Vicki’s note – article from Family Tree magazine. These will also be linked on the “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” Banner at the top of the Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library BLOG.
75 Best State Genealogy Websites
By Rick Crume
Tackle your United States genealogy with the 75 best state family history websites.
Digitized old records are beautiful for genealogists to behold. As US states increase their record digitization efforts, it’s become even harder to finalize our annual list of 75 Best State Genealogy websites.
In particular this year, you’ll see that state archives and libraries are creating more digital archives and “memory” websites with records and photos. Search for a Civil War soldier’s name in the Iowa Digital Library, and you might find his diary and letters. Or with a little luck, you might find relatives named in an unpublished genealogy in the South Carolina Digital Library.
All are free and informative, so explore every one that covers a state where your ancestors lived—from sea to shining sea.
Alabama Department of Archives and History
Click on Search Our Collections to search for a name in Civil War service cards, 1867 voter registrations and WWI soldiers’ records.
Among the digitized records you’ll find from archives and libraries across the state are naturalization records, school yearbooks and Civil War diaries and letters.
Alaska State Archives
Resources for genealogists include indexes to naturalization records (1888-1972) and probate records (1883-1960) and guidelines for requesting information from the archives.
Arizona Biographical Database
This database indexes more than 111,000 names in the Arizona State Library’s collection of books, newspaper articles, periodicals, obituaries and vertical files.
Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates
The Grand Canyon State has updated this site with new records. You now can search for births from 1855 to 1940 and deaths from 1870 to 1965, and view the original records online.
Arizona Memory Project
Digitized items from museums and historical societies across the state include oral interviews, city directories, tax rolls and photos of pioneer settlers.
Search for a name in over 1.1 million gravestone photos from all over the Natural State. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s modest gravestone is there, along with a biography.
Arkansas State Archives Search for a name in county, military, land and church records, as well as obituaries, manuscripts and photographs. The records aren’t online, but this catalog is a helpful finding tool.
California Digital Newspaper Collection
This site puts at your fingertips more than 15 million articles (almost twice as many as last year) in California newspapers dating from 1846 to the present.
California Genealogical Society and Library
Click the Databases tab to search 350,000 records in the California Names Index for free. A lookup in the original source costs $10. Members also get online access to San Francisco church records and newspaper notices.
Online Archive of California
Use this site as a portal to view more than 220,000 digital images and documents from collections of diaries, letters, photographs and other items at more than 200 libraries, museums, historical societies and university archives across the Golden State.
Colorado State Archives Historical Records Index Search
This search scours millions of entries in original sources, including county birth and death registers, a statewide divorce index (1880-1939) and will and probate records. You can order copies of the original records for a fee.
Denver Public Library Digital Collections
A search of the genealogy collections covers indexes to marriages (1858-1939), military records, biographies, obituaries, the 1885 Colorado state census, cemetery records and naturalization records (1877-1952).
Founded by genealogist Jane Devlin and now run by her family, this site provides free access to many genealogy resources from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Connecticut collections include indexes to church, cemetery, census and other records.
Connecticut State Library Digital Collections
Search and view 27 collections of digitized books, diaries, photographs, court records, witchcraft trial records, newspapers, vital record indexes and more.
Delaware Public Archives
Click on the Digital Archives link to access Civil War records, naturalization records, historical maps and more. Click on Research, then on Collection Gateway to search indexes to bastardy bonds, death registers and probate records. You can order copies of the records for a fee.
Florida Memory Project
Click on the Collections tab to access free databases from the State Library and Archives of Florida. Records include Confederate pension applications, WWI service cards, 1867-1868 voter registration rolls and Spanish land grants. Click on the Photographs tab to search a collection of more than 197,000 digitized photographs.
Digital Library of Georgia
If your ancestors hail from the Peach State, you can cover a lot of ground here with a single search covering digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and more from 60-plus libraries, archives and museums and 100 government agencies.
Click on Virtual Vault at the right to search colonial wills, Confederate pension applications, death certificates (1914-1930) and the General Name File.
