Monday, August 20, 2007

North America Local and County Histories to Go Online

Three genealogical libraries pool their collections in massive digitization effort

15 August 2007

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Thousands of published family histories, city and county histories, historic city directories, and related records are coming to the Internet. The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch's Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project today. When complete, it will be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web—and access will be free at http://www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu/.

The digital history project will target over 100,000 published family histories and thousands of local histories that are rich in names as well as biographical and genealogical data associated with those names. "Publishing those collections from the three libraries involved will make a significant and attractive family history digital library online for genealogists and historians," said David Rencher, director of Records and Information for FamilySearch.

"I believe the most immediate, substantial contribution of this collaboration will be the addition of local history materials," said Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center Manager, Curt Witcher. The collaborative project will digitally scan thousands of historic city directories, as well as city and county histories from North America. The ACPL and the Family History Library have the largest collections of city and county histories from North America. "I believe the strength of our two well known, well used, and well loved institutions working together is a terrific benefit to the genealogical community," added Witcher.

Once digitized, the collections will have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other field across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Digitization efforts have begun. New additions will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized. The collection can be accessed currently at http://www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu/.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Source: FamilySearch.org

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