Public libraries subscribe to online research databases in behalf of their patrons. Some of these databases permit you to access them from a home computer with a current library card and password while others can only be used onsite.
Online and Onsite Genealogy Databases
Some popular library databases for genealogy and family history include:
- Accessible Archives African American Newspapers – Historic newspapers published by African Americans
- African American Heritage – primary source material specifically for African American family history and genealogy
- African American Historical Newspapers – Historic newspapers published by or primarily concerned with communities of African Americans
- American Ancestors – US Census data & other genealogy record sets
- America’s GeneaologyBank – a library version of this historic newspaper site
- Ancestry – US Census data & other genealogy record sets
- Biography Resource Center – includes biographies on both current and historical figures from all fields
- Digitial Sanborn Maps/ProQuest – digitized insurance maps for 12,000 US cities & towns between 1867-1970
- Archives Unbound – various historical exhibits for cultural background information
- FindMyPast – US Census data & UK genealogy record sets
- Fold3 – US military records from the Revolutionary War forward
- HeritageQuest/ProQuest – US Census data & other genealogy record sets
- JSTOR – full-text journals
- MyHeritage – US Census data & other genealogy record sets
- Newspaper Archive – Historic Newspapers from the 17th century forward
- PERSI – PERiodical Source Index – cataloged articles, photographs and other material covering the historic US, Canada, Australia, & UK
- Yearbooks Online – the name varies by location but many libraries have local historic yearbooks digitized in a searchable database
Visit your library website and see which research databases you can access offsite with your library card and which databases can only be used onsite.
Genealogy Research Databases – Most libraries provide free computer terminals for patrons to use onsite. Libraries subscribe to research databases and patrons can visit their local library and access these databases. Check with your local library to learn which databases they offer and what onsite computer & printing resources they offer.
Dewey Decimal Numbers for Genealogy – You can use these Dewey Decimal Numbers to find genealogy collections in most public libraries.
900 – History & Geography (the broad catch-all)
910 – Geography & Travel
920 – Biography & Genealogy
921-928 – Biographies by subject’s last name
929 – Genealogy, names, insignia
- 929.1 – Genealogy
- 929.2 – Family Histories
- 929.3 – Genealogical Sources
- 929.4 – Personal Names
- 929.42 – Surnames (last names)
- 929.44 – Forenames (first names)
- 929.5 – Cemetery Records (no longer included in 929.3)
- 929.6 – Heraldry
- 929.7 – Royal houses, etc
- 929.8 – Awards, orders, autographs
- 929.9 – Forms of insignia and identification
930 – History of the ancient world
940 – History of Europe
950 – History of Asia
960 – History of Africa
970 – History of North America
- 971 – Canada
- 972 – Mexico, Central America, West Indies, Bermuda
- 973 – US History
- 974 – Northeastern States
- 975 – Southeastern States
- 976 – South Central States
- 977 – North Central States
- 978 – Western States
- 979 – Great Basin & Pacific States
980 – History of South America
990 – History of Other Areas
If you’re visiting your local library, be sure to ask if they have a microfilm collection with microfilm readers. Local libraries are often the best place to find local records & to research the history of an area.
Digitizing books, photographs, and other media is a priority at many libraries. Check with your local library to learn what scanners & digitizing equipment they offer to the public, often on a free, first-come, first-served basis.
Best in your research!
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