Europeana is a digital doorway to European cultural heritage that everyone with European roots will find interesting and enlightening.
Funded by the European Commission and Ministries of Culture in 21 member states, the Europeana website is home to nearly: 19 million images; 13 million texts (including books, archival papers and newspapers); half a million each sound and video files and 16,000 3-D models of objects.
Europeana’s World War I Digital Archive
A major part of Europeana is its World War I digital archive. As the site describes, Europeana “has been running World War I family history roadshows around Europe, helping to digitize people’s stories, documents and memorabilia from 1914-1918. People can upload their own digitized items onto the Europeana1914-1918.eu site. In 2014, the centenary of WWI, 100,000 images and scans have already come into Europeana, creating a virtual memory bank that reflects all perspectives on the conflict.”
Europeana 1989 and the Fall of the Iron Curtain
A sister site, Europeana 1989, collects “stories, pictures, films relating to the events of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe.” You can upload your own materials or, as the site says, “let us take you on a journey through the Fall of the Iron Curtain, see it from all sides and draw your own conclusions.”
The top countries to supply images to Europeana are Germany, France and the Netherlands, each with more than 3.5 million items, and then Spain, Sweden, Italy and the U.K. The site attracted 4 million unique visitors last year. Click here to read a guide to using Europeana for genealogy and local history research.
Historical Newspapers at Europeana
Historical newspapers are another great source for genealogical and historical research. Europeana now includes the Europeana Newspapers collection which features hundreds of newspaper titles and millions of newspaper pages, spanning four centuries and 20 countries from across Europe. In addition to viewing digitized newspaper pages, many now support readable text files. These files allow you to keyword search within their contents. You can zero in on these files by using feature called ‘Search for records with full text’.
Europeana’s Newspaper Collection offers a variety of ways to access and use the content including:
- browsing curated lists of the top newspaper titles from A-Z
- browsing by country of origin
- searchig the full text of newspapers
- searching only in the metadata
- searching for newspapers in a date range or on a specific date
- reading blogs on Newspaper-related themes
It’s worth investing a few minutes in reviewing the historical newspapers guides at Europeana In order to get the most from the collection. The helpful guides explain how to navigate, search, find, and reuse Newspapers content.
More at Europeana
Other Europeana links to try:
- The Europeana portal is the search engine for the digitised collections of museums, libraries, archives and galleries across Europe.
- Our Virtual Exhibitions feature highlights from the collection.
- Follow the Europeana blog to keep updated on the projects and progress of this rapidly-growing resource for European family history.
Genealogical records come in all shapes and sizes and this week’s records round up even includes round records! Keep reading because you never know what you’ll find.
Photographs at Indiana Album
I love this website simply for the tag line Historic Photographs from the attic to the Web! We all have a bit of other families’ genealogy in our attics, closets and scrapbooks, and Indiana Album is a nonprofit organization that want to make it accessible. They encourage Hoosiers (and of course descendants of Hoosiers) to loan them their photos and documents. The group then digitizes, catalogs and shares them in a database on their website. Head here to search for the names, places and other keywords relating to your family. I’m finding gems like the one below.
Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project
Here’s a free online collection that is adding tons of new melodic content!
I’m amazed how often I run across music references in my genealogical research, particularly when reviewing the diaries, letters and other records of my late 19th century and early 20th century relatives.
When I was in my twenties I wrote my Grandfather often and asked him questions like “Do you remember any favorite songs from when you were a young man?” His answer included:
- After the Ball is Over
- Just Break the News to Mother
- Always I’ll be Loving You
- But I Was Looking at You
- You Came Along
- No Wonder that I Love You (my personal favorite from 1925)
As you can see from the linked titles above (click them to listen for yourself), I found every single one of them at the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project. This is a phenomenal free online collection of digitized recordings made accessible to everyone.
The good news is that the project, which currently boasts over 200,000 recordings, just received funding to preserve another 250,000 sides of 78 rpm records. That means they need records. So, check your basement, closets and attic and consider donating your 78s to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project for digitization and physical preservation. You can donate your 78rpm Records to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project here.
UK & Iceland Records at Findmypast
There are over 6.4 million new records and newspaper articles available to search and explore this Findmypast Friday including over 264,000 new and exclusive parish records that have been digitised and made available online for the first time in association with the Lancashire Archives.
Over 31,000 additional records are now available to search amongst out collection of Lancashire Baptisms. The new additions cover the parishes of:
- Edge Hill, St Nathaniel -1869 to 1918
- Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
- Liverpool, St Silas, Pembroke Place – 1841 to 1918
- Liverpool, St Stephen the Martyr – 1851 to 1918
- Newburgh, Christ Church – 1860 to 1917
- Seaforth, St Thomas – 1839 to 1918
- Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1918
- Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1882 to 1918
These records include both transcripts and images of the original documents. Each result will reveal when and where your ancestor’s baptism took place, the names of their parent’s and father’s occupation.
