Currently, Archive.org has 80,455 items that it classifies in it genealogy collection. All of the items are free and usually come in a variety of formats for all types of eReaders. About the collection, the website states:
The Archive's ever-expanding collection of genealogy resources includes items from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Robarts Library at the University of Toronto; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library;, the National Library of Scotland, the Indianapolis City Library's Indianapolis City Directory and Yearbooks Collection, The Leo Baeck Institute Archives of German-speaking Jewry Leo Baeck Institute Archives, and the Boston Public Library.Of course, the collection also includes a complete copy of the U.S. Census records from 1790 to 1930. Here are a few of the other valuable resources from the collection:
Resources include among many things books on surname origins, vital statistics, parish records, census records, passenger lists of vessels, and other historical and biographical documents.
- Passenger and Crew Vessel Lists for New York, NY 1897-1957
- Passenger Lists of Vessels for Baltimore and Philadelphia
- Passengers arriving in the St. Albans, VT District
- Records of the field offices for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
- Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards - Microfilm
I find that the search capabilities of the program are limited but persistence pays off in finding a lot of items that you may not realize have been digitized and are available for free reading or download.
The other big digitized record site is the HathiTrust.org. The HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions with currently 10,777,980 volumes of digitized titles from libraries around the world. Although the collection is overwhelmingly large, many of the books are online only as part of university or other library collections and available only to those who have access through those institutions. You can search and access fully viewable materials in HathiTrust, and download materials where there are no third-party restrictions. The HathiTrust.org currently has 25,216 books classified as genealogy of which 6,351 are currently classified in the public domain. There are also many, many more items classified in various history subjects, including 198,099 local histories of the United States, Great Britain, France and Latin America.
Numbers of records, volumes or collections are not a very useful measure of the value of any online collection. But in these two cases, there are a lot of very old and otherwise unavailable books online, including a large number of surname books. The broad reach of both of these collections and the fact that both are actively adding to the the number of books regularly, enhances the need to review both websites from time to time.