Local and state genealogy records can be some of the best resources for tracing your family history in the United States.
Check out these new or updated collections from 15 different states: AR, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MA, NE, NJ, NM, NC, SC, TX and WY.
State genealogy records now online
Arkansas. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock website reports that “a history class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has created a new digital index of Phillips County death certificates from 1917 to 1922. Dr. Brian Mitchell’s American Urban History Class created the index during the fall 2017 semester and donated the archive to the Arkansas History Commission so it can be made available for public use.”
Florida. Subscription website Newspapers.com recently added these titles: “Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), as well as the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Times.” According to the site, “The Tampa Bay Times, currently Florida’s largest paper, got its start in 1884 as a small weekly paper called the West Hillsborough Times. During the 1890s, the paper moved to St. Petersburg and the name was changed to the St. Petersburg Times, a title it would retain for more than a century.”
Also: the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has created a new statewide database of “cold cases.” It features more than 400 unsolved cases, according to this article.
Georgia. The blog of the Digital Library of Georgia has announced “the addition of over 10,000 digitized pages of African American funeral programs to the Augusta Public Library’s Eula M. Ramsey Johnson Memorial Funeral Program Collection. Spanning 1933-2017 and consisting of over 3,000 programs, the digital collection provides both a rich source of genealogical information and local history about the African American community. Programs are freely available online through the DLG.”
Also at the Digital Library of Georgia: Henry L. Benning Civil War materials are now available online. During the Civil War, Henry L. Benning “served as Colonel of the 17th Georgia Infantry in twenty-one engagements including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga… Benning’s war correspondence deals with his service throughout the war and includes orders sent to him, reports of engagements, both those sent to him and those he submitted to his superiors.”
Idaho. Genealogy giant Findmypast.com has published Idaho, Southeast Counties Obituaries 1864-2007. The collection includes over 9,000 browsable images of “obituaries collected and printed in various Idaho newspapers. The collection is not confined to deaths that occurred in Idaho; obituaries of native Idahoans who died out of state were sent in to Idaho newspapers and are also included. Discover biographical details including key dates and life events of those included in these records.”
Another of the giants, Ancestry.com, has published Idaho, Old Penitentiary Prison Records, 1882-1961. According to the collection description, “This collection contains prison records from between the years of 1882 and 1961. The various documents found in this collection may contain the following information: name of inmate, age and race of inmate, birth date and place, marriage date and place, date of trial, date of pardon, date of conviction, spouse of inmate and other miscellaneous information such as physical attributes and the crime committed may be found.”
Illinois. Illinois State University reports that back issues of the university newspaper, The Vidette, are now online. “The archive currently holds approximately 75 volumes—from the first edition dating back to February of 1888 to May of 1963. Within those 75 volumes, there are 2,621 issues and over 21,300 pages. The Vidette Digital Archives plan to continue adding more volumes in the future.”
Indiana. Now at genealogy giant and subscription website MyHeritage.com is a collection of Indiana Newspapers, 1847-2009, a collection of 1,014,820 pages in 44 newspaper titles. The largest numbers of pages come from The Rochester Sentinal, Times-Union, The Madison Courier, Warsaw Times-Union, The News-Sentinel, Warsaw Daily Times and Warsaw Union.
Maryland. MyHeritage.com has also published Maryland Newspapers, 1790-2009, a collection of 475,492 pages in 10 newspaper titles. Titles in this collection include (Baltimore) Afro-American, (Baltimore) American and Commercial Advertiser, Baltimore Herald, The Hancock News, The Maryland Herald, The Weekly Herald, The Baltimore Bee and American Eagle.
Massachusetts. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has recently added to its collections on AmericanAncestors.org:
- new parishes available in the image-only Archdiocese of Boston database, Massachusetts: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1900: Anthony of Padua (Brighton), St. Margaret (Dorchester), St. Rose of Lima (Chelsea), fourteen volumes from St. Stephen’s in Boston’s North End (this parish was initially known as St. John the Baptist, and served primarily Irish immigrants); and St. James the Greater in Boston is located in what is now Chinatown, although many Irish immigrants lived in the neighborhood in the 1800s.
