Beyond Google – other sources for free books.

Old books - the genealogist's friends

Old books – the genealogist’s friends

We’re all so used to using Google books to search for digital copies of family history related books that it’s easy to forget there are other sources.
  • Project Gutenberg has over 30,000 free ebooks both fiction and non-fiction, mostly in html or plain text format. Use the advanced search option and put “Scotland” in the Subject box to find the 90 books classified under Scotland.
  • Electric Scotland has over 250 complete books that have been either OCRd or scanned to read online; and a further selection of books which have been converted to pdf so you can download them.
  • The Internet Archive is the grand-daddy of them all with over 1.8 million texts and provides a variety of digital formats for each book. This is where to go if you want a copy of the Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland or the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (search for Hew Scott – without inverted commas – to find all the volumes).

Just remember that these book sites are US based and although the books may be out of copyright there, laws may vary in other countries.

If you’re looking for journals, try the Internet Library of Early Journals which has 20-year runs of

  • Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1750)
  • The Annual Register (1758-1778)
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (1757-1777)
  • Notes and Queries (1849/50 – 1869)
  • The Builder (1843-1852)
  • Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (1843-1863)

What other libraries of digital books have you come across? Please add them in the comments section below.


3 thoughts on “Beyond Google – other sources for free books.”

  1. Hey, just read your post, very informative.Hopefully I’ll see more of your posts on the net! I have added your Rss feed to my Feedburner, can’t wait to read through your other blogs.keep up the good work

  2. Thanks Tyson!

    I try to post at least once a week – more often if there’s something specific that catches my eye.


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