March 12th, 2013

More Free Genealogy Resources – Historical Books Online

Historical books are among the best free genealogy resources you can find online. During my genealogy research I have often found them to be extremely useful in filling in the blanks about my ancestors and the era and area in which they lived. Family and local histories especially reveal a wealth of information, and you may even find that your ancestors can be found in some of these publications. Even if you don’t locate your ancestor in them, they can help you to get a keen insight into how and where they lived. What’s more is that they are absolutely free genealogy resources!

During my research I have come across quite a few websites where you can access and read historical books online. The spirit of genealogy is growing, and thanks to countless, dedicated volunteers and generous donors, we have a wealth of wonderful online resources available to us. The following are some of the best websites I’ve discovered while researching my own family history. The best part is that all of them are free!

Internet Text Archive introduced us to the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is a search engine that allows you to search over 240 billion web pages that have been archived since 1996, right up until just a few months ago. This in itself is a valuable genealogical tool, as you can find web pages that are no longer published. Their collection of Texts includes millions of public domain books, local, town, and county histories, published books containing historical records, family histories, and a wealth of other publications on a variety of genealogy relevant material.

Our Roots

This website boasts a wealth of Canadian local histories. In fact, it bills itself as having the largest collection of these precious genealogy resources in the world. You can easily search areas related to their search by simply clicking on a map of Canada, and a list of resources for that area will be given you. I did a quick search for Ontarioand 24 pages were returned. They consisted of local histories, letters written by emigrants, ethnic histories, school records, and much more. A genuine goldmine of free genealogy resources!

Their Own Words

Here you can find over 50 books containing regimental histories, autobiographies, biographies, and military journals. Additionally there is a collection of letters, pamphlets, and diaries dating from the late eighteenth century to the early 1900’s. You have to search alphabetically by author, but a summation of what they have written is located beneath their name.

Hathi Trust Digital Library

The Hathi Trust is a partnership that includes a number of libraries and research institutes that are dedicated to preserving historical records. They pool their resources, the result being a massive collection preserved and made available to the public at no cost. There are thousands of digitized books of genealogical value, especially about local histories. Much of their collection was initially composed of content from Google Books, but they are continually publishing more and more books and other texts that are being digitized locally. You can download individual pages, and some full PDF documents are available for download from some of the partner institutions.

Historical books are really a very useful genealogy resource, especially if you are working on a project that involves in-depth historical research. They can educate you about historical trends, laws and statutes that might affect the records you need to consult, and in some cases even reveal personal information about your ancestor. The above are all completely free to use – no strings attached, the kind of free genealogy resources every genealogist loves, and the kind we like to share with you!