A further 179,000 records have also been added to our collection of Lancashire Banns & Marriages. These new marriage registers add coverage for a selection of new Liverpool parishes, including:
- Edge Hill, St Nathaniel – 1871 to 1943
- Everton, Emmanuel – 1835 to 1943
- Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
- Liverpool, St Stephenn the Martyr – 1852 to 1943
- Seaforth, St Thomas – 1870 to 1943
- Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1943
- Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1887 to 1943
Learn when, where and to whom your ancestor was married, as well as the happy couple’s ages, occupations, marital status, residences, parent’s names and father’s occupation.
Over 54,000 new records from the central Liverpool Parish of St John. These new records span the years 1767 to 1883 and will allow you to discover when your Liverpool ancestors were laid to rest.
The transcripts and images within this collection will enable you to discover when your ancestor died, their occupation, the date and location of their burial, as well as their age at death.
A whopping 5.7 million new records are now available to search within our collection of United States Obituary Notices.
These records, obtained from the tributes.com and currentobituary.com websites will enable you to discover your ancestor’s name, birth and death years as well as the original obituary text. Additional information such as images and details about the records can be found on the source’s website.
Explore the records of investors in The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, also called the Scottish Darien Company. It was funded by investments from people across Scotland. These transcripts will provide you with information on those who invested money and their representatives.
The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony called “Caledonia” in Panama in the late 1690s. Opposed by commercial interests from England, the company of Scotland raised subscriptions for the scheme in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and London. English investors soon raised their share but withdrew their money after King William and the English Parliament turned against the venture. However, by August 1696 the Scottish investors raised £400,000 themselves.
As the scheme was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in the country at the time, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening Scottish resistance to the Act of Union. In July 1699, the colony was abandoned due to inadequate provisions, the unfamiliar hot and humid climate had caused fever to spread, and many settlers died. Of the 1,200 settlers, only 300 survived.
To mark Icelandic National Day this week, we have made over 287,000 baptism and marriage records from the land of fire and ice available to search on Findmypast.
These two new indexes span the years 1730 to 1920 and will generate hints against your Findmypast Family tree.
A bumper crop of new and updated titles have been added to the collection this week, with 163,404 new pages added. We have seven brand new titles added this week, covering both England and Scotland. We have three new London publications joining us – the Harrow Midweek, the Middlesex Gazette and the Middlesex Independent – as well as one Scottish title (the Northern Ensign & Weekly Gazette) and one new Essex title (the Essex Guardian). We are also delighted to welcome two specialist sporting titles – namely, the Volunteer Record & Shooting News, which ‘warmly supports the interests of the shooting man,’ and the Fishing Gazette, a publication which covers all types of fishing across the world.
Further to these new arrivals, we have also updated sixteen of our existing titles. Updates this week cover the length and the breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland, with updates incorporating publications from Aberdeen to Jersey, from Kingston to County Down, from Bristol to Kensington, from Crawley to Strabane.
Navy Officer Letters at Fold3
Fold3 just announced “We have added a new collection of naval records to our archives! The Navy Officers’ Letters 1802-1884 is a collection of letters to the Secretary of the Navy from officers assigned to naval ships, stations, and Navy bureaus.
The letters contain routine personnel matters such as duty assignments, leave or furloughs, desertions, resignations, court-martials, and other administrative issues. The collection is organized by year and then alphabetically by sender. The letters offer a glimpse into military history and provide valuable genealogical records for ancestors that served in the Navy.”
British Newspaper Archive
This week the British Newspaper Archive added 137,896 new pages spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999 to eighteen of their existing collections. These include extensive updates to the Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, which cover the years 1873 to 1969 and includes nearly 35,000 pages.
Also updated: Six of their London titles, including the Acton Gazette, as well as three Scottish titles, with pages added to the Hamilton Advertiser, the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and the Aberdeen Press and Journal. We have added pages to publications covering Newcastle and Middlesbrough, as well as new pages to The People.
A subscription is required. Clicking on the titles above allows you to see examples and review the scope of the collection.
Full Disclosure: We appreciate when you use our links because if and when you subscribe we are compensated, which helps support this free blog and the free Genealogy Gems Podcast.
Historical photos and images can bring depth and understanding to genealogical findings. In the case of sharing your family history with others in your family who don’t share your passion for genealogy, they are an essential part of bringing family history to life.
One of the best free online resources for historical photos is the Creative Commons at Flickr.
Flickr is a popular photo, image and video hosting and sharing service. It’s a great platform for sharing your favorite photos with family and friends. It’s also an excellent place to find images that fit into your family history.
An important part of the Flickr world is Creative Commons, which describes itself as part of a “worldwide movement for sharing historical and out-of-copyright images.”
