Book Review: Online State Resources

Online State Resources for Genealogists by Michael Hait (e-book) (2011).

Even novice genealogists know where to find the basic documents needed for research: the census, for example, can be found on several pay services as well as on free sites like HeritageQuest. But everyone also knows that to do a sufficient job of research, one must look high and low and near and far for other resources.  The question that novices sometimes have is, what are these other resources? And more experienced researchers may ask, where do I find these other resources?

Michael Hait provides answers to both of those questions, in his new e-book, Online State Resources for Genealogists. This is a fairly thorough treatment of not only the types of other resources available, but their locations as well.  The title is somewhat less than fully descriptive.  In fact, in addition to state resources, Hait treats a host of nonstate, but publicly owned, resources. There are also some privately owned resources, such as the records of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Del., some state society sites, and Gwendolyn Midlo Hall’s Afro-Louisiana Slav e Database.   And although the title refers to “online” resources, the variety and scope of the resources he highlights will have most readers hankering to go to the brick-and-mortar locations.

Beginning researchers and even some experienced researchers sometimes will overlook the wealth of genealogical resources at State archives and state libraries.  He lays out state-by-state, the online location of state libraries and State archives.  And he also indicates the contents of the online sites.  He includes university libraries, state health departments, a number of local libraries, and County Clerk’s and County registrar’s offices.

I do a lot of research in state archives and local libraries in Texas, Missouri and Georgia in particular.  So, cyber – “ground truthing” this book was fun for me.  Michael mentions some of my favorite places such as the Texas State Library and Archives and the Portal to Texas History.  In Missouri, he describes the Kansas City Public Library ‘s Missouri Valley Special Collections Digital Gallery and the St. Louis County Public Library, also two of my favorite places. (In his next edition, I hope he will tell us about the Jackson County Government site and The Midwest Genealogy Center at the Midcontinent Public Library.).

His book is easy to use because the table of contents is linked to the specific resource that he is examining and the links to the resources are active links themselves.  He’s also given us an index by frequently used record types that indicates by state where they may be found.

This is a must-have reference for genealogists of any level of experience.  It’s well-organized and may serve as a prompt when one gets stuck.  The electronic format with active links is especially convenient for user and author alike because he intends to update the book.

The book is available for purchase at Michael Hait’s web page,


February 2011
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