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TexShare Genealogy Update

2019 March 13
tags:
by Danielle Plumer

The TexShare subscription to HeritageQuest Online® will end on March 31, 2019. In December 2018, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission solicited online genealogy resources for the TexShare Databases Program. We specifically asked for resources that included a complete set of fully indexed US Census records with digitized images of the original records; we also expressed interest in additional schedules and records, ebooks, maps, and reference materials.

In the end, we were unable to enter into a contract with the qualified vendors who responded to our solicitation. We have re-posted the solicitation, but we will not be able to get a resource in place by April 1. Our earliest estimate for adding a new resource is May 1.

Because of the nature of TexShare, and the scope of the TexShare Databases Program, we require resources that can meet our technical specifications, listed at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texshare/techrequirements.html. Some of our specifications, such as conformance to Section 508, the federal accessibility standards, are required by Texas statute and by our federal funders. This can be a difficult standard to meet, particularly for genealogy and historical resources that rely on digitized images of original records.

While we are, at least temporarily, without genealogy content in the TexShare Databases core, there are other options for our libraries. Most of the content in genealogy sites like HeritageQuest Online® is in the public domain and so free of copyright restrictions. Any records or schedules created by the federal government are in the public domain, and many remaining records and publications are public domain due to their age. Because of this, much of the content in HeritageQuest Online® can be found in other free sources.

In order to provide support in this content area, we are working to compile a list of free alternatives for libraries to share with their patrons. Here are a few resources to start:

  • Family Search, provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, offers free access to numerous historical record collections from around the world. This is an important source for census records, Freedman’s Bank records, Native American census rolls, the U.S. Social Security Death Index, and marriage, birth and baptismal records from around the world. They also have a significant collection of family history books digitized from partner libraries, including the Allen County Public Library (IN) and the Dallas Public Library. Notes: Access to FamilySearch records requires a free FamilySearch account. TSLAC has not reviewed this resource for accessibility.
Infographic showing the 2018 review of FamilySearch, including number of searchable records and images (5.8 billion), total indexed records (3.98 billion), new historical records collections images (300 million), new images published in the catalog (277 million), and new book-scanning images (21 million).
FamilySearch, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Logo for Texas Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970
Texas Digital Sanborn Maps, available through TexShare (login required)
  • The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has several archival collections that have been digitized and are available for use:
    https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/genfirst.html#ARCResources
  • Ancestry.com Texas allows free access to additional TSLAC records that have been digitized by Ancestry and those materials are  made available to Texas residents. Note: This access requires the creation of a free Ancestry.com Texas account.

We are planning webinars on these and other genealogy resources to help you meet your patrons’ needs. If you have any questions, please contact texshare@tsl.texas.gov.

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