Internet Archive

My Ancestor on the NY Voter Registration List

It’s Election Day and I just had to do this post. This past weekend, the Reclaim the Records initiative announced their success in releasing the New York List of Registered Voters in 1924 – all of them now available online through the Internet Archive.  And, it is absolutely wonderful to have!

My own family has New York roots, so I was eager to look for them.  My maternal grandfather, Herman Robinson, was born in New York in 1926. His parents, Lewis (or Louis depending on the record) and Lucinda Robinson moved to New York sometime between 1918-1920. From the 1920 census record, I knew they lived on 63rd Street in Manhattan Assembly District 5.

1920 US Census - Louis & Lucinda Robinson and family. Manhattan, NY.

1920 US Census – Louis & Lucinda Robinson and family. Manhattan, NY. (

Since the list of registered voters is organized by Assembly district within each of the 5 boroughs, getting to the Manhattan Assembly District Records was a snap. There are 24 districts in Manhattan, so I quickly navigated to the set for Assembly District 5. The document has optical character recognition, so I searched for the name Robinson and found my family on the very last page, on 63rd street, just where they should be.

Louis Robinson is listed at 230 W. 63rd street – along with others who share the same address, including neighbor Frank Seabrook (who also appears near him in the 1920 census).

1924 Manhattan Assembly District 5 Voters

1924 Manhattan Assembly District 5 Voters

Thank you Reclaimed Records for making these records freely available! I hope my great-grandfather voted. My great-grandmother is not on the registration list, so she probably didn’t, but I am glad my family recognized the importance.

I voted early for this year’s election and I hope everyone else has voted or is voting today!





Come Browse My Genealogy Digital Bookshelf

Approximately two years ago, I created an online site to help me organize all the great books and resources I was finding on the Internet Archive’s website. I call it my Genealogy Digital Bookshelf. I have been posting to it sporadically, but have been using it pretty regularly as my genealogy research takes me from state to state. 

Recently, I decided to freshen-up the site and will start posting to it more regularly.   I updated the theme, and added several pictures of libraries – just to make it feel more “authentic.”    🙂

I encourage you to follow along – you never know what may turn out to be of interest.  There is an RSS Feed, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.  Visit the site – look on the right sidebar and choose. 



Mocavo’s New Yearbook Collection Not All Really Theirs?

Yesterday, released a new collection of yearbooks.  I was so ecstatic to see this!  

 I enjoy looking through old yearbooks.  A couple of years ago I created a yearbook index for the NCGenWeb Project.  To date, I’ve indexed more than 30,000 names from close to 500 yearbooks.  And where did those yearbooks come from that I’ve indexed? Mostly, yearbooks digitized by the NC Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC).  The group has been very active in the past couple of years digitizing yearbooks from across the state.  The digitized yearbooks are hosted on the Internet Archive, and then also viewable on the DigitalNC website.  The 500 I’ve indexed are only a part of what they’ve done –  so, I am quite familiar with their collection.   

Thus, naturally, as I started to explore Mocavo’s yearbook collection, I began by looking to see what they had available from North Carolina (well, yesterday you could filter by state — that feature is interestingly enough missing today).


But then, my “inner librarian” started to get suspicious.


I quickly realized that many of the titles I was seeing were the same ones put on the Internet Archive by the NCDHC.  I also searched yearbooks from other states that I have listed on my Genealogy Digital Bookshelf website, and see the same – -many on that list (which are all from the Internet Archive) were also in Mocavo’s database. 

