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Important Websites to Help Your Research — Part Three

This is Part Three of a series on important websites to help your genealogical research. In Part One, we covered Google Searches and the Four big online database programs,,, and Part Two focused on websites with large numbers of digitized books. This post will cover some of the most important library websites. One of the most recent trends is the expansion of public and private libraries into the area of providing digitized content online. This trend has included some of the libraries with significant genealogical collections.  In many cases, there is no substitute for visiting the libraries directly, but all of these libraries have extensive online resources.

The New York Public Library Digital Collections

The New York Public Library has extensive resources online including tens of thousands of photographs and other specialized resources helpful to genealogists. Some of the items in the collections are available only to  patrons with library cards but many of the online collections can be accessed free of charge without registering. The online offerings include links to other resources outside the library.

The Allen County Public Library

The Allen County Public Library is located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and is one of the most valuable libraries for genealogical research in the United States. The information online from the Library includes getting started in genealogy, national archives finding aids, print and microtext guide, genealogical forms and many other resources. The Library was also involved in producing the Periodical Source Index for genealogy containing millions of references to genealogy articles in newsletters, journals and other publications throughout the United States. The large research collection of genealogical materials, from around the world.

The Family History Library

The Family History Library is located in Salt Lake City, Utah and contains one of the largest, if not the largest collection of genealogical materials in the world. In addition, the online FamilySearch catalog is a tremendously valuable resource for doing genealogical research, not only from the standpoint of providing access to materials but also for providing a model as to what types of records are generally available in any geographic location or on any genealogical topic. The Family History Library has over 2.4 million roles of microfilmed genealogical records, 727,000 microfiche, 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources. Records are available from all around the world. In addition, the Library is involved in digitizing most of the microfilmed records in its collections. The digitized records are available for free online from

The Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

The Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is one of the top genealogies of research libraries in the United States. The Library is located in Houston, Texas. the Clayton Library has many sources available on micro-print and in book form. The holdings include county and state histories, as well as abstracts of records such as wills, deeds, marriages, court minutes, Bible records, church, cemetery records and colonial collections of several states. The Houston Public Library also has substantial online resources for genealogists.

The Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center

The Midwest Genealogy Center is another one of the nations most valuable resources for family history with access to three quarters of a million on-site materials. The Library is located in Independence, Missouri and is part of the Mid-continent Public Library System. The Library has a reference book collection including 102,000 family genealogies, local and state histories and compiled County records for all of the U.S . states and some of Canada. The online resources of the Library include Jackson County and Kansas City Plat Books, 1886-1925.

These libraries are only a small sample of the vast number of libraries and other repositories around the world with genealogically significant collections. Be sure to search for a library in your local area and inquire about the collections that may have genealogical significance.

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