This week’s challenge is:
Online databases at your public library. Search your library’s web site and see if your card grants you access to online databases. Libraries (even small ones) often have wonderful online tools including genealogy databases, historical newspapers and more! Take some time and play with these little perks that come with a library card. You just may get some help in your own genealogy research and gain some free research tools to boot. If you don’t know how to access online library databases or you’re not sure if your branch has them, ask a librarian for guidance. If you have a blog, discuss which databases (if any) to which your library subscribes.
I am fortunate that my public library subscribes to several databases. Here is a sampling of the resources I have access to, from the comfort of my own home.
HeritageQuest – Provides access to the 1790-1930 US censuses, PERSI, Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land warrants, and family and local history books. I typically use the census portion when I can’t find what I need on Ancestry, since each was indexed by different people. Sometime I get lucky and find it on HQ, other times I have to get creative on Ancestry. I’ve also started to look into PERSI, but have yet to find anything relevant to my research. Until Footnote came along, this was a great source for ARW pension files, however, not all papers are included on HQ, whereas Footnote has the complete file available.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers – My library subscribes to the Chicago Tribune historical collection, which is fantastic. I’ve been able to find several of obituaries and articles about my relatives using this database while in my PJs at home. It’s wonderful!!
Historic Map Works – This is a collection by ProQuest that has a ton of maps and atlases. This was something I just discovered a week ago. I have no idea if it was available before or if it’s a new subscription, but nonetheless, it was a great find. I’ve already located some old atlases of Linn County, Iowa, which list my ancestor’s land.
My library has a subscription to America’s Newspapers from NewsBank, which contains several newspapers that are more current. I don’t use this database very often. My library also subscribes to Ancestry, although only accessible in the library.
I’m very thankful for the Chicago Tribune historical newspapers being available with access from home. It has been a tremendous help to me during my research. And I can’t wait to explore the map collection further.