U.S. General Resources

African-American Genealogy Resources

African-American History:

Access Genealogy
African American Cemeteries Online
African American Civil War Soldiers – new website in 2018
African American Gateway on Allen County Public Library
African-American Life in St. Louis 1804-1865 from the Records of St. Louis’ Courts
African Roots Podcast
Ancestry Wiki
Atlas Obscura – The Beautiful, Forgotten and Moving Graves of New England’s Slaves
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
BlackPastBlack Servicemen Revolutionary War Records
Boston Public Library Anti-Slavery Manuscript Collection
California Gold Rush -NPR Program on Documenting the History of African-Americans in the California Gold Rush
Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit
Christine’s Genealogy Website
Civil Rights Museum – Memphis
Civil War Slave Compensation Claims in Compiled Military Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops
Conversations with My Ancestors  – Mavis Jones’s blog
Cyndi’s List
Digital Library on American Slaver
Daughters of the American Revolution – Forgotten Patriots Research Guide
Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD
Family Search
Free People of Color in Louisiana
Freedmen’s Bank Records, 1865-1874
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Hein Online – Free registration for access to Slavery in American and the World: History Culture & Law
IAAM Center for Family History– This site used to be Lowcountry Africana.
Illinois State Archives Servitude and Emancipation Records 1722-1863
IN.gov – Reference list of print and microfilm resources
Library of Congress American Memory
Library of VirginiaBe sure to browse this site thoroughly. Lots of new resources all the time for all things Virginia: African American Church Histories in Virginia, African American Civil War Research, African American Newspapers
Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau
Missouri State ArchivesBe sure to browse this site thoroughly, too. Lots of digital material.National Archives
National Archives Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938
National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database
New England Historic Genealogical Society – African American Resources
New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Nomini Hall Slave Legacy Project – Robert Carter III of Virginia freed his 500 slaves. This project chronicles some of those freed by him. Surnames include Allen, Arnold, Banks, Brooke, Brutus, Burke, Burton, Cary, Colson, Conway, Cooper, Craft, Daley, Daniel, Dial Dicher, Dickerson, Gaskins, Glascock, Greggs, Gumby, Hackney, Harris, Harrison, Henry, Hollady, Hubbard, Johnson, Johnston, Jones, Kenardy, Mitchell, Newgent, Newman, Peterson, Puss, Reid, Richards, Richardson, Robinson, Single, Smith, spence, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Thornton, Tosspot, Tuckson, Walker, Weldon, Wells, Wilson, Wormley and Wyatt.
North Carolina Runaway Slave Advertisement
Philadelphia African-American Census 1847
Royall House and Slave Quarters – Massachusetts
Slave Genealogy
Slave Name Roll Project – Schalene Dagutis’s blog site, Tangled Roots and Trees, includes a link to slaves whose names have been “released” as genealogists have come across their names in documents. The roll is an on-going project and includes links to many U.S. counties. Many of the names are found in wills or deeds.
Slaves and the Courts 1740-1860
Tennessee State Library and Archives
The African-Native American Genealogy Home Page
The Freedmen’s Bureau
The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery
The Geography of Slavery in Virginia
The Official Negro Directory and Classified Buyers Guide (1942-1943)
The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture
United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865
University of North Carolina Digital Library on American Slavery
Virginia – African-American Funeral Programs, 1935-2009

African-American family history blogs:

Between the Gate Posts – LindaRe’s blog
Black and Red Journal – Terry Ligon’s blog
Caddo Trees – blog about families from Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Claiming Kin – blog
Eastern Shore’s Africans, Melungeons and Native Americans – blog
Finding Josephine – Dionne Ford’s blog
Into the LIGHT – Renate Yarborough Sanders’ blog
My Genealogical Journey – Minkyadoo’s blog
Notes to Myself – True Lewis’s blog
Our Black Ancestry
Taneya’s Genealogy Blog – Taneya Y. Koonce’s blog

Church, Cemetery & Obituary Records Online

Funeral History:

National Museum of Funeral History – Learn about funeral customs

Church Records Online:

