compiled records are pedigrees that have already been researched such as biographies and family histories. Now the reference to these family history resources can be searched online and often viewed online. If you find that someone has already researched your family tree and published it, you can save yourself a lot of time by using their research as clues to discover resources for your research.

Compiled Records, however, are only as good as the researcher. I agree with what the well known genealogy researcher and author Emily Croom has said about published family histories "...if you find a book that includes your family, use the information as clues for your research, do not accept without reservation what is given." In other words you will need to validate the data from the compiled source before adding it to your family records.

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

  1. FamilySearch.org presents a search of a collection of "more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees." These genealogy resources come from the following partner institutions:
    • Allen County Public Library
    • Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
    • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library
    • Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library
    • Brigham Young University Idaho David O. McKay Library
    • Church History Library
    • Family History Library
    • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    • Houston Public Library - Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
    • Mid-Continent Public Library - Midwest Genealogy Center
    • Onondaga County Public Library
    • University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
    Good search results can be achieved by using the surname as a search term and the word "family". Many of the book or periodical results at FamilySearch.org can be viewed immediately online but some will give the message, "You do not have sufficient rights to view the requested object". I believe one could have viewed them if one had been at one of the Latter-day Saint Family History centers.

    Another odd anomaly I found was that when a pdf book was made available for me to read, I could not use my browser "Find" command to search it. I had to click the download arrow and use the offline version of adobe reader to display and search it.

  2. Library of Congress "has more than 50,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories. The collections are especially strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources." At the Library of Congress website I was able to get the targeted results I was seeking by using my family surname and the word "family". When I needed to refine the search further I included a place name in the search. Clicking a result link will take you to a page which in some cases will contain a link to the electronic copy of the book or at other times just its "Table of Contents".
  3. WorldCat.org searches the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat.org lets you find an item of interest and then locate a library near you that owns it. Some of the printed items will display online, but most book references will only point you to the institution that is nearest you. These resources can often be ordered through inter-library loan so you can view them at your local library.
  4. You may have used the Archive.org "Wayback" machine to find web pages that have gone missing from the internet but did you know that their Internet Archive contains scanned copies of 11 million books and texts? These copies are free to view online or download for your personal use. Their conversion into text (OCR) is not the best but usually the title of the work is correct. Click the about tag to learn more about the website.

    Of course the millions of books aren't all family history books, so you will want to use their advanced search to find a family history book about your surname. For best results enter the surname for which you are searching into the title field with the word family. Then select the "Mediatype:" as "texts". Now click the blue "Search" button and the results may surprise you.

    Select a book from the results and click the "full screen view" arrows in the upper right screen and then you will be able to search the full text of the book. The search result will appear at the bottom of the page as yellow markers. If you hover over a yellow marker, the text that has been located that includes your search term will appear. You can click the yellow markers and the search will take you directly to the page in the book.

    Don't forget that county histories often contain a collection of biographies in which your ancestor may be named. Enter the name of the county with the word "county" in the title field and in the description field enter the word "history".

  5. Google Books has scanned and converted to text hundreds of thousands of books and are continuing to add more every day. Google Book Searches work just like a Google web search. When a book is found with content that contains a match for your search terms, Google will provide a link to that book in their search results.

    Once again I recommend using the surname for which you are searching and the word "family". If you still get too many hits, add the word "history" and perhaps a place name to the search. If the book is out of copyright (or the publisher has given Google permission) you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you will be able to download a PDF copy. Otherwise Google will provide links to "Buy this book" or "Borrow this book".

    To understand more about Google Books and what it can offer you may want to read their About Google Books page.

This list is only a sampling of websites that will help you find if there is a published book or biography about your ancestors. Another great source for finding targeted research resources would be genealogical societies. I would recommend joining a genealogical society for the area where your family lived or at the very least visit the library that is local to the family homestead.

Genealogical societies will often have publications for sale that might contain significant information about your ancestor. I have also seen online databases that are only available for members to search. Working together with society members can be rewarding both socially and genealogically.

Libraries usually have collections of local histories and genealogies that aren't found any other place. Each time I visit a town or city of my ancestral heritage I visit the closest library and ask about genealogy resources there. I have found several brick-wall-busters on those trips.

This article was about published family histories in book form. Other sources of published genealogies are the electronic databases that are searchable online. One in particular is www.MyTrees.com which has the largest collection of pedigree linked data on the web. The MyTrees Archive is currently 635 million names and is growing at the rate of 2 million names a month. You will want to search this resource often because of the constantly updated pedigrees that are being added.

Copyright © 2017-2018 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Apr 20, 2017

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

by Cynthia Carman

The internet has become the premier place for libraries to publish their catalogs and in many cases provide the printed, graphic, or index resource online. What a boost for the genealogist! Gone are the days of scouring through volumes of books for a reference to a book or other record about your family.

