Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Best Genealogy Websites of 2018

by Mary Beth Newbill, Central Library, Southern History Department

Family Tree Magazine has released its annual list of best genealogy websites. This exhaustive list of over 200 websites (most are free, but some do require a membership) includes such standards as the National Archives and Records Administration, Findagrave, and FamilySearch. However, the real fun lies in exploring the lesser known and more niche sites. Here are a few of my favorites:

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project
Created by Michigan State University, this site consists of 76 digitized cookbooks dating from the late 18th to the early 20th century. The cookbooks are arranged by date and interest (hotel, church, regional, ethnic, etc.). Each cookbook has an introductory essay that explains the cookbook and the food tradition it represents. Food is such an important part of our culture and seeing what our ancestors ate and how they prepared it provides us with a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Unknown No Longer
Compiled by the Virginia Historical Society, Unknown No Longer is a database with one goal: to document every enslaved Virginian named in previously unpublished historical documents. The digitized records include family Bibles, wills, newspaper clippings, and memoirs. Users can browse by type of record or location. There is also a search feature that combines name, location, date, etc.

CSI: Dixie
This website dedicated to 19th century coroner’s reports from South Carolina contains names and case histories. The site (a work in progress) may be short on names at this point, but is long on historical facts about the darker side of life. Excellent essays on the history of murder, suicide, etc. make this site fascinating reading. The coroner’s reports have been scanned and can be browsed according to how the person met their end. In spite of its focus on such dark topics, CSI: Dixie is a beautifully written, elegant, and strangely lovely site.

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