Hawaii State Archives
Under Research Our Records, click on Genealogical Indexes to search marriage, divorce, citizenship and death records. You can order copies of the records for a fee. Click on City Directories to view digitized copies from 1880 to 1924. Click on Hawaii Newspapers to access a search form for newspapers from 1834 to 2000. Note that as of press time, the searchable resources under the Digital Collections link (vital records, land records, passenger lists and WWI service records) have yet to return online after undergoing system maintenance.
Idaho State Historical Society: Searchable Indexes
Search for your ancestor in the Gem State with these indexes to naturalization records, Civil War veterans, pension records, the inmate catalog and the Idaho Biographical Index. When you find a promising reference, contact the archives for more details.
Illinois Digital Archives
Digital collections on this site come from the Illinois State Library and other libraries, and include oral histories, maps, manuscripts, letters, photographs and newspapers.
Indiana Digital Archives
Search indexes to more than 1.2 million records with information on veterans’ graves registrations, naturalization indexes and more.
Indiana State Library: Genealogy Collection
In the site index at the left, click on Databases and Indexes and scroll down to Resources Provided by the Indiana State Library. There, search indexes to marriages (1811-2013), commercial newspaper death listings, biographies and newspapers. Indiana Memory has digitized images of many resources, including county histories, oral histories, plat books, city directories, photos, newspapers, yearbooks and more. The VINE database has local history and vital records from libraries, historical societies and genealogical societies.
Iowa Digital Library: Civil War Diaries and Letters
Here’s a sample of what you might find in this fascinating collection: Andrew F. Davis describes his fellow soldiers in a letter to his wife dated May 9, 1861: “A great many are genteel well dressed gentlemenly men, and then again there is a great many of the most abandoned dirty ragged lousyest looking mortals that you ever saw.” You can search the collection, or browse the collection by type (diaries, correspondence, photographs) or by year (1862-1865).
The Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
Civil War diaries, county atlases, biographies and school yearbooks are just some of the digitized items you can view from Iowa libraries, museums and historical societies.
Kansas Historical Society
Two large indexes on this site will help you find your ancestors in the Sunflower State. The Kansas Names Index covers the 1895 state census, biographies, marriages, death notices and more. The Kansas Military Index has records from the Civil War to the present. Select Photo Orders from the Research tab for instructions on how to order copies.
Kentucky Digital Library
Search digital images of more than a million items from the Bluegrass State, including books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, oral histories, yearbooks and pictures.
Louisiana State Archives
Click on Locate Historical Records to search indexes to death records (mostly 1804-1965), birth records (mostly 1790-1915) and Orleans parish marriages (1831-1965). Other online databases cover passenger lists from January to July 1851 and Confederate pension applications.
Maine Memory Network
Developed and managed by the Maine Historical Society, this site lets libraries and historical societies across the state upload digital copies of historical items from their collections into this site’s database. The site has more than 45,000 historical items (more than double last year’s count), including letters, photos, maps, clothing and audio and video files.
Maryland State Archives
Hover your mouse cursor over Find Records and select Family Historians for links to guides to genealogical research and various indexes. Then click on Search Online Databases to access death indexes and databases of slaves and early settlers. Next, select Archives of Maryland Online to access 471,000-plus historical documents. While visiting the Archives of Maryland Online, click on Probate Records for an index to colonial probate records (1634-1777) and on Military Records for Revolutionary War and Civil War resources.
Explore digitized photographs, maps, postcards, manuscripts, books and artifacts from libraries, museums and archives across Massachusetts.
Click on Online Collections to access more than a million digitized records, including death records (1897-1952), state census records (1827-1894), Civil War service records, letters, diaries, photographs and plat maps. Click on Advanced Search to select one or more collections to search.
Western Michigan Genealogical Society: Online Searchable Databases
Search indexes to more than 2.75 million marriages, deaths, obituaries and other records, including more than 250,000 new records since last year, for free. You can order copies of most records for $5.
Iron Range Research Center
The Genealogy Database covers birth, marriage and cemetery records from the Iron Range in northern Minnesota, and alien registrations, naturalization records and obituaries from across the state. Order a copy of a record for $10.
