Looking back at sites I’ve used for research in the past, I thought about USGenWeb Project. This site is a collection of states and their counties and maintained by volunteers. Each state and county vary in content. Let’s look.
In addition to being free to access and search, these state and county sites include wonderful pieces of trivia and local history that aren’t readily available on paid sites. You can find information about towns, old maps, postcards, landowners, lists of school records and old photos. I have found them helpful when researching an area of the United States that I’m not familiar with to help me understand the history and organization of the area.
When writing this blog, I thought I’d go back and look at Calumet County, Wisconsin. The easiest way to do this is to choose your state of interest and then I like to choose the county map view. You can also use the county list to find your location. Imagine my dismay when Calumet County information was no longer there, and they were looking for a volunteer. Yikes. What happened to all the data that was there? Well, I did some more digging and found an archive of this data here:
Wisconsin Archives, WIGenWeb Project, USGenWeb (usgwarchives.net)
USGenWeb Archives: Calumet County, Wisconsin (usgwarchives.net)
While this page had a few items, it wasn’t what I expected. I then chose Return to the
Calumet County WIGenWeb from this site and it took me to Calumet County WIGenweb Page (rootsweb.com) This was the site I was trying to reach. Wow. So, my advice is to not give up, often sites are archived. Do all the links work…no but you at least know that that information is available somewhere! You may need to follow a trail of links to see what is available.
Here is an example of another county, Roberts County, South Dakota that needs a volunteer but there is still great information available. sdgenweb.atwebpages.com/roberts/index.html
Look at these great photos from the past: Photos from the Past (atwebpages.com)
One thing to remember is that most of these sites haven’t been updated in many years. It doesn’t make these tidbits of data any less valuable. Will you find your ancestor listed? Probably not but you might have a better understanding of what the people and county was like.
I hope you take some time to explore USGenWeb. We need to be grateful to all the volunteers from 1996 and onward. It is well worth exploring. Enjoy!
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.