Here are the problems…

  • You wouldn’t know that the Internet Archive is the source of these yearbooks.  Mocavo’s statement on the front page of the collection is that they  (as in Mocavo) “put” the yearbooks online. There is no mention that the IA is the source for the material.
  • Each yearbook has a watermark imprint in the bottom left corner that reads “Hosted by Mocavo.”  Does this mean that Mocavo took the file and placed it on their servers? They may not have the right to do that.
  • Some of the yearbooks are still under copyright.  Their placement in the Internet Archive does not necessarily bypass that – the 1953 yearbook of Wake Forest University is just one such example.  The 1936 Kent State yearbook is another. Their copyright statements state that images and texts cannot be used without permission and/or proper citation and acknowledgement is requested.  Did Mocavo seek permission from all copyright holders before putting yearbook digital files on the Mocavo servers? 
I do not doubt that Mocavo has added their own original  yearbooks to this collection.  And, their solicitation for people to send in their yearbooks is great. However, to claim that they put all of these online, when they did not, and w/o any attribution to the Internet Archive or to the organizations/libraries that digitized the yearbooks, is something that needs to be corrected.  At the minimum, I would encourage the company to be more transparent as to the sources of the yearbooks from the Internet Archive.  Especially given the very recent post on copyright infringement on the Mocavo blog. 
I have tried to get in touch with a Mocavo reprsentative, but my contact request, email, and twitter messages have not been answered as of yet. 
I would love to hear from someone at the company about this.  I am hopeful someone can clear this up.  Perhaps they do have an agreement of sorts? I would love to know!  If not, then I hope they make some adjustments. 
Oh, and please bring back the ability to filter by state and city.  Location is paramount for genealogical research! 
Update 11/10/12 — I finally had the opportunity to exchange some emails with Mocavo about their collection.  They informed me that the yearbooks were purchased from a 3rd-party who has license agreements to provide the images.  I hope that this third party does indeed.  However,  I do still feel that the partnership with this company could have been made more transparent.  

The Genealogy Digital Bookshelf

How familiar really are genealogists with the wealth of materials available on the Internet Archive (IA)?  Since RootsTech, I’ve seen more discussion and awareness than I’d seen before then as the IA’s founder, Brewster Kahle was a keynote speaker, but the site is still, in my opinion, vastly under-appreciated.  I’ve been using IA extensively for several years now and only continue to be amazed by the books that are added on an ongoing basis.

As a user, I faced a big challenge though – how was I going to keep up with all the books! What if I saw a book/item that I wanted to be sure I did not lose sight? In the past I’ve used bookmarks, spreadsheets, and other conventions, but was never truly happy.  I wanted to be able to share what I was finding, promote the material, and try to get it in the eyes of people who could really use it.  Unfortunately, the native IA and Open Library interfaces don’t make it the easiest to find resources by geographic location nor formats (two key considerations for genealogists), as their keyword & subject terminology is not standardized.

So, using my favorite content management system, WordPress, I started my Genealogy Digital Bookshelf (GDB) website.  I formally made it in December, but over the past few months have been tweaking it & debating with myself if others would find it useful.  But you know what? I find it useful, so I’m sure someone else will!  I set up one for the NCGenWeb Project, the NC Digital Bookshelf,  exactly a year ago and that has been well-received.  Thus, the GDB does not have NC materials, but you’ll find items relevant to other states.

Genealogy Digital Bookshelf Website


Books are organized by format first, then by geographic location and added as I have time to do.  I started monitoring additions to the site in late 2009, so most books will have been added since then.  I am a big fan of the FamilySearch Research Wiki so will add links to books I find at IA to the appropriate wiki page too, but I find value in the grouping by format that I’ve established so will do both as I can.  Let me know what you think of the site!

P.S.  I have to say that I was inspired by several others in the geneasphere.  I rely on each of them to help me locate pertinent materials!





Internet Archive Instead of ContentDM?

Here is news that I like to hear! The Internet Archive (IA)  posted recently that the Montana State Library has made the decision to use IA as their institutional repository in lieu of the contentDM platform.  I’m a fan of the Internet Archive; the variety of their offerings is incredible.  ContentDM is a popular choice among libraries for hosting digital content, but I find their system much less user-friendly – particularly in the display & navigation options.  I could do a whole separate blog post on that!

The Montana State Library has placed 3,000 digital items there so far, and ultimately expects to have about 55,000 items.  I have no genealogical interests whatsover in Montana, but this type of news excites me since I believe there is a lot of potential yet untapped for IA.   And just as a note — Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, will be a keynote speaker at the RootsTech conference.  I’ll have my ears open for any other news that may come from them. 🙂

Some RootsTech Inspiration

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, is a keynote speaker at the upcoming RootsTech 2011 conference.   I’m planning a couple of posts within the next 14 days or so around the Internet Archive, so this seemed especially appropriate to post about him.  As he, I too am a librarian, and I am absolutely in love with the Internet Archive.   I only wish I would have a chance to see him speak at RootsTech, but here is a speech he made for a TED talk back in 2008 explaining the establishment and processes behind the Internet Archive.  A must-watch for all those attending RootsTech.