American Baptist Historical Society – why the Baptist church is NOT helpful for genealogists
Archdiocese of Chicago, Illinois Catholic Cemeteries
Digital Quaker Collection, housed at Earlham School of Religio
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Records 1875-1940 on Ancestry.com (subscription)
Friends Historical Library – Swarthmore College
Local Catholic Church & Family History & Genealogical Research Guide – explains types of records to be found and how to locate them.
Missouri Lutheran Church Records and Histories
Quaker Information Center
The Archives of the Episcopal Church – explains records found in the archives, at the parish level and how to find them

Finding Cemetery Records & Obituaries:

American Antiquarian Society – Farber Gravestone Collection (Early U.S. Gravestones, with a focus on New England – free)
The Ancestor Hunt – links to databases of recent and historical obituaries
Ancestors at Rest
Cemetery Junction
Death Indexes on Line
National Cemetery Administration 
National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database
Social Security Death Index – I could not find a link on the Social Security Administration website and most of the other links were to subscription sites. However, there is a free index search on FamilySearch.

City Directories

City Directories Online:

Ancestry – Subscription
Circa 1930 City Directories Available at NARA
City and Business Directories of the U.S. Through 1860 – Some of these have been digitized and are available for free online. They are housed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
City and Farm Directories
City Directories of the United States of America
FamilySearch U.S. Directories – Log in your account to search.
Online Historical Directories Website – This site includes international directories.

Immigration & Naturalization Records

Ships and Passenger Lists:

Boston Passenger Lists 1891-1943
Bremen Passenger Lists
Castle Garden
Cyndi’s List – Ships & Passenger Lists
Ellis Island
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Irish Passenger Lists
New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906
Olive Tree Genealogy
Passenger Arrival Lists for Miscellaneous Atlantic, Gulf Coat & Great Lakes Ports 1820-1873
Philadelphia Passenger Lists – Log into your account to search.
Steve Morse One-Step Webpages

Ship Histories:

ShipIndex.org – free search of database, subscription needed to access info
The Ship’s List

Naturalization Records, Digitized & Online

FL – Hillsborough County Naturalizations 1895-1906
IN – Howard County Naturalization
LA – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
Eastern District Naturalization Image
MD – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Image
MS – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
New England – Area Wide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
NJ – Passaic County Naturalizations
NJ – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Image
NY – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Image
OH – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
PA – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
PA – Eastern District Naturalization Images
PA – Centre County Naturalization Images

PA – Westmoreland County Naturalization Images
SD – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
TN – Shelby County Naturalization Images
TX – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images
VA – Statewide FamilySearch Naturalization Images

Jewish Genealogy Resources


From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History, by Arthur Kurzweil, paperback published by Jossy-Bass, 2011, 400 pages
Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy, by Gary Mokotoff and Warren Blatt, paperback published by Avotaynu, 1999, 66 pages
Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, by Sally Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff, hardback, published by Avotaynu, 2004, 608 pages.


FamilySearch Wiki- Jewish Genealogy Research
JewishGen – Many links to resources. This site also has a jewishgen digest which disseminates great information about specific towns, local histories and information on places Jews went to escape persecution.
American Jewish Archives
About.com Free Jewish Genealogy Databases Online Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Jewish Genealogical Society – This society is based in New York City. Membership required, but a few free links.
American Jewish Historical Society – Suggestions are offered for research along with links.
Leo Baeck Institute for German-Jewish Family Research – A site to check if your family was from Germany.
Jewish Genealogy Portal: A Guide to Jewish Projects and Resources on Geni.com
Center for Jewish History – Family history collections must be searched on site, but this link as an excellent list of research guides to find your family records worldwide.
Louis Kessler’s Jewish Genealogy Links – Mr. Kessler points out that there are thousands of web pages devoted to Jewish genealogy. He has provided links to those he feels are the greatest use to the most people.
Jewish Link – Its goal is to provided a link to every Jewish link.

CyndisList – 28 categories of Jewish genealogy topics with related categories.

