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Genealogy This Week - 15 August 2009


Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists:

Google Creates a Serious Newspaper Archive - Google quietly announced this week that they have quadrupled the number of indexed newspaper articles in their newspaper archive. This puts the size of their archive at over 4 million articles from newspapers around the world. Google provides free access to their entire newspaper archive. This is big news for genealogists even though the rest of the online genealogy community seems to have largely missed it. Another good free newspaper archive is the US Library of Congress archive called Chronicling America, which is a 1 million article archive of US newspapers from 1880 to 1922. Genealogists finally have access to large, geographically diverse newspaper archives that are free alternatives to the pay-per-view newspaper archive sites. [Link to Google Newspaper Archive] [Link to US Library of Congress Newspaper Archive]

US Library of Congress Genealogy Reading Room - The US Library of Congress has an excellent genealogy website and central portal that contains a wealth of genealogy resources. Well worth checking out. [Link]

US National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections - In spite of its funny name, this is another excellent US Library of Congress website that can be very useful to genealogists. It provides a central gateway to free searching of various manuscript repositories scattered throughout the United States. This is a good place to start for manuscript searches in the US. [Link]

US Federal Depository Libraries - This is another major gateway for genealogy searches in the US. This website provides links to all the federal depository libraries throughout the US. A good place to start if you are looking for genealogy information that may be held by a branch of the US government (such as census information and local census maps, military personnel records, veteran gravesite locations, etc.). [Link]

Last Name Distribution Heat Maps - This interesting website allows a genealogist to type in any last name and it will provide a last name distribution heat map by US state. It also provides some interesting statistics on the last name including common variations. If you scroll farther down the page, it will provide links for last name geographic distributions for Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. This website is based on last name listings in public telephone books, which is becoming less reliable with the prevalence of unlisted cellular phone numbers. Still, it could be helpful when searching for a living relative. [Link]

Google Reader Allows You to Share Content - Google Reader is very popular with our readers. Google has just added some new features to Google Reader that allow you to share content with friends. This is one small step that Google is making to become more like Facebook. See the article for more details. [Link]

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