Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Research Resource: Mardos Memorial Library

Back in November and December, we did a series on "The French Negroes of Illinois." It was a rather lengthy series compared to what we usually do here and it required more than usual research support. We found some of that research support at a unique site called Mardos Memorial Library of On-Line Books and Maps.

This site was created by Pam Mardos Rietsch in honor of her parents, Mary Bartashunas and Vitas Eugene "Bud" Mardos. As its name suggests, it consists mostly of maps and old books. The main attraction is Pam's own rendering of Rand McNally's 1895 "Atlas of the World." There are maps of the United States with indexes and a map of the world.

One very interesting feature is Pam's rendition (my word) of the 1891 Grain Dealers and Shippers Gazette. This contains maps and information about railroads that hauled freight across the nation. Although there's not a route map for every railroad, Pam has included an index of personnel at various stations on the lines. Perhaps you're related to J.H. Kingsley, the freight supervisor at East Clarendon on the Central Vermont Railway. Or maybe your great-grandfather was R. Green at Los Cerrillos, New Mexico, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. Or maybe your family tree includes one or more of a hundred others in the index.

Pam has also included such interesting but unusal items as the 1892 Gardiner's Atlas of English History, and the Pictorial History of the Locomotive, 1771-1899.

But by far the most useful part of the site are the various old books that Pam and her helpers have transcribed. They are organized by state for the most part; so, for example, under Colorado, you'll find "Portrait and Biographical Record of Denver and Vicinity," published in 1898. It has a comprehensive name index. For "The French Negroes" series, we found useful "The History of Southern Illinois."

Pam is adding more to the site all the time. It's a unique contribution to historical and genealogical researched on the Web and a special tribute to her parents. Spend some time there!

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