Groups and individuals alike upload old images, tag and source them, and make them available to others through the Creative Commons. And when it comes to groups, the list of participants is impressive.
The British Library photostream features over a million images in its photostream! And a robust collection of historical photos and images can be found at the (U.S.) Library of Congress photostream, with over 34,000+ photos.
Searching the Creative Commons
When searching the Creative Commons, be sure to look for your favorite libraries and historical societies. If you don’t find them today, don’t worry. Check back regularly because new content is being added all the time.
Here’s another example of what you can find at the Creative Commons. The Netherlands Institute of Military History (Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie) has a photostream.
According to the Netherlands Institute of Military History blog, “The Institute exists to serve all those with an interest in the military past of the Netherlands. Its sphere of activities covers the Dutch armed forces on land, at sea and in the air, from the sixteenth century until now. The staff of the NIMH administer a unique military history collection containing approximately 2 million images, of which they will be uploading many to the site.”
Back in 2015 when we first wrote about their brand new photostream it only included a couple dozen images, like the one shown here. Today they have well over 3,300.
Tips for Finding and Using Historical Photos at the Creative Commons
Searching for Historical Photos: On a photostream home page, click the search icon (magnifying glass) just above the first row of photos in the upper right corner. A search box will pop up at the top of the page. Enter Keywords to search for images within that photostream. (Image below)
Location isn’t Everything: Just like with brick and mortar libraries, don’t let the location of the library or archive hosting the photostream fool you! Their collections are not limited to only items in their area. If you’re in search of something specific, try the Flickr Advanced Search page here.
Understanding Downloading and Copyright: Those who post images to Flickr Creative Commons offer different rights to those who want to download and use their images. Described here (and searchable here by the kinds of rights you want), those rights may include the ability to use a photo as long as it’s for noncommercial purposes and proper credit is given. Perfect for a responsible, source-citing genealogist!
10 Favorite Flickr Photostreams with Historical Focus
It would be impossible to list all of the potential photostreams at Flickr’s Creative Commons that feature historical photos, so I won’t even try. However, I’m happy to provide this list of favorites, which illustrates the breath and depth of possibilities. I hope it inspires you to search out your favorite library or archive at the Creative Commons.
(Organized by number of photos)
Internet Archive Book Images
Though not currently organized by Albums or Galleries, there is something here for absolutely everybody! Use the search feature to zero in on what you want. (See tips section below)
The British Library
A gloriously eclectic mix of images. Just one example: World War I: The Canadian Experience. This photo album covers 1895 and 1924, and contain depictions of Canadians’ experiences of the First World War. From the British Library: “Either produced by photographers on home soil or individuals in Europe employed by Lord Beaverbrook’s ‘Canadian War Records Office’ the photographs provide a wide ranging account of the many Canadians involved in and impacted by the war.”
The National Archives UK
the UK government’s official archive contains more than 1,000 years of history, so their photostream is not to be missed! Nicely organized into Albums focused on location, the images offer a sampling of their massive holdings.
The U.S. National Archives
Nicely organized into a vast array of albums, these photos represent only a small sampling of the photographs in their collection which totals more than 25 million photos and 20,000 graphic images. Early on they focused on uploading photos from the Women’s Bureau, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a few staff favorites. According to the National Archives, “These photographs, most taken by agents of Federal agencies over the years, cover a wide range of subjects and themes documented in the work of the United States government. Higher resolution versions of many of these images can be obtained from the U.S. National Archives by following the links located below each image.”
SMU Libraries Digital Collections
Southern Methodist University Digital Collections includes the digital libraries and online digital collections from the six SMU Libraries. You’ll find an emphasis on digital collections of Mexican photographs, locomotives, Texas history, art, and currency notes, and more.
National Library of Norway
These images either fall in the public domain or the copyright belongs to the library and has been wavered. You’ll find photos, postcards, stereograph cards and other ephemera depicting life in Norway. With all of the portraits you may just spot an ancestor!
The New York Public Library
Considering how many Americans passed through New York, this photostream is definitely worth a visit.
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Here you’ll find a range of items from the Ephemera Collections of the National Library of Ireland. They provide a snapshot of different periods in Ireland’s social, political, economic and cultural history. They’ve also added items from their Manuscript collections, Prints and Drawings, Exhibitions, as well as photos from Library Events.
UBC Library Digitization Centre
of the University of British Columbia
Just one of many Canadian library photostreams, the UBC Library shows off it’s diverse image collection in well organized albums. My personal odd-ball favorite is the Tremaine Arkley Croquet Collection!
Library Company of Philadelphia
They’ve organized their current photo collection into more than 50 albums, making it easy to quickly spot the historical collections. Notable albums feature unique historical images from the Civil War era.