More Compiled Service Records @ Internet Archive

The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center has added more compiled service records to the Internet Archive.  One of the latest additions are the Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served with the United States Colored Troops: 1st through 6th Calvary.  There are 107 reels in this collection.  For more information about these records, read a detailed overview.

These are also available at and are 39% complete at Footnote.  But, at the Internet Archive they are free!  NARA should add these to their list of microfilm digitized by partners.

These records have been indexed in the book

1st United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 1 – Ackess, Alexander – Bom, John H.
  • Reel 2 – Bomer, James – Cartwright, John
  • Reel 3 – Casey, Thomas – Davenport, John J.
  • Reel 4 – Davis, Augustus – Floyd, George
  • Reel 5 – Fly, Benjamin – Griffin, Oliver
  • Reel 6 – Griffin, Quinton – Holstead, Peter
  • Reel 7 – Holt, George – Jones, Herbert
  • Reel 8 – Jones, Howell – Macoy, Peter
  • Reel 9 – Madry, Andrew – Mosley, Jacob
  • Reel 10 – Moss, James – Polk, James
  • Reel 11 – Pollard, Sipio – Sales, William
  • Reel 12 – Sample, Abram (Abraham) – Smith, Ives
  • Reel 13 – Smith, James – Times, Nelson
  • Reel 14 – Tines, Archer – Wheldon, Charles M.
  • Reel 15 – Whitby, Joseph – Wilson, Isaac
  • Reel 16 – Wilson, James – Zoe (no first name)

2d United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 17 – Abbot, John – Bell, Charles
  • Reel 18 – Bell, Henry – Burns, Richard
  • Reel 19 – Burroughs, George L. – Cotton, Samuel
  • Reel 20 – Coues, Alexander – Duncan, Levi
  • Reel 21 – Dunkins, Ezikiah James – Gardner, Richard
  • Reel 22 – Garris, Henry – Harrison, Thomas
  • Reel 23 – Harrison, William – Humphries, David
  • Reel 24 – Hunter, Francis – Jones, Robert
  • Reel 25 – Jones, Robert F. – Martin, Robert (Martin)
  • Reel 26 – Martin, Thaddeus – Osborne, Henry S.
  • Reel 27 – Oulden, Jacob – Prior, Edward or Edmund
  • Reel 28 – Proctor, David – Sawyer, Wilson
  • Reel 29 – Scabber, Charles – Stanley, William
  • Reel 30 – Stanley, Wright or Right – Upshear, Neverson
  • Reel 31 – Upshear, Samuel – Whites, Joe
  • Reel 32 – Whites, Silas – Zodrick, Isaiah A. or Isaiah

3d United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 33 – Aaron, John – Black, David
  • Reel 34 – Black, Richard – Cameron, Wyatt
  • Reel 35 – Cammel, Austin – Cooper, Stephen
  • Reel 36 – Coran, Joseph – Erving, Tilson
  • Reel 37 – Erwin, Anderson – Gool, George
  • Reel 38 – Gordon, Alfred – Haskins, Jasper
  • Reel 39 – Hawkins, Frank – Jackson, Harvey
  • Reel 40 – Jackson, Henry – Kembro, Abraham
  • Reel 41 – Kenedy, Lemuel – Lott, Judge
  • Reel 42 – Lott, Matton – Mitchell, Berry
  • Reel 43 – Mitchell, George – Pettis, Edmond
  • Reel 44 – Pettis, George – Roberson, Jefferson
  • Reel 45 – Roberson, Wallace – Simpson, Levi
  • Reel 46 – Sims, Anderson – Taylor, Phillip
  • Reel 47 – Taylor, Richard – Washington, Isaac
  • Reel 48 – Washington, Oscar – Williams, Mitchel
  • Reel 49 – Williams, Moses – Young, Mathew

