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Don't forget Local Library online resources

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#1 GJohn



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Posted 19 September 2020 - 03:06 PM

I hope I'm not repeating the obvious...


A few years ago a family member (and librarian) pointed out to me all the *FREE genealogy research ONLINE resources I was unaware of; recently she told me of additions. Local public library branches may have closed, staff & physical holdings reduced, but often these institutions still have tremendous offerings as they quietly go digital. With the virus, many more are researching online from home, making this an even more valuable resource.

For the amateur still learning about available research sources (like me), check out your public library online, this might help you with basic starting-point sources like census records, possibly save you money.


Here is an example of the *FREE genealogy resources my specific local library provides (town pop. ~100K):
- From home (requires a library card):

  • HeritageQuest with ALL the US census through 1940 & much, much, more
  • Fold3 Library Edition (by Ancestry) with many military records & much, much, more
  • Newspapers.com Library Edition (by Ancestry) historical newspapers nationwide
  • Newbank recent American obituaries, nationwide (plus all my town's local newspapers, historical to present)

- On-site only Ancestry.com Library Edition (if you don't mind touching the public library keyboards & chairs).

I do not connect to these sites directly, instead on the local library's website a simple click through a web-portal, enter my assigned 14-digit library card number.

I doubt every library has gone online like this, and the resources vary by budget, but its worth a look at yours.

Sometime small-budget rural-libraries have a cooperative agreement to use a neighboring big city library resources, ask.
Due to the virus, some libraries are currently making on-site only resources temporarily available online (with a library card).

*FREE is always a relative term. The 'free' local public libraries are taxpayer funded, similar to the way 'free' web resources (Google/FB) aren't really free (ads, privacy, security, tracking, profiling).

I might mention some other *FREE resources that provide a search tool and document scans images or photos: FindAGrave.com, BillionGraves.com (mix free & pay), Archive.org, FamilySeach.org.