Saturday, August 18, 2007

Published histories to go online

Published histories to go online
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August 18, 2007

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, Ind., BYU's Harold B. Lee Library, and the Church's Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project Aug. 15.
It is expected to be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web — and access will be free at www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu.

The digital history project will target more than 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 the Church's FamilySearch organization.

"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."

He added, "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."

Once digitized, the collections will have "every-word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields 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.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners and camera operators required to complete the project.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Church. It maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

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