This week, I purchased the digital e-book, “Online State Resources for Genealogy” by Michael Hait. It is an incredible book that that not only gives a goldmine of websites with genealogy information for every state, but also makes every listing a clickable link to take you directly to the page.
Here’s what I love the most about the book – I visit the State Archives or State Library sites for many states while doing my research, but Michael’s book gives a link to each individual record set available on that site! Sometimes, a state site is less than user-friendly and if I enter a surname, I may get pages of results that are difficult to evaluate as far as potential value of information. Often, I am not able to find a list of databases contained on the site, but this book lists them all!
With Michael’s book, every entry has a paragraph with a description of the information contained in the database including the dates covered. Not only can I rule out sites in date ranges that don’t apply to my ancestors, but I can see exactly what type of information might be on a site so that I can do some pre-research on what information I have and what information I need so that I can use my time effectively.
Not only are the State Archives and Library sites included, but also many other libraries, historical and county sites and their databases as well.
In the short time that I have had this book, I have been able to look through indexes or actual images of records for counties that my ancestor spent such a short amount of time in, that I would not be likely to pay for films from the FHL. With one link, I was able to see tax records for years that aren’t included on any FHL film, helping me to look for family members and associates to prove a hypothesis for the birth location of an ancestor in 1836.
I downloaded the 1140 page book as a PDF file and as I do my research, I can highlight databases that I have searched and include a comment telling exactly what I searched for and the results of that search. I can indicate links that I’d like to go back to spend more time with as well as questions that I have after finding new information.
And while my research tends to focus around 1 surname at a time for long periods of time, I know that this book will be a huge value for me when I change gears to another family or when I am asked to do a “quick search” for information for a friend.
Bottom line: I think this book would make a great gift for any genealogist!