Digital Family History Books Now Available on FamilySearch

Imagine my surprise when I saw that FamilySearch has been scanning and uploading their collection of Family History Books to their website!  Wait, it gets better!  Books from the Allen County Public Library (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), the Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research (Houston, Texas), and the Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center (Independence, Missouri), among others, are also going to be included!  What a wealth of information provided online, for free!

From FamilySearch: At present, the bulk of the books being digitized are English-language compiled genealogies that are out of copyright or whose authors have granted permission for the books to be placed online.

During the month of June 2012, more than 1,500 books were added.  I was curious to see what exactly would be available in the “one horse town” little parish my maternal family is from, East Carroll Parish, LA.

When I conducted a search, a number of books appeared.  When I clicked the link for a book, a PDF appeared that was searchable.  I was not taken directly to the instance in the book that East Carroll Parish appeared.  Fret not, this is not a problem but actually something that can be preferred by a lot of researchers.

AS OCR (optical character recognition) software improves, so will how accurate search results are. Sometimes, when you search initially on a page, you may get a “false hit” depending on how the search the search is coded in the website.  When you search within a PDF, there can be a less of a chance for you to get a false hit.  Searching a PDF that has had OCR applied is available at the top of the PDF window in the search space.

One thing I learned new was about a levee breach in the parish on May 30, 1893:

“…a break occurred in East Carroll parish, and by May 30 it AA-as 3,000 feet wide. Over 5,000 people were driven from their homes and were sheltered in two large camps.” – Page 429*

I also learned about how mentally ill people were apportioned to different state “insane asylums” based on the parish of their residence:

Insane Asylums.—People of Louisiana so unfortunate as to be afflicted with mental disease are now cared for in two large and complete hospitals—one located at Jackson and the other at Pineville.
The insane are apportioned between the IAVO institutions according to residence. Patients are received at the Insane Asylum of Louisiana at Jackson, who come from the first district, which comprises the parishes of Ascension. Assumption, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Aladison, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Terrebonne, Washington. West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana; and at the Hospital for the Insane at PineA-ille from the second district, comprising the parishes of AA’oyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula. Claiborne, De Soto, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Jackson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Bapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Union, A^ernon, Webster, Winn, Acadia, St. Landry, St. Martin, St, Alary, Vermilion, West Carrol], Allen, Beauregard, Jeff Davis and Evangeline. – Page 565*

*Source:  Fortier, Alcee. Louisiana: Comprising Sketches of Parishes, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form V.1. Biographical ed. Vol. 1. N.p.: Century Historical Association, 1914. N. pag. FamilySearch. FamilySearch. Web. 29 Aug. 2012. <>.

I’d be interested to see what you can locate by utilizing this new, free service.  Comment below if it’s been useful!

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