If you haven’t searched on Google Books, go there immediately (immediately after reading this post, of course!). There are tens of thousands of genealogy and history references available there. Controversy initially dogged Google books when first introduced; Google was accused of copyright violations in its program to digitize entire libraries. Much of the initial hubbub has died down and now Google is reaching accommodations with publishers and libraries around the world.
Search results on Google Books may provide more than just a title and author. If the book is in the public domain or if the publisher has given permission, there may be a “full view” of the book available and you may be able to download a PDF version of the book. By agreement with numerous publishers even those works not in the public domain may have a “limited view” available from which you can get a pretty good look at the contents of the book. With full view or limited view books you can perform searches throughout the book. Some books have only available a “snippet” view, which provides three pieces of text from the book. For every book, the search engine provides links to publishers and booksellers as well as to libraries where the book may be borrowed.
Here some of the things that I’ve found recently on Google Books that I really liked:
Runaway and Freed Missouri Slaves and Those Who Helped Them, 1763-1865 (2004) By Harriet C. Frazier
French Roots in the Illinois Country: The Mississippi Frontier in Colonial Times (2000) by Carl J. Ekberg
The titles above are “limited view” books and are available at major booksellers. Then there’s this:
History of the Catholic Church Within the Limits of the United States (1888) by John Gilmary Shea. This is a 700+ page comprehensive treatment of the history of the church of until 1888, written by the preeminent American Catholic historian of the 19th century. It’s available from major booksellers for a mere $239. Fortunately, on Google Books it is a “full view” book.
December 12, 2006 Tuesday at 8:08 pm