- new sketches in Western Massachusetts Families in 1790. This database focuses on families listed in the 1790 census in historic Berkshire and Hampshire Counties, an area which also includes parts of modern Franklin and Hampden Counties. The new sketches are: Asaph Stebbins, Daniel Smith, Eldad Parsons, Elijah Bardwell, Israel Cowles, John Cowles, Sr., Joseph Bardwell, Joseph Bardwell, Jr., Martin Bardwell, Obadiah Bardwell, and Timothy Cowles.
- new volumes in Mayflower Families Fifth Generation Descendants, 1700-1880: Billington, John (Vol. 21), Hopkins, Stephen (Vol. 6), and Alden, John (Vol. 16, part 5).
Nebraska. Subscription site Newspapers.com reports these new additions to its lineup: “the Lincoln Journal Star and some related papers: the Lincoln Star, the Nebraska State Journal, the Weekly Nebraska State Journal, the Sunday Journal and Star, the Courier, and the Lincoln Evening Call. Coverage for the Lincoln Journal Star alone spans more than a century (1881-2009) and includes nearly 1.6 million newspaper images.
New Jersey. Genealogy giant MyHeritage.com has published New Jersey Newspapers, 1859-1946, a collection of 277,295 pages in 7 newspaper titles. Titles in this collection include Paterson Daily Press, Daily True American, Newark Sunday Call, Camden Democrat, The Bayonne Herald, The Paterson Weekly Press, The Political Intelligence and New Jersey Advertiser.
New Mexico. Ancestry.com has published a new database relating not just to New Mexico history but the “old” Mexico that preceded it. Materials in the collection New Mexico, Census, Military, and Other Records of Mexico, 1821-1846 “vary but include records from the provincial administration, treasury, legislative, local government, judicial cases, military, Indian affairs, and some period newspapers. Lists in the hacienda, military, and miscellaneous record groups have been indexed; other record groups can be browsed by year and record group.
North Carolina. The State Archives of North Carolina announced a new digital collection: Secretary of State Wills. “The digital collection contains wills from 1663 to 1789. These are loose original wills probated in the province. After 1760 most original wills were kept by the clerk in the county in which they were probated, though there are some wills after 1760 in the collection.”
Additionally, more newspaper content continues to appear on Digital North Carolina. Click the announcements below to read more details:
- Twelve More Years of the [Madison] News-Record
- Smithfield Herald [Johnson County]
- Franklin Times [Louisburg] now covering 1909-1944 and 1963-1972
- 11 More Years of the Carteret County News-Times
- 70 years of Mars Hill University student newspaper
- New Issues of the Pilot
South Carolina. A new digital history resource explores Latino history and communities in the Low Country. “Las voces del Low Country” is the name of the exhibit and it “documents the little-known history of Latinos in the Charleston area through oral interviews conducted between 2012 and 2014, photographs, historic documents, and artistic images.” Click here to read more about it.
Also, Findmypast.com has published (or updated) several collections relating to South Carolina:
· South Carolina, Will Transcripts 1782-1866 (an index to more than 181,000 will transcripts)
· South Carolina, Plats for State Land Grants 1784-1868 (an index to more than a quarter million records)
· South Carolina, Legislative Papers 1782-1929 (more than 228,000 records)
· South Carolina, Criminal Court Records. (transcripts for 1769-1944)
· South Carolina, Records of Confederate Veterans 1909 – 1973 (index of lists and pension applications)
Texas. Findmypast.com has published Texas, Laredo Arrival Manifests 1903-1955, with over 1.3 million records. “Explore images of arrival manifests from the border town of Laredo in Texas. This National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) collection will enable you to discover your ancestors’ names, ages, nationalities, and physical descriptions.”
Wyoming. The University of Wyoming has put online a digitized version of a state atlas designed for use by schoolchildren. But these maps may be valuable for understanding the geography of your Wyoming ancestor’s life, too. Click on the Interactive web pages tab to see a list of maps. Among them are those relating to physical geography, but also related to people. For example, there are maps showing emigrant trails, landmarks and forts; railroad expansion, stage roads and cattle trails; migration in and out of the state; land ownership and more.
More state genealogy records and tips
Local and state research is often the key to discovering your U.S. ancestors! Read these articles for more gems on finding genealogy resources in states and locales across the country.
- Ohio genealogy research and the virtual courthouse
- West Virginia genealogy research and working with changing county boundaries
- “Deeper into census records”–Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast episode #10 includes info on state-level censuses. Listen for free!
About the Author: Sunny Morton
Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.
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