The Library of Congress
I am torn this week between working outside and digging into genealogy! With our lovely warm days in North Dakota coming to an end with the first week of Fall, I have a long list of outside projects to do. However, I did want to share information about a free site that is not utilized as much as it could be. Let’s look.
With all the subscription sites and the plethora of information available there, if you are like me, they become our “go to” places to research. A recent survey reminded me to look beyond these sites. The Library of Congress site contains a wide variety of materials digitally available to the family historian.
The Library of Congress site is organized so that you can search and find materials in a couple of different ways. On the main page you can see a search bar at the top of the screen. To fine-tune your search, you can choose what category you would like to search in. This long list includes categories such as maps, photos, newspapers and books are some that would interest a genealogist.
As an example, I choose Maps as the filter and search for Sanborn Maps. Once I have searched and received the results, I can filter them either further by using the categories on the left-hand side of the page. Categories: Dates, Locations, Part of [referencing collections], Subject, Language, Availability [online]. Using the Sanborn Map search, I filtered on location [North Dakota] and Date [1800-1899]. Once it filtered on those categories, I could see what North Dakota towns to choose and picked Wahpeton. Beautiful clear images of the Sanborn Maps for Wahpeton, ND across several years are a click away.
Another example is by filtering on photos and searching for North Dakota. You can see that by doing this, you can then choose a location category to look at a particular county. While you might not find your ancestor’s community you might find a neighboring town in that timeframe to help you picture what life might have been like at that time.
I also tried searching for genealogy under the filter of pictures. There are several prints and photos related to genealogy. Most are available for free use but when in doubt read the photo descriptor. Here is a genealogy chart that is free to download, print and use. I love the antique look.
Or perhaps you would like to explore more about historical people. Did you know that you can view the George Washington’s papers online? All at our fingertips.
As family historians, we can get in a rut, using the same sites and looking at the same data. It is good to try something different. Take some time to explore history and genealogy at the Library of Congress site. Have fun learning something new!
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With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.