Sep 232014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


One of the best free online genealogical resources available today is Google Books.

Book Search works just like web search. Try a search on Google Books or on When we find a book with content that contains a match for your search terms, we’ll link to it in your search results.

If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given us permission, you’ll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it’s in the public domain, you’re free to download a PDF copy.

Google Books has thousands (and more) public domain books available, from the 1800’s and even earlier, free to download in their entirety.

Here are a few examples of free Google Books that I have found to supplement my family history research:

Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama, written in 1902“Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama”- published in 1902, contains the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision regarding a case involving my second great grand-aunt’s husband, Dr T J Bettis (1839-1899).





NBKennedy“Transactions of the Texas State Medical Association”- published in 1892, contains the text of speech given by my second great-grandfather, Dr N B Kennedy (1837-1897), lobbying for the creation of a hospital for those affected by alcoholism.





TJBennett“The Medico-legal Journal, Volume 12″- published in 1894, contains a 2-page bio of my second great grand-uncle, Dr T J Bennett (1854-1927), including date and place of birth, schools attended, wife’s maiden name and date of marriage, occupations prior to medicine, and location of first and current medical practice.




MFStanley“Cases and Points of the Supreme Court of the United States”- published in 1908, detailing the Court’s decision in a murder case where my second great-grandfather Miles F Stanley (1851-1935) testified as a witness, contains several pages of his testimony.




Sep 112014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Newspapers can play an important part in genealogical research, either directly (such as marriage announcements and obituaries) or indirectly (natural disasters, celebrations, wars, cost of living, local celebrities- all manner of lifetime events.)

Where can you find the actual newspaper pages, not transcriptions or quotes?

ChroniclingAmericaSearch America’s historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

As of today, Chronicling America contains 1469 newspapers for a total of 8,115,024 pages, from almost every state and the District of Columbia, and in 7 languages.

As an example of how valuable this database can be, I know next-to-nothing about my second great-grandfather, Joseph Rogers. What I do know is that his son, Charles Arthur Rogers, my great-grandfather, was born at Grassy Lick, near Mt Sterling, Kentucky in 1870. Joseph apparently died when Charles was a child. I know only his name, as it was given on Charles’ SS5, Application For Social Security Card from 1937. I have no census sheet, no land record, no probate document… nothing but that SS5.

But what I do have… is access to the Mt Sterling Advocate, published in Mt Sterling, Kentucky from 1890 to the present day. Chronicling America has issues from 1891 thru 1922. Now that’s a lot of pages to go through. The site does have OCR search capability, but as some of the newspapers are not in the best condition, that ability is somewhat limited. So I have been trying to examine each page for any mention of my 2GGF or his family.

A big job, but given the lack of other source data, it is at this time my best hope for finding my second great-grandfather!

Sep 032014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Need a place online to manage your genealogy-related bookmarks, free of charge?

pinterest-logoPinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.

Pins are visual bookmarks for good stuff you find anywhere around the web or right on Pinterest.

Boards are where you collect Pins by theme or topic.

As my old bookmark manager, Diigo, is changing its business model and apparently will no longer be free to use, I am moving my bookmarks to Pinterest.

I have set up “boards”, which are basically folders, for each category of bookmark, such as my Texas Genealogy Links board.

And there is a Pin It extension available, that when added to your browser, allows you to “pin” a site, or add that site to your bookmarks boards on Pinterest. Pretty simple!

Aug 202014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


WordPressThere are several free online blogging platforms out there, but the best, in my opinion, is

Open source WordPress is the most popular online publishing platform, currently powering more than 20% of the web. We wanted to bring the WordPress experience to an even larger audience, so in 2005 we created

We’re a hosted version of the open source software. Here, you can start a blog or build a website in seconds without any technical knowledge.

A site is totally free and very easy to set up. You will be online in minutes!

Features include:

  • Publicize- connect to social media
  • Stats- anyone stop by today?
  • Customize- spice up your site with themes, add functionality with widgets
  • Mobile- iOs, Android and Blackberry are welcome
  • Safe- secure, super-fast, always available
  • Private- or public, it’s up to you
  • Multilingual- supports over 50 languages
  • Support- forums, support pages, chatting if you need help
  • Media- put those pictures online!
  • Spam- Akismet pretty much catches all that garbage
  • Contributors- as many as you want

And most importantly for the genealogist: WordPress is a Content Management System. That means you can use it to create an entire website, just like CNN, TIME and TechCrunch and many others have done. Currently, WordPress alone powers about 23% of the Web.

Ruth’s Genealogy is proudly powered by WordPress.

Come on, join in the fun today!

Aug 022014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Do you have ancestors from Georgia? If so, there is a massive amount of original documents just waiting to be found at Georgia’s Virtual Vault:

This is your portal to some of Georgia’s most important historical documents, from 1733 to the present. The Virtual Vault provides virtual access to historic Georgia manuscripts, photographs, maps, and government records housed in the state archives.

Collections include:

A couple of documents that I have found recently include the marriage license for my second great-grandparents Harrison Wardlow McBurnett and Margaret C Brown, from 2 Dec 1875,

HarrisonWMcBurnett (9)and the Confederate Pension Application (a total of 18 pages) of my second great-granduncle James McBurnett from 1897.

James McBurnett Confederate Pension

“Sirs, you have no reason to be ashamed of your Confederate dead; see to it they have no reason to be ashamed of you.”
Robert Lewis Dabney, Chaplain for Stonewall Jackson



Jul 202014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


The Portal to Texas History is a wonderful resource for researchers studying Texas ancestors:

The Portal is a gateway to Texas history materials. You may discover anything from an ancestor’s picture to a rare historical map. From prehistory to the present day, you can explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections. The Portal continues to grow as additional partners contribute digital versions of their collections. We hope you’ll return often to discover our latest additions.

