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Genealogy Research: Social History Resources

A guide listing some of the many rich resources available to Colby users to do genealogical research.


Looking Into the Past: Longfellow Square

Social History Source Examples

Social History Sources are primary and secondary sources that place your subject in the context of the wider historical events that were taking place during and around your subject's lifetime. For example, if your subject was a young adult in France in 1914, the events of the Great War would have some effect on their life and would therefore be worth researching.

Social History Databases

  • Hathi Trust:  A digital library containing assets from over 100 research libraries, with document types including books, images, images, music scores, newspapers, and videos.
  • WorldCat / OCLC First Search: WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative.
  • Veteran's History Project: The Veterans History Project contains documents on US Military Veterans from the Great War through the Iraq War.
  • Maine Memory Network: The Maine Historical Society's Digital Collection has access to over 12,000 historical items, including rare photographs, documents, artifacts and online exhibits from over 180 museums, historical societies, libraries, and other organizations.
  • State Memory Projects: A list of state memory projects for every state in the United States
  • World Digital Library Timelines: Provides timelines for US History, World History, and World War I History. 
  • Timeline of History: A Timeline of History where every dot on the timeline is a Wikipedia article on a historical event. You can filter the timeline to only see events related to wars, literature, art, discoveries, religion, inventions, women's rights, and more
  • Food Timeline: A timeline of food, from the change in prices of food over time or the spread of ingredients to the history of specific recipes
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