Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fifteen Favorites

James Tanner at Genealogy's Star listed his Top Ten Can't Miss Websites, focusing on non-Genealogy websites, but including archives that aren't specifically for genealogy. His rationale was that we as genealogy bloggers sometimes focus so much on discussing genealogy websites, we don't discuss other websites that are useful for other interests.

In that vein, I came up with two lists (neither of the lists are in any particular order):

Top Ten Archival Sites

1) The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is home to several useful databases.  The Wayback Machine has been archiving the internet since 1996.  Often you will find a link in an old blog post (or elsewhere) that no longer works, because the website has disappeared, or that particular page has been removed.  The page may exist on The Wayback Machine.

The Internet Archive also has several archives of text, audio, and video.

2) Making of America (Michigan) (Cornell)

"Making of America is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction."  It is a collaboration between University of Michigan and Cornell University, and each site has separate documents, so you need to search at both.

Cornell has 907,750 pages of material, and Michigan has 3,818,757.

3) Missouri Digital Heritage

There are several databases of use to genealogists, such as birth and death records, naturalization records, coroner records, and land records. However, the website has a lot more on it as well, including:
4) NewspaperArchive

A collection of over 2000 newspaper titles with archives going back to the 1600s. There is a subscription fee, which some might be able to avoid if their local library or genealogy society provides access.

5) ChroniclingAmerica

Another collection of newspapers, this is freely accessible as a product of the Library of Congress. Covers the years 1836-1922. It also contains a directory of US Newspapers from 1690-present, providing useful information on each, including libraries that have copies.

6) St. Louis Post Dispatch Historical Archive

Covering the years 1874-1922 this database is a product of ProQuest and can be accessed at some libraries, including the St. Louis County library and the St. Louis City library.

7) 19th Century US Newspapers

Another collection of newspapers, a product of Gale-Cengage, and also available at some libraries, including the St. Louis County library.  There are newspapers from all over the US in the collection. Local newspapers covered include the Daily Commercial Bulletin (1835-1838), Missouri Republican (1822-1888), St. Louis Enquirer (1819-1824), and St. Louis Globe Democrat (1875-1888)

8) The National Archives (NARA)

I don't think I need to provide much of a description. This is the website for the US Government National Archives and Records Administration.

9) Flickr (The Commons)

Flickr, the website many people use to upload and share photos, has a section they call The Commons. This section contains photographs contributed by a long list of libraries and archives around the world. All participating institutions are required to share only images with "No known copyright restrictions."

10) Google Books

While everyone is familiar with searching Google, not everyone is familiar with searching Google Books. I believe I use it most often to track down the real origins of quotes I see spread on the social networks.  I've collected some of these on my Pinterest boards of Misattributed Quotes, and Verified Quotes (with citations)

Top Five Websites - Non-Genealogy Non-Archives

1) Amazon

I know Amazon is responsible for the financial struggles of many local bookstores.  I also know technology has been changing the way society conducts business for over a century. We are now moving towards a world where we do most of our shopping online. That may mean less local bookstores. It doesn't mean the death of books.

I have purchased many things on Amazon: Books, Clothing, Computers.

2) Google News

This is how I get my news. I subscribe to only one local print newspaper, and it's a specialized weekly, not the local daily. I read news stories from many newspapers on the topics I have selected as my defaults, or those I search for specifically.

3) Google Maps

This is how I travel. (I recently updated my iPhone to OS 6.0.  But I can still use Google Maps, because I downloaded the Web App.)

4) Wikipedia

This is where I often begin my research on many topics. I was taught in school (I won't say how many years ago) that an encyclopedia is a great starting point for research, but it should never be the ending point. That advice still applies today, for Encyclopedia Britannica as well as for Wikipedia.  I have discussed Using Wikipedia for Research before.

5) Wikisource 

Wikisource is an online library of free content. The English language site currently contains 264,721 texts.

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