Portal to Texas History

This is a vast site, so be prepared to spend some time just looking around and getting the “feel” of the place. The search function is a bit difficult to master, but be patient. There is a wealth of genealogical data to be mined at The Portal to Texas History.

Some of my findings include 1909 and 1920 city directory pages listing my 2nd great-grandfather Miles Francis Stanley I and numerous 1800’s newspaper articles mentioning my 4th great-grandfather John Hamilton.



Jul 172014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


An ancestor’s census enumeration sheet is probably one of the very first documents a budding genealogist learns to look for. The United States Federal Census had been recorded every 10 years since 1790. These records have been carefully stored by the National Archives and Records Administration and are available for free to researchers through the 1940 edition, with the exception of the 1890 census, the majority of which was destroyed by fire.

There is, however, a catch. The records are available for free, but if you want access to online indexes and a search function so that you may more easily find your 4th great-grandfather, then you might have to pay to view these documents. has the complete set, 1790-1940 (only a very few of the 1890 records survive), with the 1880 and 1940 records available for free at this time. To see the rest, you must have a subscription. also has the complete set, but only the actual images for the years 1850, 1870, 1900 and 1940. For the other years, the data is available and searchable, but you have to hope that whoever transcribed them was correct, as you can’t view the documents themselves.

There is a third alternative, and it is the Internet Archive.

The record of the population census from 1790 to 1930. Scanned from microfilm from the collections of the Allen County Public Library and originally from the United States National Archives Record Administration.

The Internet Archive United States Census complete set 1790-1930 is available to view and download for free, but there is no index or ability to search.

But, if you know where to look, the images are there! can provide you with the location (state, county, enumeration district, page number), which you can then use to find the sheet you want in Internet Archive’s census collection.

Here is an example. I have an image of the 1910 census sheet for my great-grandfather, William Earl Hall. I downloaded it from HeritageQuest many years ago. But, as you can see, it’s not a very clear image.



So tonight, armed with the state, county, ED and page number of that document (information which I knew from my old image, but which is also available from, I went to the Internet Archive US Census collection and within about 10-15 minutes was able to locate and download my great-grandfather’s 1910 sheet.



And the second image is actually of a much better quality than the first.

For free!

Jul 162014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


If you have ancestors from the Republic of Texas, before it became the 28th state to join the Union in 1845, then you might want to check out the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database:

The Land Office Archives contains documents issued by the new Republic of Texas after winning independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of the most popular documents in the Archive relate to the land grant certificates issued to Texians who rendered military service in battle during the Texas Revolution, including William B. Travis, David Crockett and Sam Houston.

After annexation by the United States in 1845, Texas retained control of its public domain, unlike other western states, and continued to distribute its land. Prior to 1900, Texas was a cash poor state, and used land to secure and pay off debt, reward veterans, encourage economic development, finance public education and even in building the State Capitol.

I have one such ancestor: my 4th great-grandfather, John Hamilton, Jr, born in Ohio about 1810 and “arrived in this Republic in April 1836 as a Vol and has served a tour of duty in The Army of Texas…”

This document, dated 2 Apr 1838, notes John Hamilton’s arrival in Texas, his service with the Army of Texas, his subsequent entitlement of land… even his marital status.




Jul 152014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


I have several physicians in my RootsMagic database: 4 from Alabama, 1 from South Carolina and 2 from Texas.

The Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas maintains an institutional repository, the DigitalCommons @ TMC. Here can be found a massive database of Texas doctors, the Gazetteer of Deceased Texas Physicians (19th and 20th Century).

The Gazetteer lists physicians and information such as birth and death dates, date of graduation, specialty and primary location. Information is drawn from the Dallas Medical Journal (1920 – 1990), The Texas State Journal of Medicine (1905 – 1956), and the licensure records in the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Collection. Obituaries from state, regional and local sources were used as sources from 1990- 2009. This list is as comprehensive as time and resources allowed and does not purport to be complete.

At this time, the database is not searchable online; it is presented as downloadable pdfs, divided alphabetically into sections by the first letter of the physician’s last name.

Below is the data for my second great-granduncle, Thomas Joshua Bennett:

TJBennett creds

As you can see, his date of birth & death, the medical school he attended and the date of graduation, profession membership and medical specialty, even his obituary, are given.

While technically an index, it is still a wonderful resource for Texas research.


Jul 142014

This Genealogy On A Budget series presents links to free online genealogy databases, software and other items.


Do you have ancestors who entered marital bliss in Denton County, Texas? The Denton County Clerk website offers free search and download of marriages licenses:

The Denton County marriage records go back to 1875. In 1875, the courthouse burned and the records were destroyed. Marriage records are recorded in the county where the marriage license was purchased, not the county where the marriage took place.
You are welcome to search the marriage license records on our website for free at: Real Property Records Search website. You will need to select “Marriages Name Search” from the Search Criteria menu located in the top left corner of your screen. On this site you are able to research, view, and print copies of marriage licenses for free.

Note that the actual marriage search page is located at the Real Property Records Search site, so don’t be confused when you arrive.

Here is an example of a marriage license that I downloaded from this site:

Hall-Schad marriage license


This is the marriage license of my grandfather Victor Earl Hall and his second wife, Agnes Schad, dated 29 Feb 1936.

The site isn’t clear about the dates of the available licenses, and I have only the one couple that I know to be married in Denton County. However, a random search for the surname Turner returned records (images!) from 2013 and before, including a license for Alonzo Turner and Nannie A Wilson, dated 17 Apr 1876!

I wish I had more ancestors from Denton County, Texas!

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