The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) has an online repository it calls The Gateway. On it you can freely browse through hundreds of thousands of newspaper pages dating from the 1840s to the 1920s. In partnership with the Oklahoma Press Association, the OHS has been collecting and preserving Oklahoma newspapers since 1893.

It currently has more than 183,000 newspapers from across the state and continues to add editions to its collection. This includes 10 newspapers published for and by African Americans.

To learn more about the Gateway to Oklahoma History, visit it’s website at https://gateway.okhistory.org

Family Search website grows

The Family Search website is the most extensive free genealogy website and it just keeps growing. Last year, it added about 300 million indexed records to its collection; these indexes are names you can search in its databases. And another 1 billion digitized documents images are to be indexed.

About 300 camera crews are digitizing 150 million images in 45-50 countries every year, plus oral histories. They are giving priority to records that are at risk of destruction or deterioration.

This huge project would not be possible without the 81,000 volunteers around the world who indexed 58 million records in 2017.

Is it any wonder that when you access FamilySearch.com, you lose track of time?

National Archives

The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was established by the Congress in 1934 to preserve and protect all the records of the US Government. Throughout our history, such records were located in basements, attics, abandoned buildings and in unsecured storage facilities; they needed to be transferred to a centralized and secure location and categorized.

If you want to do genealogy research in person, you don’t have to travel to Washington. Today you can visit a Regional Archive or Research Center across the country, from San Francisco to Boston. The nearest one to Oklahoma is located in Fort Worth.

The Archives also maintains the libraries and museums for 13 presidents — from Hoover through Obama. These, too, are open to the public.

To learn more, go to www.archives.gov.

Heritage museums

There are a variety of heritage and cultural museums across the United States that provide visitors with details on their ethnic history. Here are a few:

In New Orleans there is the American Italian Cultural Center; Chicago has the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the Irish American Heritage Center and the Swedish American Museum; in Tahlequah is the Cherokee Heritage Center; New York City has the Museum of Jewish Heritage; Albuquerque has the National Hispanic Cultural Center; and in Cincinnati there is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

All have websites so anyone interested in visiting one of these centers can do an internet search to learn its address, the hours of operation and exactly what is in its collection. Many have genealogical records.

State archives

Every state in the union maintains an archive that is a treasure trove of historical documents, journals, registers, maps and photographs.

And for those doing family history research, a state archive is the place to go for state, county and local records, such as vital records, censuses, court and institutional records, land grants and deeds, family papers, maps, surveys, military records, photos and more.

Each state has its own history so each state archive varies in its collections and organization. Some are part of a state historical society, some combine their functions with a library.

In your research, always contact a state archive, as it may have records found nowhere else.

Recommended for you