Archive for the ‘history’ Category

AK: Plans Library

February 2, 2009

Government at all levels involves a lot of planning. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, unadvertised municipal plans were kept in locked basements that were only open to the public a few hours a month. Fortunately in the age of the internet, plans are easier to find. Just look at Today’s State Agency Database Highlight:

  • Plans Library– From the website, “The Library contains a wide assortment of plans submitted to the Division of Community & Regional Affairs (DCRA) by communities, agencies and contractors. The database contains Community Plans, Comprehensive Plans, Economic Development Plans, and Strategic Plans among many more general and project related plans (such as Water Waste Plans, Relocation Plans etc).”

Aside from being worthwhile documents in themselves (check out a few if you don’t believe me), plans are a valuable source of local history. Communities that have never had their local history set down in book form often have several pages worth of local history in plans. There are also often descriptions of current local conditions and lists of leading people and organizations in the community. Plans are useful to the historian and sociologist as well as to the community planner. Go check them out.

The Alaska page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Sheri Somerville.


MO: Election Night Results to 1996

November 22, 2008

With their selection of Senator John McCain for President, Missouri lost its bellweather status of picking the winner of the Presidential election since 1956.

Today’s State Agency Database Highlight allows you to explore that history from 1996 to 2008:

Election Night Reporting Archives – Database searchable by all results, statewide races, ballot issues, county reporting, and customized view. Covers the 1996 General Election to the November 2008 General Election.

The Missouri page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Annie Moots.

DE: History from the Highways

November 15, 2008

If you’re curious about artifacts and old historical sites in Delaware, check out today’s State Agency Database Highlight from the Delaware Department of Transportation:

Archaeology Search – A comprehensive listing of all archaeology reports available from DelDOT, detailing what was unearthed during studies and planning for construction of various roadways and highways throughout Delaware.

Er. archeology from the Department of Transportation? What’s up with that? I’ll let the Delaware DOT explain:

With the national archeology and historic preservation laws when DelDOT embarks on a project, we determine if the project has the potential to affect historic properties, which include archaeological and standing structures. If there is potential for effect, then the Department enters into consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), other preservation groups, and the public to help identify historic resources and determine if they will be affected by the project. Once it is decided that properties will be affected, then DelDOT and the consulting parties work together to limit the possible impacts to the resources. If an adverse effect on the resource will occur, DelDOT will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the consulting parties and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to mitigate the resulting effects. A Memorandum of Agreement is a legally binding document that details what measures DelDOT will undertake to help offset the impacts to the historic property. This open process allows the public and DelDOT to exchange ideas, alternatives, and solutions for not only a better highway system, but for a heritage worth protecting.

This database can be searched by chronological category (such as prehistory, woodland, early industrialization, 1940-present and many more), category (such as blacksmiths, bridges, taverns, schools, banks, underwater archeology and more), type of report (archeology or historic preservation) and title of report. Results link to full text of report.

The Delaware page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by John Stevenson.

MA: Mass Moments (in History)

September 9, 2008

Supposed I asked you to find some anecdotes on the history of agriculture in the Greater Boston Area? Or how about the history of inventions in Massachusetts? Would you be flummoxed? Not if you used today’s State Agency Database Highlight:

Mass Moments – Database of historical articles searchable by keyword, region, and topics including agriculture, immigration, maritime history and recreation.

The one problem with the search is that results do not display by date and it is unclear how they are sorted. But if your looking for events during a specific time period, the search form allows you to limit by date.

The Massachusetts page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Len Adams.

AZ: Locating Newspapers

August 25, 2008

Let’s pretend you are researching the history of Prohibition in Arizona. What newspapers are focused on your topic? You don’t know and you wouldn’t know where to start?

The papers areĀ  Arizona Guardian (published in Phoenix) and the Arizona Prohibitionist (published in Glendale) and you would locate them by using today’s State Agency Database Highlight:

Arizona Newspaper Project – This databases allows you to locate newspaper holdings by title, city, county, subject and OCLC number. Records include information on where the newspaper can be found and when it was published. The subject feature is a good way to find ethnic or political newspapers (i.e. Jewish, Catholic, African American, Masonic, etc).

Here is the record for the Arizona Prohibitionist:


Arizona Prohibitionist

Location of Coverage: City: Glendale
County: Maricopa
Dates of Coverage: Known Dates : 1938-19uu
Frequency: Irregular
Bibliographic Data: Subject: Prohibition
Library of Congress Number: Sn2002-60091
Previous Title:
Later Title:
OCLC Record Number:

Institutions with Holdings

Click for Detail
Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records AZP Phoenix <1938:V.1:1:2><1939:V.2:9-1940:5,NO.4-6><1942:V.4:1-2><1943:V.5:1><1944:3,10><1945:2,6><1946:1> Paper

It’s important to remember that this is NOT a full text database. You won’t find individual articles here, nor will you find an online index to newspaper articles. But once you know a given newspaper exists, you might be able to borrow microfilm for specific time periods through Interlibrary Loan at your local library.

