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My 5 Favorite LibGuides

It’s no secret that I love LibGuides and as a family historian, you should too. LibGuides are research guides on topics and repositories that span a wide range of subjects including genealogy.

I’m certain that if you start searching on the LibGuides website you’ll find something to help you research  your genealogy. To get you started, here are 5 of my favorite LibGuides that I think you will want to take a look at and add to your own list of must-have resources.

1) Short History of Military Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Short History of Military Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

For those researching a war time nurse, this LibGuide on military nursing is a must. Spanning World War I to the Vietnam War, readers are provided with resources, books, and videos on historic nursing. Make sure to explore the drop-down menus found by hovering your mouse on each tab, to uncover additional books and videos for each conflict. In some cases these videos include interviews and historic footage such as World War II era training videos for US Navy nurses. On the US Cadet Nursing Corps page are links to Ancestry.com records collection for the Nursing Corps and dissertations written about these nurses. These resources will undoubtedly help you bring your military nurses’ service to life.

2) Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers: General Info from the BYU Library

  Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers: General Info from the BYU Library

Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah includes genealogical relevant resources and their more than 400 LibGuides reflect that. The Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers: General Info guide includes map links for historical and modern-day maps and gazetteers. A tab labeled Genealogy Aids includes maps from the US, England, Scotland, Germany and Denmark some of which are housed in digitized books. The Most Popular tab reveals a link to the BYU Map Collection on Internet Archive with over 300 maps. While a few of the resources mentioned in this guide are only available to users of the BYU library, there’s more than enough free mapping resources here to help you with your genealogy. Do yourself a favor and spend some time perusing the other BYU Subject Guides including the Family History/Genealogy Subject Guide  for more resources.

3) Archives and Archival Resources from the University of Notre Dame

Archives and Archival Resources from the University of Notre Dame

This Archives and Archival Resources guide is HUGE! It is packed with all kinds of materials about researching archives, archival locations and more. The downside is that some pages were either not working or not complete when I last looked at it but, nevertheless, I wanted to turn your attention to the Paleography section of this guide. This section explains that “Paleography (or Paleography) is the study and analysis of handwriting in order to read old texts with accuracy and fluency. It focuses on studying letter forms and conventions used, such as abbreviations. In addition, paleography also involves dating manuscripts and identifying the location of, called ‘localizing’, the writing used.” Paleography tutorials are essential as you get further back in your family history research. Notice that the Online Tutorial and Resources section includes tutorials for reading English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Latin, Portuguese and Spanish & Latin America texts. This is a great starting point for learning more about reading historical texts and documents you come across as you research.

4) History, U.S. & Canada: Primary Sources by Century from University of Southern California (USC)

History, U.S. & Canada: Primary Sources by Century from University of Southern California (USC)

This list of “primary sources” (genealogists use the term original sources) from the 17th to the 20th century in the United States and Canada is a section of the History, U.S. & Canada Research Guide. The downside of this wonderful list of sources is that many are found in subscription websites found only  at academic institutions (a good reason to plan a field trip!). When viewing this page, make sure to click on the Primary Sources tab to reveal a drop-down menu with lists of primary sources by century, events, topics & subject, and region. The Event & Era resources provide rich social history websites that explore the topics of  African American Pamphlets, Salem Witch Trial, and America in the 1930s. There is so much here to explore and add to the story of your ancestor’s life.

5) Genealogy by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Libraries

Genealogy by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Libraries

While this last LibGuide won’t be useful to everyone, I wanted to mention it to give you a sense of what genealogy information you might find in a LibGuide. For those with New England ancestors, this genealogy LibGuide from the University of Massachusetts is a must. Topics covered include Cemeteries, Church Records, City Directories, Cookbooks, Land Records, Marriage Records, Massachusetts Archives, Mayflower Records, US Newspapers, Probate Records, Photography, Tax Records, and Vital Records. While this LibGuide focuses on the collection of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library,  you may find similar titles available at other libraries or online including the University’s Internet Archive account with 14, 500 digitized titles.

What Will You Explore First?

LibGuides provide everything family history researchers need including resources, tips, and information. Enhance your research by searching for a LibGuide on the subject, place, or repository you'd like to visit. There's so much to explore!


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.


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