4th United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 50 – Abraham, Randall – Blanchan, William
  • Reel 51 – Blanchard, Moses – Clark, Moses
  • Reel 52 – Clark, Theodore – Ellars, James
  • Reel 53 – Ellars, John – Heath, Culbert
  • Reel 54 – Henderson, George – Johnson, Henderson
  • Reel 55 – Johnson, Henry – Mayberry, Nelson
  • Reel 56 – Macomory, John – Oliver, Celestine
  • Reel 57 – Olsten, Alexander – Robinson, William
  • Reel 58 – Robinson, William E. – Thomas, Stephen
  • Reel 59 – Thomas, William – Williams, Horace
  • Reel 60 – Williams, Isaac – Zulia, Francois

5th United States Colored Calvary

  • Reel 61 – Abel, Fletcher – Biggs, Randall
  • Reel 62 – Birch, Benjamin – Burly, Frank
  • Reel 63 – Burly, James – Coffman, James D.
  • Reel 64 – Coke, Samuel – Dudley, John
  • Reel 65 – Duke, John – Givens, Peter
  • Reel 66 – Glen, John – Harriden, Edmund
  • Reel 67 – Harrigan, Harden – Hughes, Thomas
  • Reel 68 – Hulse, James – Keller, Ephraim
  • Reel 69 – Kelley, Franklin-Matthews, Benjamin
  • Reel 70 – Maupin, Preston – Murry, Ned
  • Reel 71 – Murtney, Morton – Ray, John
  • Reel 72 – Ray, Thomas – Sherrod, Willliam
  • Reel 73 – Shrewsbury, Joseph – Stone, John
  • Reel 74 – Stone, Lewis – Trye, Benjamin
  • Reel 75 – Trueheart, Samuel – Williams, James
  • Reel 76 – Williams, Jerry – Yowell, Joseph

5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored)

  • Reel 77 – Abbey, David – Biers, William
  • Reel 78 – Billings, Jeremiah – Burgess, Williams
  • Reel 79 – Burnett, Lewis – Cook, Joseph T.
  • Reel 80 – Cooper, Isaac – Dunmore, William
  • Reel 81 – Durbin, Stephen – Furman, Seneca A.
  • Reel 82 – Gadson, James – Gurley, Joseph L.
  • Reel 83 – Guy, James – Hill, John W.
  • Reel 84 – Hill, Richard – Johns, Thomas H.
  • Reel 85 – Johnson, Aaron – Lambert, William
  • Reel 86 – Lancaster, James – Mason, John
  • Reel 87 – Mason, John H. – Nelson, Philip
  • Reel 88 – Nelson, Preston – Preston, Thomas
  • Reel 89 – Price, Adam – Sampson, George P.
  • Reel 90 – Sanborn, Madison – Stringer, William
  • Reel 91 – Strother, Frank – Vance, William H.
  • Reel 92 – Van Hoesen, Charles – Wilkinson, Simon
  • Reel 93 – Williams, Abram H. – Young, Thomas

6th United States Colored Cavalry

  • Reel 94 – Abbot, John – Birch, James
  • Reel 95 – Bivins, Gabriel – Buckner, George
  • Reel 96 – Buckner, Henderson – Compton, James
  • Reel 97 – Cook, Benjamin – Ellis, William
  • Reel 98 – Ellis, Wyatt – Godley, Isaac
  • Reel 99 – Gooch, Alexander – Herston, Abraham
  • Reel 100 – Heywood, John R. – Johnson, Jackson
  • Reel 101 – Johnson, James M. – Marshall, Lyman
  • Reel 102 – Marshall, William – Neihardt, Isaac D.
  • Reel 103 – Nelson, Joseph – Redd, Tiney
  • Reel 104 – Redway, Hamilton K. – Sebree, Bob Woodcock
  • Reel 105 – Sebree, Crittenden – Sumpter, John
  • Reel 106– Sutherland, Williams – Washington, Charles
  • Reel 107 – Washington, George – Wren (no first name)

Internet Archive RSS Feeds

Today on her AnceStories blog, Miriam gave me a shout-out in reference to sharing directories added to the Internet Archive (IA).   Thanks Miriam for the mention.  It prompted me to write this post to share the fact that I’ve been subscribing to IA feeds for several months now and I find it an easy way to keep track of new items.  The IA is such a vast repository of information (they recently hit the 2 million book mark), that every family history researcher should explore it.