Libraries, Archives & Societies

Library Research Aids:

LibGuides Community
ArchiveGrid – local archives and repositories in the United States
Directory of State Archives
National Archives – Archives Library Information Center – provides state archives’ contact information with links

State Genealogical Societies:

Genealogical Societies
Ancestry’s List

Historical Societies:

U.S. Historical Societies
Directory of Historical Societies
List of Historical Societies

Ethnic societies :

Cyndi’s List
Federation of Genealogical Societies

Major Genealogy Collections in Libraries:

Allen County Public Library and their Genealogy Center
DAR Library – The DAR Library is busy building online information:
Family History Library
Library of Congress
Mountain West Digital Library
New England Historic Genealogical Society
U.S. National Archives

Historical Newspapers Online

Newspapers Online:
NewspaperMap is an interactive map making searchable 10,000 newspapers worldwide.

Brigham Young University Digital Newspaper Collection
British Columbia Historical Newspapers
California Digital Newspaper Collection
Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection – 1859-1923
Croatian Historic Newspapers
Digital Library of Danish American Newspapers and Journals
Digital Library of Georgia
Fulton History: Old New York State Historical Newspapers
Google Newspaper Archive
Historical U.S. Newspapers On Line
Historical Worldwide Newspapers on Line
Library of Congress: Chronicling America
Nebraska Newspapers – pre-1923
Online Historical Newspapers
The Ancestor Hunt – fabulous collection of links to digitized newspapers in the U.S. and Canada
The Clan-na-Gael Journal – Pittsburgh Irish
The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project
Trove – National Library of Australia digital collection
Veridian Newspaper Digital Collections
Wikipedia: List of Online Newspaper Archives – This is a list of worldwide sites, some by subscription and some free.
Wyoming Newspapers
Xooxle Answers: Newspaper Archives – links to free newspaper archives

Railroad Records

U.S. Railroad Records

American Memory – Railroad Maps 1828-1900
American-Rails – overview of railroad history
Ancestry Wiki – gives some basic information about railroad records
B & O Railroad Museum
(The) Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials of America, 1906 edition
California State Railroad Museum- has employment records for the Southern Pacific Railroad, plus historical information with an online catalog search.
Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society
Chicago History Museum – Find records for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. There is also an online searchable catalog of its holdings.
Cornell University – Guide to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Records, 1883-1969. Collection contains reports, pamphlets and correspondence. Also the Catherwood Library railroad related holdings.
Cram’s The American Railway System Atlas of the World – page by page at David Rumsey Historical Maps
Cyndi’s List – Railroads
Erie Railroad Internet Employee Archives
FamilySearch – has an informational page with tips on finding railroad records
FamilySearch Wiki – Railroads
(The) Frisco – A Look Back at the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad
Genealogy Today – has a searchable collection of many railroad records, but a subscription is required to view them. Time span is mid 19th century to early 20th century.
Kansas Historical Society
Midwest Genealogy Center – 1.5 million national railroad pension record index searchable online
Minnesota Historical Society – maintains some records from the Burlington Northern, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern railroad companies. There is a detailed section on the society’s overall holdings.
Missouri Pacific Historical Society – no employee records, but lots of history
National Archives at Atlanta – Note that there were no railroad pensions before 1936. There is a fee to order copies of any records found. There is also an article in NARA’s journal, Prologue, on railroad history and the archives collection.
National Railway Historical Society
Newberry Library Railroad Archives
Ohio Railroad Stations Past and Present
Pennsylvania and Historical Museum Commission – railroad employees
Pennsylvania Railroad Stations Past and Present
Poor’s Manual of the Railroads of the United States, 1868
RailRoad Genealogical Society
Railroad Maps of North America: the First Hundred Years by Andrew M. Modelski, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1984 available on Amazon
Researching Records of Old Railroads and Railway Records
San Diego Historical Society – has records for the San Diego and Arizona Railroad Company. The Research Library page has links to its collections.
They’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star
Union Pacific Railroad – History and Photo
Union Pacific Railroad – It’s Just Railroad Talk
U.S. Department of Transportation – online database of Investigations of Railroad Accidents 1911-1993
U.S. Railroad Retirement Board – Note that there were no railroad pensions before 1936.
U.S. Railroad Retirement Claim Records
Washington State Historical Society – has records for the Northern Pacific Beneficial Association hospital records, 1905-1930.