This collection includes more than 50,000 digitized items from the state’s cultural heritage organizations. You’ll find newspapers, photographs, diaries, maps, plat books, oral interviews and more.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
This page describes the archives’ most commonly used genealogical resources. Click on Digital Archives to view Confederate Pension applications and WWI statement of service cards and indexes. Use the online catalog to identify the archives’ holdings relevant to your Mississippi family.
Mississippi Digital Library
Libraries, colleges and historical and genealogical societies contributed scrapbooks, letters, photographs, books, oral histories and the large collection of family histories digitized on this site.
Missouri Digital Heritage
Access more than 9 million death, military, naturalization and other records from around the state through the main search form. Click on Browse Collections by Topic, then Genealogy to search individual databases.
The State Historical Society of Missouri: Digital Collections
This site features a large newspaper collection, plus diaries, plat maps, photographs, oral histories and Civil War letters, as well as newsletters published by local historical and genealogical societies.
Montana Memory Project
Use the search box to find a name in digitized newspapers, yearbooks, prison records, photographs and more from archives across the Treasure State.
Nebraska State Historical Society
Under the Search Collections tab, select Additional Research Databases to access indexes to names in cemetery records, county atlases, plat books and prison records. The 1860-1954 Tract Books Index covers the first owners of land in Nebraska.
Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records: Digital Collections
The Nevada State Digital Archives has more than half a million online records, including territorial census records (1861-1864), state land patents (1865-2013) and records of prisoners and orphans.
New Hampshire Genealogy & History
This extensive guide to researching your family history in New Hampshire covers all the major record groups and has numerous links to online resources. It even has detailed guides to every county and many towns in the state.
New Jersey State Archives
Click on Searchable Databases and Online Records Request Forms to access indexes to marriage records (1666-1799 and 1848-1878), and indexes to death records (1878-1895). The searchable databases cover more than 1 million references to documents and photographs.
New Mexico Digital Collections
Access digitized manuscripts, including genealogies, photographs, oral histories and maps from libraries and museums across New Mexico. The Newspapers Database (accessible via the Advanced Search options or under the Browse All Collections pull-down menu) tells where copies are available and includes links to digitized copies of some titles.
German Genealogy Group
and Italian Genealogical Group
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of volunteers in these two groups, you can search indexes to births, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and church records in New York City and Long Island.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
With 5 million more newspaper pages than last year, this site now tops more than 35 million newspaper pages (1726-2015) that you can search by word or phrase. Despite the name, Thomas Tryniski’s site has newspapers from all over New York, plus some from other states and Canada. To download the full list of titles, click on FAQ_HELP_INDEX at the top of the screen, then “to browse the different papers, click Here,” and then “Download this index as a Microsoft Excel file.”
Sampubco: New York Counties Will Books Testators Records
This index covers more than 274,000 New York wills. Browse by county or click Search This Site to search for a name on the whole site. In the FREEFind box, type the last name first and put quotations around the name to search on the phrase, such as “Robertson John.” Optionally, add a town or county (“Robertson John” Worcester) to narrow the search.
North Carolina Digital Collections
A joint project of the state archives and state library, this site has digitized Confederate pension applications, naturalizations, Bible records and newspapers back to the 1700s. The Family Records collection groups the most useful records for genealogy, including marriage and death notices and cemetery records. Our list previously included this site as part of the State Archives of North Carolina.
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
With contributions from cultural heritage institutions across the state, this site has digitized newspapers, yearbooks, photographs, city directories, genealogies, yearbooks and more.
Town and county histories, photos of homesteaders and oral interviews conducted with Germans from Russia dating back to the 1800s are just a few of this site’s treasures depicting life on the northern plains.
A collaborative project of the Ohio History Connection and the State Library of Ohio, this collection includes items from more than 360 cultural heritage institutions. You’ll find yearbooks, county atlases, photos of Civil War officers, more than 315,000 newspaper pages (nearly 100,000 more than last year) and much more.
Oklahoma Digital Prairie
This site from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and its partners has digitized books, newspapers, photos and documents, including Confederate pension records and cards.
The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections
Key collections here include Civil War soldiers’ personal narratives, trabscribed interviews with Oklahomans from the 1930s and more than 200 manuscript collections about Native Americans.
