Elephants, Memory, Wisdom, and fantastic free genealogy research with HathiTrust

I love teaching about the many websites that have digitized books, pamphlets, articles, and more. One of these is HathiTrust. I tell the class or audience that the URL is in the handout or syllabus. They scurry to find it. I get quizzical looks. They hear me saying Hah-tee Trust, not Hah-thee. Hah-tee is the correct pronunciation.

Rudyard Kipling named an elephant Hathi in his Jungle Book series. Hathi is a Hindi word for elephant and elephants remember and have wisdom. HathiTrust and its partners is helping us all to remember all these wonderful published materials.

As the website states, “HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. This material is in the public domain, in other words not protected by copyright.”

Among the valuable finds on HathiTrust for me are WPA Historical Records Surveys, old laws and statutes, railroad accident investigation reports, county histories, history journals, family histories, Quaker Meeting records, church anniversary booklets, church record abstracts, military history, GAR publications, and the list goes on and on. (and on)

I did a general search on the main page for “james e. stuart” chicago. I received 1,559 hits and most do refer to my Great Granduncle Brigadier General James E. Stuart and his military and postal service careers.

From my own computer I have access to most of the material. I can limit to full view material and on the left hand side of a general search, I can limit the search in many ways including publication dates, time periods, place of publication, what partner the book or journal came from, and other parameters. Wild card searches work in HathiTrust. An advanced search offers more parameters.  Have some fun with searches on it and you will be amazed at the breadth of what is available.  https://www.hathitrust.org/

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