The Arizona page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Daniel Cornwall. But he’s looking for an AZ based librarian to take over the page.

LA: Louisiana State Museum Map Database

August 19, 2008

The Louisiana State Museum’s cartographic holdings are extensive so it’s a good thing they created a searchable database of their collection! The cartographic holdings include original works and facsimiles, dated 1525 to the present. The map collection includes maps related to the exploration and settlement of Louisiana during the colonial period and delineation of its cities after the Louisiana Purchase.

Be aware that not all records contain images of the map, but by viewing all maps, you can easily click on the maps that do contain images (as noted by a green box).

My favorite map is the 1683 map of “New France and Louisiana, Newly Discovered“. It just makes the Gulf look…odd.

The Louisiana page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Rolanda L. Ridley, Government Documents Librarian, Southern University at New Orleans.

KS: WWII Veteran Information

August 18, 2008

Do you have a Kansas relative who served in World War Two? Would you like to find out? Check out today’s State Agency Database Highlight:

World War II Kansas Veterans Index – “This database contains more than 227,000 entries of male and female Kansas veterans of the armed forces who served between September 16, 1940 and June 30, 1946. This comprehensive data comes directly from Adjutant General Selective Service Board lists.”

Here is a sample record:

Name Service Service # Registration Place Comments
Smith, John A. Inducted 17 February 1944, Navy 9566451 Registered, order # 11608 Hutchinson, Reno Co. (Board # 3)

With a person’s service number, additional records from the military may be available if you are the veteran or their next of kin. See for details.

The Kansas page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Bill Sowers of the State Library of Kansas.

CA: History of Initiatives

June 23, 2008

California, more than any other state, is famous for its many citizen/special interest produced propositions. Prop 13 is probably the most famous, but there have been many, many more since 1911. You might think you can’t tell the propositions/initiatives apart without a program. California thinks it takes a database:

California Ballot Measures Databases – From the website, “a comprehensive, searchable source of information on California ballot propositions (and initiatives) from 1911 to 2000 (limited amounts of information for 2001-2003). The database contains the full text of the propositions, accompanying material contained in the ballot pamphlets, related legal and legislative history, and digital images”

The California page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Janet Coles.

AL: Alabama and the Great War

June 15, 2008

People who suspect their Alabama relatives were in World War I will find this database of interest:

World War I Gold Star Database contains information on Alabama service people who died during World War I. Records are somewhat sparse, but do include Name, Branch, Regiment, Race, Town and County, when available.

The Alabama page of State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States is maintained by Valerie Glenn.

Subject Collections: Official Historical Records

June 9, 2008

Genealogists are very fond of official records. These types of records – birth and death records, war pensions, cemetery markers, land records, etc often fill in the blanks of an ancestor’s life.

The State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States Project features a subject focused collection called Official Records Databases that features this type of material. So far only five states — Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio — are listed, but what a variety of records! Some of the databases you’ll find on this page include:

Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates – Database of images of publicly accessible birth and death certificates issued in Arizona. Birth coverage currently (1887 – 1931 ) and Death coverage currently (1878 – 1956 ). Searchable by name, years and county. Search results indicate birth and death dates when known as well as parents. All this for free. Great for genealogists.

Kansas Physicians and Midwives, 1881-1900 – From the web site: “This index is a compilation of the names of Kansas medical practitioners from two sources, the Kansas Board of Health reports for 1887-1900 and Dickman’s Medical Directory published in 1881.”

West of Tennessee River Military Patents database – From the website “Research and view color images of 242 patents in the Jackson Purchase authorized by warrants issued to Virginia Revolutionary War veterans or their assigns.”

Coroner’s Inquest Database – The database contains records from various counties, the City of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Medical Examiner. It is an abstract of records that have been indexed and are available for online research. The original records are available on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives. These inquests are not made available until 72 years after creation. The database search engine allows searches by county, name of deceased, cause of death, and/or year of death (or range of years). A keyword search function is also available.

War of 1812 Roster of Ohio Soldiers Search the full text of the roster from the Adjutant General records. Ohio furnished 1,759 Officers and 24,521 enlisted men for this war.

If you know of a historical records database that isn’t featured here, please let us know in comments.