12 March 2015

FREE Resources for Online Digitized Genealogy & Family History Books

Blog post about The Midwest Genealogy Center's involvement with the Family History Books Book Digitization Project, http://www.mymcpl.org/blog/family-history-library-digitization-project  

As genealogists and family historians, we love to access older published books – family histories, local histories, church records, and more.

In the past we have talked about some of these projects, many of which are focused on pre-1923 books due to copyright law [see How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work -- “Therefore, the U.S. copyright in any work published or copyrighted prior to January 1, 1923, has expired by operation of law, and the work has permanently fallen into the public domain in the United States”).

Recently, Dick Eastman (EOGN) has published two posts that seem to expand our access to digitized historical books.
+ A New Genealogy Website went Online Today: Genealogy Gophers -- More Than 40,000 Digital Genealogy Books Now Fully Searchable and Downloadable for Free 

The first piece talks about the requirement to renew copyrights for materials between 1923 and 1964 when copyright renewal was required for a work to not fall into the public domain.  A reader’s comment directs us to Copyright Registration and Renewal Records page at the University of Pennsylvania as a great place to check whether the copyright has been renewed for a work created in this time frame.

Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania also has a wonderfully helpful page, The Online Books Page which encompasses what its title suggests – resources for locating sources and indexes/search aids for online books.

The second piece talks about a new website, Genealogy Gophers, though, when I checked out the FAQs page, the list of “current” sources for the out-of-copyright works is the exact same as those digitized by FamilySearch (see Family History Books link above).  So, at this point in time you decide which website to use.  The website states that they will be adding over 60,000 additional books in the next month.  It will be interesting to see what the “source” for those works is. 

Regardless, such a blog post by Dick Eastman is always a good reminder to make sure that you regularly see what historical books have been digitized and placed online – hidden gems of information are often what our family history research breakthroughs rely on! 

Do you know of great online digitized genealogical book collections not mentioned?

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