Historical Research Resources

Resources to Help Students with Historical Research

Here is a list of resources to help you on your research journey. It is not comprehensive and I don't think I could create a comprehensive list. It includes some guides to historic research and, in places, I have linked to others who have provided extensive focused lists.

I've sorted these into categories, but clearly there will be overlap and many of these links take you to resources that have a lot of additional resources. Also check out Style and Citations and Digital History for more resources and tools. Welcome down the rabbit hole....

Local History and Public History

American Association for State and Local History (ASSLH is the professional organization for local historians and related museum professionals. It has links to a great many additional resources)

Olean Public Library (Libraries often have local history sections and the librarians can be helpful. Archivist and librarians often know a great deal about the collection and topic, so ask.)

Cattaraugus County Historical Museum and Research Center

New York State Library (Has links to digital and electronic resources including the New York State census)

Library of Congress Federal Writers' Project: New Deal Programs: Selected Library of Congress Resources (During the New Deal, the Federal Writers's Project paid historians to write local histories, conduct oral histories, and such. Many have been digitized and most can be found in local libraries.)

Sanborn Maps. Insurance maps with details. LOC.

Family History and Genealogy

J. D. Biersdorfer, How to Dig Up Family History Online New York Times

Find a Grave

United States Census Records

National Archives: Resources for Genealogists

National Archives Naturalization Records

The Ancestry Hunt (a blog with an enormous amount of information)

Family Search

Family Search Naturalization and Immigration Records

American Ancestors

Oral History

Oral History Association

Introduction to Oral History (from Baylor University)

The Art of Oral History (UC Santa Barbara Library)

Archives and Historical Organizations

Databases for History and Cultural Research The Smithsonian Library's collection is a great place to start looking for primary documents. You can also follow the link to the list of e-journals and databases and make use of How do I ... Find History and Cultural Resources.)

Harvard Library Guide to Finding Primary Sources Online

New York State Historic Preservation Office (Every state has an archive, historic preservation office, and historical society. They are organized differently state-to-state, but they can be helpful. )

New York State Archives

New York State Library

Library of Congress and the Library of Congress Digital Collections Available Online

National Archives and Records Administration (If your topic is in American history, look at NARA resources in American History.)

American Antiquarian Society

Wikipedia List: Online Archives of the United States

Internet Archive

Historic Newspapers

Chronicling America (LOC collection of historic newspapers)

New York Historic Newspapers (There are some Olean newspapers in the database including the Olean Daily Herald, the Olean Democrat, and the Olean Herald.)

Historic Newspapers by State and Other Designations (A collection from the Ancestry Hunt)

Google News Archive

Tools, Techniques, and Helpful

A Step by Step Guide to Doing Historical Research

American Historical Association Resources for Historical Research

Reading, Writing, and Researching for History

History Study Guides

A Little More on the Digital Side

Google Books (Google book digitization project)

Google Scholar (a place to look up scholars or scholarship)

Project Gutenberg (a project to digitize books)

Open Library (free online books)


America: History and Life EBSCO (This is a great resources but you will need to go through a library to use it.) When you are looking for databases, do not neglect Friedsam Memorial Library. Do not pay for access to a database, article, or resource. Ask a librarian for help. Interlibrary Loan still plays a valuable role in research.


Accessible Archives Inc

Specific Databases and Collections

Founders Online