Let me share with you some of the feeds I follow (each header is a link to their feed)

And there are so many more!  If you don’t subscribe, you will definitely want to pick at least a couple to follow.  Who knows what you’ll stumble across?

NARA Records: Eastern Cherokee Applications Going Online

The Allen County Public Genealogy Center crew is doing it up! They’ve started adding another collection of NARA microfilm to the Internet Archive.  I’ve already posted about the following two collections

The latest collection is that of the Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906—1909 (M1104). This record set is a collection of 348 rolls of microfilm of applications submitted for by Cherokee tribe members for money appropriated for them by Congress on June 30, 1906.  Applicants had to prove they were members of the Eastern Cherokee tribe during 1835, 1836 & 1845 treaties.  More information about them can be found on the NARA website.  The Eastern Cherokee Reservation consists of approximately 56,668 acres in five counties in North Carolina: Cherokee, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain Counties.

Just as I’ve done with the other collections, I’ve started a spreadsheet for tracking updates (at the time of this writing, there was only one reel, but ACPL should be adding more).

Similar to the Compiled Service Records, these too are also on   There are indexes to Volume 1 & 2 of the collection to make it easier to locate persons of interest. The index is in abc order by surname and provides name, state & application number.  The applications are rich with genealogical data; often providing details of 4 generations.  They are definitely worth taking a look.  Here is a direct link to the first reel they’ve added.

Open Library Just Made My Week!

This is just one of those totally geeky librarian moments you’re about to read about.

Two days ago, the Open Library project announced a soft-launch of their new interface. The Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive with a goal to have one page for every book.

I am a fan of the Internet Archive; you may have noticed several blog posts of mine the past few weeks announcing resources I’ve located through IA.   It is a fantastic resource.  However, the navigability of books at the IA leave much to be desired.  The Open Library project helps overcome some of the limitations and is actively seeking to encourage collaboration.

Why does the new Open Library project make me so happy?  For awhile now I’ve longed for a way to contribute information so that we can all as researchers

  • be aware when a book exists in digital format online
  • contribute to lacking information about a book if we have additional data to add (e.g.  a PDF to the index, or list the Table of Contents)

I’ve sought this out via other means:

  • FamilyLink’s GenSeek (it’s current iteration as a Facebook App) did not meet my expectations.  Though I could link to the electronic location of the book online the record did not update to reflect it’s electronic status.
  • has great potential and I’ve shared feedback with the development team there.  They think it’s a great idea; already partner with Google Books, and have explored how they can further work with the Internet Archive.  It’s just later on in their development cycle.

But, Open Library let’s me do it!  Check it out (pun intended, ha!).

Step 1: I do a search for a book that was recently added to the Internet Archive yesterday,  The Ingersolls of Hampshire: a genealogical history of the family from their settlement in America, in the line of John Ingersoll of Westfield, Mass. The book was added to the IA February 18th, 2010, but the Open Library record does not have it marked an e-book.  Nor does it indicate it can be borrowed from any library.  Well, guess what?  We can change it for Open Library is a wiki!!

Step 2: To edit the record to change it’s status as not an ebook and not able to borrowed,  you go in and edit the ID Numbers section.  Clicking on Edit brings up all the data about the book and on the tab labeled What’s It About? you can edit the ID Numbers section.  There is  a drop down list of options to choose from including “Internet Archive”  & “OCLC”.     Grab the ID number from the IA URL (the portion of the URL that comes after the /details/) and get the OCLC number from the WorldCat entry and add them to the information already there:

Step 3: Go to the bottom of the page and click Save and guess what happens?

The record is immediately changed and others will now know of it’s availability as an ebook and link to the record to find it at a library.

Their new site logo says “Ever Wanted to Play Librarian? It’s Okay. We All Do.”  Well, I am a librarian and I naturally want to play librarian for genealogy resources.  Open Library just helped me accomplish that.   You may still be wondering why this means so much to mean, but believe me, this has implications and stirs up many ideas and potential uses.  Expect another blog post pretty soon from me outlining some of them.    This is Librarianship 2.0  and/or Genealogy 2.o at some of it’s finest if you ask me.   🙂