Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Few Interesting Resources

There are a number of educational gems hidden all around the Internet. Here are several that I like:

The Handbook of Texas Online
is a joint venture of the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at the University of Texas. It is described as "a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture." The Handbook contains articles on all aspects of Texas. I began using it awhile ago primarily for geographical information about Texas. Now I'm using it often for biographical material. For example, as I have been researching the Sanford family, I recently came across the biography of James McEuin Sanford, the son of John Thompson Sanford and Nancy Theodocia Hay. The biography filled in some gaps in my knowledge of the Sanfords in Texas.

The Handbook has an excellent search engine as well as tabbed links to other publications and programs of the Texas State Historical Association, including the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. This is an essential bookmark if you're doing Texas research.

Very similar to the Handbook of Texas Online is the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. It's cosponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Press. It's as easy to use as the Texas Handbook and just as comprehensive.

The other day, I mentioned Google Books. Another Google service is Google Scholar, which is a way to search for scholarly papers. Don't be afraid to look for scholarly papers about your ancestors or their localities. Many entries in Google Search have links to find a library near you where the material might be found. If the nearest library is a long distance from you, you can go to your local library and ask to get the material on interlibrary loan. Some entries on Google Search have a link to services like BL Direct, a UK-based service (operated by the British Library) that lets you search academic journals for free and then order full-text articles for a small fee.

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