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Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't forget your state historical society


Doll quilt, appliqu├ęd, dove and wreath pattern, c. 1860

Every state in the U.S. has a historical society in some form or another. Some are large organizations with large budgets and huge Websites, others are more modest. In some states the historical society is affiliated with a historical museum. In all cases, historical societies have people, documents, manuscripts and artifacts that will add life and sometimes information to genealogical research.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has a very impressive Website. Its offerings for genealogy are also impressive. From their Website, here is a list of their main offerings:

Wisconsin Genealogy Index. Search more than 150,000 Wisconsin obituaries and biographical sketches published before 1999, as well as 1,000,000 births, 400,000 deaths and 1,000,000 marriages registered before September 1907.

Search for and request copies of Civil War service records using the Wisconsin Genealogical Research Service.
Browse historic images. Wisconsin Historical Images. Historical images from the 19th and 20th centuries. Find pictures of people and places or purchase reproductions.
Wisconsin Historical Collections. 1,000 articles, memoirs, interviews and other primary sources on early Wisconsin history.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. Alphabetical and regimental lists of soldiers who served in Wisconsin units during the Civil War.
More about Civil War Veterans. Find every Civil War veteran, including former soldiers and sailors, who resided in the state of Wisconsin during the census years of 1885, 1895, and 1905.
Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles
16,000 historical and biographical articles. Search by name, location, or article subject(s).
Turning Points in Wisconsin History
Find eyewitness accounts and read background essays on events your ancestors experienced.
Library-Archives Classes and Workshops

In addition, the Wisconsin Historical Society has a museum and a large online collection which includes quilts, dolls, moccasins, paintings and many other objects.

During the next few weeks, as time permits, I will be exploring some of the highlights of the state historical societies. All of these Websites from the historical societies emphasize to me the fact that the Internet is an almost endless resource waiting to be mined for information. It is unlikely that anyone will exhaust all of the resources because new information and documents are being added too fast to keep up.

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