Exploring online archives


Each week, reporter and history-lover Mariana Dominguez visits a historical location on the South Shore. This week, instead of visiting a location, she decided to explore the online archives of various organizations and detail her experience.


I was interested in exploring the online archives of various organizations and museums because they are such a useful tool for research, whether it be for personal reasons such as genealogy or for work or school.

The first place I decided to explore were the online archives of the Long Island Maritime Museum located in West Sayville. I have written about this amazing museum previously and was excited to delve into their online archives. The archives are only accessible if you have a membership with the museum. The Maritime Museum archives are very easy to access once you create a log-in, and are very well-organized into categories such as boat-building, sailing, fishing and storms. The archives contain some great archival footage that I did not see while at the museum. I really enjoyed scrolling through the videos and looking at footage of destruction from storms, or what life on the Great South Bay used to look like. Digital membership in the Maritime Museum is $25 for the year. It is a great resource if you are trying to gain more information on the maritime history of Long Island or the South Shore.

The Historical Society of Islip Hamlet website has great resources for older pictures of Islip. While the maps link is currently under construction and some of the exhibit photos are a bit hard to see, anyone looking for photos of downtown Islip from years ago will not be disappointed. Anyone can access the photos by visiting isliphamlethistory.org and clicking the “Online Museum” tab at the top of the screen.

If you are looking for names of individuals, the Patchogue Historical Society website is a great resource. On their website, they have a list of men who fought during the American Civil War between 1861-1865 and were born in Patchogue, who were Patchogue residents at the time and eventually settled in Patchogue, or are on record as enlisting in Patchogue. The list is very detailed and contains as much information on the individuals as possible. In addition, the website also contains the names of those from Patchogue who served during WWI, the names of Patchogue High School Honor Roll, names from WWII, and the names of those from Patchogue High School who died during the Vietnam War. This information is free to access at patchoguehistoricalsociety.com. Go to the top and click the “Remember When” link.

The East Islip Historical Society website contains a great array of archives that have been digitized. There are oral histories from local residents available, as well as a wealth of photographs and even the society’s newsletters. Anyone trying to find out information about East Islip would be greatly assisted by the extensive archives maintained by this society. Visit eastislip.org to access them.

These sights and many more like it are great places to start if you are looking for information or unable to physically go to a museum. Digitization of archives is hard work and depends on the generous donations of donors and supporters who contribute to these important societies.


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