This is a great online tool! Mollie Lynch of Clarkston, Michigan, is a retired librarian who decided to assist people wishing to find genealogy books. She knew that thousands of American biographies, genealogies and history books have been digitized and made available on the Internet, usually free of charge. However, there was no single resource of "what is available and where." Mollie decided to create that resource.
Mollie's web site, GenealogyBookLinks.com, provides links to freely available digital books, focusing on American biographies, genealogies, and history books. The site now contains more than 30,000 links from more than 35 sources (only the top sources are listed on the site). New books are being added to the list daily. The current focus is on surnames, directories, vital records, and identifying smaller sites with local area-specific books.
I was pleasantly surprised when I did a search for my own surname and found a number of books available, including one I had not seen before. A few seconds later, I was reading that book. It worked quickly and easily, all at no charge.
When searching through the thousands of digital books listed on this site, I noticed that the links lead to Google Books, The Internet Archive, Brigham Young University's ebooks, OpenLibrary.org, many university libraries, as well as to several other major and lesser-known online libraries of digital books.
In some ways, this is sort of the equivalent of "Cyndi's List" but for digital genealogy and history books. I also believe this is a perfect example of the digital libraries of the future: being able to find books on any topic, regardless of where they are available.
This site also is a great example of showing the value of digital librarians in the future. A person with expert knowledge of a topic can create lists of resources available. In this case, an expert genealogist with librarian experience is able to help thousands of online "patrons" around the world, instead of being limited to helping only the small number of patrons who are able to visit a physical library in person. In fact, it is possible that Mollie Lynch's efforts could help hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people find information about their ancestry or about the places where their ancestors lived.
I also might disagree with Mollie Lynch's use of the words "retired librarian." I don't think she is retired at all. In fact, it looks to me like she is now helping more people than ever!
GenealogyBookLinks.com focuses solely on American biographies, genealogies, and history books. However, as the years go by, I expect that we will see similar resources for thousands of other topics, thereby creating true digital libraries of books of all topics.
To use Mollie Lynch's GenealogyBookLinks.com, go to http://genealogybooklinks.com.
My thanks to James Duffy for telling me about this great resource.
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