U.S. Digital Archives – Social History

NOTE: For state and local resources, check the links to U.S. state resources on the home page of this blog.


American Civil War Museum – Explore the Collection
American Craft Council Library & Archives Digital Collections
American Heritage Center Digital Collections at the University of Wyoming – Topics ranging from native Americans to Building the Panama Canal Zone and lots in between. NOT just Wyoming!
American Memory at the Library of Congress
Digital Collections of the National World War II Museum
DPLA – Digital Public Library of America
Eyewitness to History
Fieldwork Recordings – Dictionary of American Regional English
Hoover Institution Digital Collections
National Archives Digital Photography Collection
National Security Archive: 30 Years of the Freedom of Information Action
National World War I Museum & Memorial – Online Collections Database
New York Public Library Digital Collections – Definitely NOT just New York!
Tenement Museum – New York City
United States Military Academy (West Point) Digital Collections
U.S. National Library of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh ULS Digital Collections – Find information on children’s books to music and more


Archives of Appalachia
California Odyssey: Dust Bowl Migration Archive
Congregational Library & Archives – New England’s Hidden Histories: Colonial-Era Church Records
Digital Horizons: Life on the Northern Plains
Digital Library of Appalachia
Historic New England – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont
American Centuries: History and Art from New England – Memorial Hall Museum Online
Massachusetts Libraries Digital Collections – New England focus
Midwest Genealogy Center Digital & Archival Collections – Missouri and other Midwest and Plains states
Mountain West Digital Library – Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii
New England Indian Papers Series – Yale University
Northwest Digital Archives – Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Utah
Pacific Northwest Historical Documents Database
Rocky Mountain Online Archive – Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico
Southern Historical Collection at Louis Round Wilson Library, University of North Carolina

U.S. Military Records

American Battle Monuments Commission – has a searchable database for military serving in 20th century wars
Daughters of the American Revolution – free publicly accessible resources
Family Search – U.S. Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records 1775-1783 – free, but only an index
National Archives Military Records – Find out what is held in the national archives related to military service.
National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors – Civil War database
Nationwide Gravesite Locator – locate any person buried in a U.S. national cemetery
Online Military Indexes and Records – links to all major U.S. military actions. Links include those with free access and those requiring a subscription
U.S. National Archives
War Memorials Trust – U.K. organization
Western Front Association

Historical Photo Collections:

American Memory – War & Military
American Civil War
Library of Congress – Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Portraits

World War I and World War II Resources (NOTE: Not military service records):

Photos of the Great War
Enemies Among Us: German POWs in America
Interning Japanese-Americans – National Park Service
Japanese Internment Camps – History Channel
Learn More About World War II – PBS
Manzanar National Historic Site
Military Resources: World War I – National Archives (many links)
Military Resources: World War II – National Archives (many links)
Rosie the Riveter – History Channel
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front – National Historical Park
Teaching World War I – National History Day website, not just for teachers, lots of interesting links
The Great War – PBS
The Japanese American Evacuation & Resettlement: A Digital Archive
The National World War I Museum & Memorial
The National World War II Museum
The World War I Document Archive – BYU
World War II List of Prisoner of War Camps in the United States – many links
WWII Nazi Prisoners of War in the United States – YouTube video

Works Progress Administration Records

WPA Records – Where and How to Find Them:

Why are they so hard to find? The WPA created jobs at the state, county and local levels. Papers generated by these jobs were originally housed at those levels. However, the WPA’s life ended in 1943 when we were in the midst of World War II. When it came time to find permanent homes for the papers, it seems to have been a free-for-all. As a result, many of the works are unpublished and may be housed in 1) state archives 2) county courthouses 3) New England Historic Genealogical Society 4) the DAR Library in Washington, DC 5) a local historical society 6) National Archives or, in the case of Maine’s unpublished records, which no one wanted, they apparently reside at the bottom of Casco Bay, where they were dumped!

In 1980, Loretta L. Hefner wrote a 55 page book titled The WPA Historical Records Survey: A Guide to the Unpublished Inventories, Indexes and Transcripts. (Chicago, The Society of American Archivists, 1980.) It can be found at the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Genealogy Tips & Family History