Find digitised books in the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a website that provides free access to digitised books and other items. Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive. Both sites contain books that can inform family history research.

Search options on the Internet Archive for books:

  • Type your search word into the search bar on the Home page. This will give you a broad search and will contain both books and other format. A broad search is a good idea when you first start, as it gives you an idea of the kind of material that they have. You may need to check that the ‘Search text contents’ button is selected (below the search bar).
  • Select the book icon which appears above the search bar on the Home page, then on the next page type your search word into the search bar. This will limit your search to books and texts. You can then browse, use the other filters to narrow your search further or add additional words. Searching for ‘Caribbean’ then adding ‘history’, for example brings up books such as Barbara Bush’s Slave Women in Caribbean Society, Figueredo’s book A Brief History of the Caribbean and James Michener’s novel Caribbean.
  • There is an Advanced Search option on the Home page, which allows you to specify your search criteria.

You can also find books for family history that are not specifically about the Caribbean, such as parish registers and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Some books can be viewed online, others need to be borrowed and some can be downloaded. Create a free account with Internet Archive and that will also work on Open Library.

Each book provides details that allow you to create a full source citation.

Let us know if you find a good book for Caribbean research so we can share the information, or you can share your searching tips.

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