Special online music preservation project helps genealogists research the music of the past and gives us a glimpse into our ancestors’ musical history.

online music collectionSeptember 26, 1892 marked the first public appearance of the John Philip Sousa band .  Have you ever wondered what kind of music our ancestors listened to?  What was playing on the radio during a leisurely evening at home for your great grandparents? What were their favorite songs as teenagers?

The Department of Special Collections at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Davidson Library is a wonderful source for researching the music of the past. Their online music collection of more than 6,000 sound recordings dating from the 1890s to the 1920s, can give us a real sense of what our ancestors were listening to and enjoying.

Known as the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, recordings that were originally made on Edison cylinders are transferred to updated formats using state-of-the-art equipment. You can listen to the songs from the online music collection on your computer or even download them. The music can legally be copied because these songs are now in the public domain.  More cylinders are being added as they are cataloged and digitized. The site also has “streaming radio” programs on various topics and a “featured cylinder” section, showcasing some of the most interesting items in the collection.

For more information visit  http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu

Looking for help with another type of genealogical “records,” Contact Heirlines Family History and Genealogy who have been breaking through family history walls for almost 40 years. Give us a call to speak with one of our professional genealogists today.

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