Ancestry.com, one of the largest online genealogy sources, has annouced the expansion of its collection of military records. Items in the collection span the entire history of United States military involvements, from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam. Materials include draft registrations, muster rolls, enlistment records, pension applications, and gravesite registers. In addition to these typical military records, the database also includes items such as United Newsreel motion pictures and scanned editions of Stars and Stripes.
Ancestry.com is a subscription-based website, but from now through the anniversary of D-Day (June 6) access to the Military Collection will be free. (You will have to register using your email address.) To explore the collection, visit Ancestry.com.
The Charleston County Public Library maintains an institutional subscription to the Library Edition of Ancestry.com. Access via CCPL is free to the public, but the site must be viewed from within one our locations. This is not one of our remote-access databases. Call or email the SC Room for more details.
As digitization projects become more prolific on the Internet, it is becoming increasingly possible for scholars to gain access to often obscure and rare texts. The unfettered access offered by these digital galleries can be an indispensable tool for researchers. One such website available free to the public is Internet Archive.
Internet Archive is a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose stated mission is “offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format”. The archive contains numerous audio and video files, as well as over 200,000 texts. To maximize accessibility, texts are often available in various formats, such as PDF, Text, Flipbook, and DjVu.
Internet Archive contains several items that are specifically relevant to researchers interested in Charleston history. Examples include:
A History of the Calhoun Monument at Charleston, S.C by Ladies Calhoun
Monument Association (1888)
Moses Lindo: a sketch of the most prominent Jew in Charleston in Provincial days by Barnet A. Elzas (1903)
The Siege of Charleston And the Operations on the South Atlantic Coast In the War Among the States
by Samuel Jones, C.S.A. (1911)
The Flag Replaced on Sumter: a personal narrative by William Arnold Spicer (1885)
For these books and many more, visit the Internet Archive.
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One of the most useful online resources for the avid researcher is WorldCat, “the world’s largest network of library content and services”. Thousands of libraries around the world provide OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) with information about their collection content, including books, periodicals, microfilm, DVDs, and CDs. All of this content is then integrated in the WorldCat database, essentially creating one gigantic online library catalog. While not all libraries and research institutions participate, many public libraries, universities, and even the Library of Congress list their materials in WorldCat. Best of all, since August of 2006, access is free to the public.
This development has major implications for researchers. Now, if your local library doesn’t have a particular item you need for your studies, you can go to WorldCat and quickly determine which (if any) institution does own it. WorldCat will even link you directly to the institution’s website. Armed with this knowledge, you can ask your local library’s Interlibrary Loan department if they are able to order the item for you. Or you can simply visit the owning institution yourself.
Try WorldCat yourself at: http://www.worldcat.org