Friday, June 18, 2010

Follow Friday: Archives.org Genealogy Sub-Categories

While I like Archive.org very much and use it often, I am easily and frequently overwhelmed by everything they have to offer.  Recently, I've discovered the sub-categories option when it comes to research on the site.  It allows me to make a more focused search and it eliminates a lot of superfluous results.  There are many sub-categories to search under and most have their own page, much like the far broader genealogy page.  These are some of my favorite sub-categories (and are only a small sampling):

Allen County Public Library
ACPL is easily one the largest contributors to Archive.org's genealogy section and it might surprise you to learn that in addition to US records and documents, I have found quite a few European resources on the Internet Archive from them.

Much like ACPL, offers a lot of resources that run the gamut geographically.  I have found many compiled genealogy books and one name studies through this sub-category.  ACPL and this sub-category are the main ones for just genealogy, others that have contributed some genealogical resources (but do no concentrate on genealogy) are below.

Boston Public Library, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Microfilm Database, Library of Congress, U. of New Hampshire Library, New York Public Library, U. of California Libraries, and U. of Michigan are some of the other sub-categories I search under.  Many of these have broader offerings than just regionally specific genealogy (for example, I've found some good Canadian resources through the University of Michigan's Internet Archive page).  But it is important to note that these libraries have uploaded far more than just genealogical ephemera so use key search terms (such as 'probate,' 'wills,' 'deeds,' 'marriage,' etc.) when using them (and archives.org on the whole). 

While in many instances it may be best to just do a broad search without using sub-categories, I have found it useful to bookmark these sub-categories if for no other reason than to explore them.  Many times I'll find a resource they have contributed through regular search of all of archives.org, which leads me to their page where I can hunt around and find other resources I hadn't thought to search for. 
Above is a screen shot from the book Lawrence County, Indiana: Records (1900).  Zooming in on the details of the book:

You'll note that the Book Contributor is Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.  Clicking on that link takes me to their archives.org page where I can search under their sub-category and also browse what they have.

All sub-categories of Archive.org follow this URL template: archive.org/details/BLANK.  For example, ACPL's Archive.org page is archive.org/details/allen_county and LoC's Archive.org page is archive.org/details/library_of_congress.  It is important to note this because to do a sub-category search you need to follow this formula: "your search terms AND contributor:blank."  So for example, I want to find Lawrence Co., Indiana records from ACPL.  I enter: "lawrence indiana AND contributor:allen_county" in the search box.

That narrows the search down to the ACPL sub-category specifically, eliminating all other search results for Lawrence Co., Indiana from other contributors.

If none of this makes any sense (which is quite possible) let me know and I can try and clarify things.  Using sub-categories can be just another extra step and not worth it to many, but I find it useful and I think I'll come to rely on it even more as Archive.org continues to grow.

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