Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Digital History at the University of Virginia

One of my readers sent me a link to the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia. The VCDH promotes the teaching and learning of history using digital technologies. The number of online sources for history and genealogy is mind boggling. No matter how much you try to keep up with all of the information pouring out in a huge river-like stream into the digital world, you could never keep up. But it is nice to have a suggestion of what to look at now and again.

Part of the Virginia Center for Digital History is "The Valley of the Shadow." To quote the site:

The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources that
document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War. Here you may explore thousands of original documents that allow you to see what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin. The Valley of the Shadow is different than many other history websites. It is more like a library than a single book. There is no "one" story in the Valley Project. Rather, what you'll find are thousands of letters and diaries, census and government records, newspapers and speeches, all of which record different aspects of daily life in these two counties at the time of the Civil War. As you explore the extensive archive and you'll find that you can flip through a Valley resident's Civil War diary, read what the county newspapers reported about the battle of Gettysburg, or even search the census records to see how much the average citizen owned in 1860 or 1870.

This particular site is an example of how original source records can be presented in a useful and interesting way, that is, interesting to non-genealogists. Thanks for the tip.

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