Genealogy Research Guides emphasize the importance of searching for your family in compiled records. Compiled records are pedigrees that have already been researched such as biographies and family histories. Now the reference to these family history resources can be searched online and often viewed online. If you find that someone has already researched your family tree and published it, you can save yourself a lot of time by using their research as clues to discover resources for your research.

Compiled Records, however, are only as good as the researcher. I agree with what the well known genealogy researcher and author Emily Croom has said about published family histories "...if you find a book that includes your family, use the information as clues for your research, do not accept without reservation what is given." In other words you will need to validate the data from the compiled source before adding it to your family records.

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

  1. FamilySearch.org presents a search of a collection of "more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees." These genealogy resources come from the following partner institutions:
    • Allen County Public Library
    • Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
    • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library
    • Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library
    • Brigham Young University Idaho David O. McKay Library
    • Church History Library
    • Family History Library
    • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    • Houston Public Library - Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
    • Mid-Continent Public Library - Midwest Genealogy Center
    • Onondaga County Public Library
    • University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
    Good search results can be achieved by using the surname as a search term and the word "family". Many of the book or periodical results at FamilySearch.org can be viewed immediately online but some will give the message, "You do not have sufficient rights to view the requested object". I believe one could have viewed them if one had been at one of the Latter-day Saint Family History centers.

    Another odd anomaly I found was that when a pdf book was made available for me to read, I could not use my browser "Find" command to search it. I had to click the download arrow and use the offline version of adobe reader to display and search it.

  2. Library of Congress "has more than 50,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories. The collections are especially strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources." At the Library of Congress website I was able to get the targeted results I was seeking by using my family surname and the word "family". When I needed to refine the search further I included a place name in the search. Clicking a result link will take you to a page which in some cases will contain a link to the electronic copy of the book or at other times just its "Table of Contents".
  3. WorldCat.org searches the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat.org lets you find an item of interest and then locate a library near you that owns it. Some of the printed items will display online, but most book references will only point you to the institution that is nearest you. These resources can often be ordered through inter-library loan so you can view them at your local library.
  4. You may have used the Archive.org "Wayback" machine to find web pages that have gone missing from the internet but did you know that their Internet Archive contains scanned copies of 11 million books and texts? These copies are free to view online or download for your personal use. Their conversion into text (OCR) is not the best but usually the title of the work is correct. Click the about tag to learn more about the website.

    Of course the millions of books aren't all family history books, so you will want to use their advanced search to find a family history book about your surname. For best results enter the surname for which you are searching into the title field with the word family. Then select the "Mediatype:" as "texts". Now click the blue "Search" button and the results may surprise you.

    Select a book from the results and click the "full screen view" arrows in the upper right screen and then you will be able to search the full text of the book. The search result will appear at the bottom of the page as yellow markers. If you hover over a yellow marker, the text that has been located that includes your search term will appear. You can click the yellow markers and the search will take you directly to the page in the book.

    Don't forget that county histories often contain a collection of biographies in which your ancestor may be named. Enter the name of the county with the word "county" in the title field and in the description field enter the word "history".

  5. Google Books has scanned and converted to text hundreds of thousands of books and are continuing to add more every day. Google Book Searches work just like a Google web search. When a book is found with content that contains a match for your search terms, Google will provide a link to that book in their search results.

    Once again I recommend using the surname for which you are searching and the word "family". If you still get too many hits, add the word "history" and perhaps a place name to the search. If the book is out of copyright (or the publisher has given Google permission) you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you will be able to download a PDF copy. Otherwise Google will provide links to "Buy this book" or "Borrow this book".

    To understand more about Google Books and what it can offer you may want to read their About Google Books page.

This list is only a sampling of websites that will help you find if there is a published book or biography about your ancestors. Another great source for finding targeted research resources would be genealogical societies. I would recommend joining a genealogical society for the area where your family lived or at the very least visit the library that is local to the family homestead.

Genealogical societies will often have publications for sale that might contain significant information about your ancestor. I have also seen online databases that are only available for members to search. Working together with society members can be rewarding both socially and genealogically.

Libraries usually have collections of local histories and genealogies that aren't found any other place. Each time I visit a town or city of my ancestral heritage I visit the closest library and ask about genealogy resources there. I have found several brick-wall-busters on those trips.

This article was about published family histories in book form. Other sources of published genealogies are the electronic databases that are searchable online. One in particular is www.MyTrees.com which has the largest collection of pedigree linked data on the web. The MyTrees Archive is currently 635 million names and is growing at the rate of 2 million names a month. You will want to search this resource often because of the constantly updated pedigrees that are being added.

Copyright © 2017-2018 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Apr 20, 2017

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

by Cynthia Carman

The internet has become the premier place for libraries to publish their catalogs and in many cases provide the printed, graphic, or index resource online. What a boost for the genealogist! Gone are the days of scouring through volumes of books for a reference to a book or other record about your family.