Archival Records: Guides, Records and Indexes
This site’s Early Oregonians Database documents people who lived in Oregon prior to statehood. The Oregon Historical County Records Guide includes county maps, histories and record inventories. Search for relatives in the Oregon Historical Records Index to birth, marriage, death, divorce, naturalization, probate and other county records.
PA Photos and Documents
You can now search each collection here individually or all at once to access digitized photos and documents from
libraries. The resources from across Pennsylvania are grouped by subject, such as genealogy, local newspapers, Pennsylvania history and yearbooks.
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
In addition to research guides and finding aids, this site has several online record collections. Military records date back to the Revolutionary War, and many of them include soldiers’ physical descriptions. Land records (1684-present) include browsable indexes. You also can browse statewide birth (1906-1910) and death (1906-1965) indexes.
Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission
More than just an index to gravestones, this site includes dates of birth and death, names of family members and maps of cemetery locations. Many entries include detailed descriptions and photos of the gravestones.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Click on the Online Research tab, then on Online Records Index to search more than 300,000 items (many with images). They include records of Confederate veterans (1909-1973), criminal court records, state land-grant plats (1784-1868), legislative papers (1782-1866), will transcripts (1782-1855) and school insurance photos (1935-1952).
South Carolina Digital Library
This collection of 200,000 items from 40 cultural heritage institutions across the Palmetto State includes family histories, yearbooks, oral histories, maps, photographs and family Bible records.
South Dakota State Historical Society
Find your ancestors in the Mount Rushmore State with the help of these indexes to naturalizations, cemetery records and biographies, plus a transcript of the 1885 census of Civil War veterans.
Search digitized photos, letters, diaries, oral histories and artifacts in archives, libraries and museums across the state. You’ll find many Civil War-related items, including letters from soldiers, photographs of veterans and pictures of relics.
The Portal to Texas History
Libraries, archives, historical societies and genealogical societies from across the state have contributed more than 750,000 digitized books, maps and photos for this website. You’ll also find college yearbooks, county probate records and newspapers.
Utah State Cemeteries and Burials
This database contains cemetery records for about 600,000 people buried in Utah and more burials are continually being added. Information comes from both sexton’s records and gravestones.
Utah State Archives Name Indexes
The Utah State Archives created this convenient list of online records searchable by name. In addition to images of death certificates from 1904 to 1965, you also can search birth registers and other records from several counties.
Vermont Historical Society
Under the Research tab, select Genealogy, then Genealogy Indexes & Lists for links to PDF files with indexes and transcriptions of various records, including baptisms, marriages, deaths, naturalizations and town records.
Vermont in the Civil War
This extensive collection includes profiles, photos and gravestones of Civil War soldiers with any connection to Vermont. Click Name Search to search the site for an ancestor’s name.
Library of Virginia
Among the many useful indexes and digitized documents on this site, don’t overlook the index to wills and administrations up to 1800. The Library of Virginia has a separate site for digitized materials at Virginia Memory. On that site, under the Digital Collections tab, select Collections by Topic. Under Military Service, see Revolutionary War records and Confederate pension rolls. Under Land Office Patents & Grants, access digitized records dating back to 1623.
Washington Rural Heritage
Drawing on the collections of small, rural libraries and historical societies, this site has scrapbooks, oral interviews, old photographs and more.
Washington State Archives: Digital Archives
This terrific site has more than 60 million searchable records online (7 million more than last year), including birth, marriage, death, census, cemetery and naturalization records.
West Virginia Archives and History
Vital records databases include digitized birth records (1790-1940), marriage records (1780-1971) and death records (1753-1965). The West Virginia Memory Project has indexes to Civil War records.
Resources from libraries, archives and historical societies across the state include county histories, diaries, genealogies, letters, local history, manuscripts, newspapers, oral histories, photographs, plat maps and yearbooks. Select Tips for Genealogists from the Explore tab for help searching.
Wisconsin Historical Society
Search more than 3 million records, including indexes to birth, marriage and death records, plus obituaries, biographies and photos. Scroll down the page for links to other resources, including Civil War records and local history and biography articles.
Search and view more than 800,000 newspaper pages, including newspapers published in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922. The site continues to add newspapers and has some titles up to 1989.