I am continually amazed at what I can find online. As a Gen-Xer who grew up with a TRS-80 with cassette tape “programs” operating on a ludicrously small amount of RAM, and who has worked with computers since the late 80s, I am still blown away by the speed in which technology moves.
Books and journals that I never knew existed or that I would have to squint at in a reference library microfiche reader suddenly appear clearly on my computer at midnight or 6 o’clock in the morning.
Through the wonder of Google Books (and Google Scholar) I have found fabulous public domain historic references. In my ongoing search for Joe I have downloaded a book about the history of Paris, Maine to discover more about Joe’s Revolutionary War grandfather; a comprehensive look at the early years of Hudson and St. Croix County, Wisconsin; I can get a sense of the open frontier of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota when Joe’s father moved the family around 1856; and I can better understand the motivations to build Fort Totten on Devil’s Lake in the Dakota Territory (North Dakota) where Joe’s step-father worked in the 1880s. I can even find out what the weather was like on a given month in 1888 at Fort Totten by downloading monthly weather reviews from the US Army Signal Corp!
Wow! Who knew?!
No matter the topic you are researching, take the time to search Google Books, you just might be able to download a long-saught-after old book or find a newer book at your nearby library!
** For those of you who will scoff at my use of Wikipedia links, I am only using them as a general informational source for my readers, not for real research. Don’t worry, Wikipedia footnotes will not be found in my documentation. **