Monday, July 30, 2012

Genealogical Finds from the UCLA LIbrary Digital Collections

Anyone who has heard me speak can affirm that I am big on checking out traditionally non-genealogical sources for finding family history gems. Yesterday, as I was checking out possible collections to include on Church Record Sunday, I came across some great maps, images, court records and 1940 census information that would be of interest to family historians.

First, many university libraries have digital collections online. These collections can include any number of items from photos, maps, and documents to church records, interviews, and court files. The great thing about a digital collection is that it is digitized and available to search, browse, and view online.

The University of California, Los Angeles Library Digital Collections' page  includes items that you would almost expect from a university near Hollywood. Images from local newspapers and movie stills would be of interest to film historians and movie buffs. But it's their "genealogical" items that you may want to search, especially if you have Los Angeles county ancestors.

Consider these collections:

The Henry J Bruman Map Collection includes maps from around the world but also maps from Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County, special emphasis from 1850-1950.

Maps showing Distribution of Racial Groups in Los Angeles (1940 Census). These maps show where racial and national groups lived during the 1940 census enumeration.

Red Bird, Oklahoma Glass Plate Negative Collection is 12 glass plate negatives that shows businesses, homes and people living in the all black town of Red Bird.

Tract Map and Cadastral Maps of Southern California 1868-1937 includes maps of L.A, Riverside, Orange, and Ventura counties.

Tulancingo (Hidalgo, Mexico) Manuscript collection includes criminal and civil cases.

Consider Googling the name of a university near where your ancestor lived and the words "digital collections" to find materials that may pertain to your ancestors.

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