10 Great Search Engines for History Teachers

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The purpose of today's post is to provide history teachers (and history aficionados for that matter) with a collection of useful history search websites to help them search for, locate, and access a wide variety of educational materials to use in the teaching and learning of history.  

You can think of these platforms as history search engines that empower you with the tools necessary to browse through the piles of human knowledge generated since the early dawn of human presence in this planet. 

History search engines

Using these history websites you will be able to access various types of historical resources including documents, artefacts, records, maps, primary source materials, images, memorials, timelines, and many more. I invite you to check them out and to share with us (use Twitter handle @educatorstech) if you have other suggestions to add to this list. 

1. The History Engine 

The History Engine is 'a collection of thousands of historical “episodes” that paints a wide-ranging portrait of the past that is freely available to scholars, teachers, and the general public. Students from a variety of college and universities write these episodes. Creating an episode for the History Engine gives them the opportunity to learn history by doing the work—researching, writing, and publishing—of a historian'.

2. History Matters

'Designed for high school and college teachers and students of U.S. history survey courses, this site serves as a gateway to web resources and offers unique teaching materials, first-person primary documents, and guides to analyzing historical evidence.'

3. Chronicling America

Chronicling America enables you to search America's historic newspaper pages published between 1777 and 1963. Chronicling America is a fruit of 'a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC)'.

4. Histography

Historiography is a timeline of historical events  covering the era between 1600 to 2000. Every dot in the timeline represents a historic event from Wikipedia.  You can easily resize the bar to view any time period or era you want.

5. Zoom In

Zoom In is 'a free, Web-based platform that helps students build literacy and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources. Zoom In’ s online learning environment features 18 content-rich U.S. history units that supplement your regular instruction and help you use technology to support students’ mastery of both content and skills required by the new, higher standards:

  • Reading documents closely and critically
  • Identifying author's point of view and purpose
  • Engaging in higher-order, text-based discussions
  • Writing explanatory and argumentative essays grounded in evidence.'

6. Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History offers various educational resources that cover topics related to racism, anti-semitism, and prejudice at key moments in history. The mission of the site, according to its founders, is to 'help students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives.' 

They further added that, 'independent research studies show that experience in a Facing History classroom motivates students to become upstanders in their communities, whether by challenging negative stereotypes at the dinner table, standing up to a bully in their neighborhood, or registering to vote when they are eligible'.

History search engines

7. National Archives

The National Archives keeps historical documents, artefacts, and records related to the United States. These materials include family trees, online copies of veteran's military service records, state and church records, and more. 'Those valuable records are preserved and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family's history, need to prove a veteran's military service, or are researching a historical topic that interests you.'

8. David Rumsey Map Collection

The David Rumsey Map collection features over 150.000 rare historical maps covering the period from the 16th to the 21st century. The collection includes 'atlases, globes, wall maps, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from around 1550 to the present.'

9. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook

the Sourcebook project seeks to present teachers and students with a wide variety of educational materials on 'modern European history and American history, as well as in  modern Western Civilization and World Cultures...A number of other online source collections emphasize legal and political documents. 

Here efforts have been made to include contemporary narrative accounts, personal memoirs, songs, newspaper reports, as well as cultural, philosophical, religious and scientific documents. Although the history of social and cultural elite groups remains important to historians, the lives of non-elite women, people of color, lesbians and gays are also well represented here.'

10. Digital History

Digital History offers a wide range of educational resources to help with the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges. The site also offers inquiry-based modules that provide primary sources on a number of historical events. 

It also 'offers many other ways to engage students in the study of history, from fact checks (multiple choice quizzes on every era of American history), to 19th century high school entrance examinations, a time machine, an interactive timeline that links to primary source documents, and a flash overview of American history.'