Column: Use your library to track down family history
“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” is a popular TV show on PBS in which the host helps people discover long-lost relatives through different genealogy searches and family-tree searches.
But long before this show, people have been interested in tracing their family history. With different technology, more resources are just click away. One resource for finding more genealogical information is Ancestry.com.
The Allegheny County Library System has a subscription to ancestry.com, so patrons can access this resource in the library for free. Unlike some other electronic resources, this one can be accessed only in the library. However, you can download different documents, save them to a flash drive and take them with you.
Users can find scanned documents, such as Census records. There are different ways to search through the database, including the person or family name, birth year, event and location. You can explore by country, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, other European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
There also is the option to browse by different special collections, such as passenger lists, Census and voter Lists, obituaries and more.
If you are just getting started in your search, there are forms to download on the site to help you stay organized. This includes an ancestral chart, which allows you to keep track of who is in your family. The research calendar helps you to keep track of every record source you have searched. And the correspondence record is a chart to help you organize who you got in contact with and what information they provided you.
Historical societies, county records offices and historical organizations also are great places for genealogical research. Not everything is available on Ancestry.com, but it is a great place to start.
Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library and you can email Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org.