Genealogy Research Guides emphasize the importance of searching for your family in compiled records. Compiled records are pedigrees that have already been researched such as biographies and family histories. Now the reference to these family history resources can be searched online and often viewed online. If you find that someone has already researched your family tree and published it, you can save yourself a lot of time by using their research as clues to discover resources for your research.

Compiled Records, however, are only as good as the researcher. I agree with what the well known genealogy researcher and author Emily Croom has said about published family histories "...if you find a book that includes your family, use the information as clues for your research, do not accept without reservation what is given." In other words you will need to validate the data from the compiled source before adding it to your family records.

Top 5 Online Places to Find a Published Family History

  1. FamilySearch.org presents a search of a collection of "more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees." These genealogy resources come from the following partner institutions:
    • Allen County Public Library
    • Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
    • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library
    • Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library
    • Brigham Young University Idaho David O. McKay Library
    • Church History Library
    • Family History Library
    • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    • Houston Public Library - Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
    • Mid-Continent Public Library - Midwest Genealogy Center
    • Onondaga County Public Library
    • University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
    Good search results can be achieved by using the surname as a search term and the word "family". Many of the book or periodical results at FamilySearch.org can be viewed immediately online but some will give the message, "You do not have sufficient rights to view the requested object". I believe one could have viewed them if one had been at one of the Latter-day Saint Family History centers.

    Another odd anomaly I found was that when a pdf book was made available for me to read, I could not use my browser "Find" command to search it. I had to click the download arrow and use the offline version of adobe reader to display and search it.

  2. Library of Congress "has more than 50,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories. The collections are especially strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources." At the Library of Congress website I was able to get the targeted results I was seeking by using my family surname and the word "family". When I needed to refine the search further I included a place name in the search. Clicking a result link will take you to a page which in some cases will contain a link to the electronic copy of the book or at other times just its "Table of Contents".
  3. WorldCat.org searches the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat.org lets you find an item of interest and then locate a library near you that owns it. Some of the printed items will display online, but most book references will only point you to the institution that is nearest you. These resources can often be ordered through inter-library loan so you can view them at your local library.
  4. You may have used the Archive.org "Wayback" machine to find web pages that have gone missing from the internet but did you know that their Internet Archive contains scanned copies of 11 million books and texts? These copies are free to view online or download for your personal use. Their conversion into text (OCR) is not the best but usually the title of the work is correct. Click the about tag to learn more about the website.

    Of course the millions of books aren't all family history books, so you will want to use their advanced search to find a family history book about your surname. For best results enter the surname for which you are searching into the title field with the word family. Then select the "Mediatype:" as "texts". Now click the blue "Search" button and the results may surprise you.

    Select a book from the results and click the "full screen view" arrows in the upper right screen and then you will be able to search the full text of the book. The search result will appear at the bottom of the page as yellow markers. If you hover over a yellow marker, the text that has been located that includes your search term will appear. You can click the yellow markers and the search will take you directly to the page in the book.

    Don't forget that county histories often contain a collection of biographies in which your ancestor may be named. Enter the name of the county with the word "county" in the title field and in the description field enter the word "history".

  5. Google Books has scanned and converted to text hundreds of thousands of books and are continuing to add more every day. Google Book Searches work just like a Google web search. When a book is found with content that contains a match for your search terms, Google will provide a link to that book in their search results.

    Once again I recommend using the surname for which you are searching and the word "family". If you still get too many hits, add the word "history" and perhaps a place name to the search. If the book is out of copyright (or the publisher has given Google permission) you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you will be able to download a PDF copy. Otherwise Google will provide links to "Buy this book" or "Borrow this book".

    To understand more about Google Books and what it can offer you may want to read their About Google Books page.

This list is only a sampling of websites that will help you find if there is a published book or biography about your ancestors. Another great source for finding targeted research resources would be genealogical societies. I would recommend joining a genealogical society for the area where your family lived or at the very least visit the library that is local to the family homestead.

Genealogical societies will often have publications for sale that might contain significant information about your ancestor. I have also seen online databases that are only available for members to search. Working together with society members can be rewarding both socially and genealogically.

Libraries usually have collections of local histories and genealogies that aren't found any other place. Each time I visit a town or city of my ancestral heritage I visit the closest library and ask about genealogy resources there. I have found several brick-wall-busters on those trips.

This article was about published family histories in book form. Other sources of published genealogies are the electronic databases that are searchable online. One in particular is www.MyTrees.com which has the largest collection of pedigree linked data on the web. The MyTrees Archive is currently 635 million names and is growing at the rate of 2 million names a month. You will want to search this resource often because of the constantly updated pedigrees that are being added.

Copyright © 2017-2018 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

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