Genealogy

Library Databases

  • Ancestry.com Note: Only available in the library
    The largest online genealogical resource in the world offers single search capability for a variety of databases, including the Social Security Death Index, obituaries, military records, U.S. Censuses and more. Also includes a book collection.
  • Heritage Quest
    This resource includes more than 25,000 published genealogies and local histories digitized and the entire U.S. Census 1790-1930.

Websites

In addition to the library’s genealogy databases (Ancestry and Heritage Quest), genealogy researchers should also try these very helpful websites.

These sites, with the exclusion of Footnote, are free and can be viewed from any computer.  Some of them, such as the Ellis Island Database, do require people to register before they can view records. 

  • US Gen Web Project:
    This website can help you locate genealogical resources and contact information for the specific locality in which you are researching.  Since it is a volunteer website, the quality of the pages can differ depending upon who is maintaining it.
  • Cyndi’s List:
    This is a very well known and popular genealogy site that indexes a huge number of genealogy websites.
  • Ellis Island Database:
    This is a database of passenger records for immigrants who came in to the United States through Ellis Island.
  • Dr. Stephen Morse’s more searchable Ellis Island database:
    The Ellis Island Database does not have the best search function, and so Dr. Morse provides this superior Ellis Island search, for free, to any who would like to use it.
  • Castle Garden Database:
    Another searchable database of a busy immigrant port.
  • Find A Grave:
    You can search cemeteries across the US to find the grave of an ancestor.  Not all cemeteries have been indexed and photographed, but a startling number have been.  If the grave you are looking for is not listed, consider putting in a request to see if someone in that locality will photograph it for you.
  • National Archives
    The National Archives contain a great deal of genealogically interesting material.  You can request copies of certain information (for a fee), and you can also consider visiting the local branch in Philadelphia (check to make sure they have microfilm copies of the records you are interested in before going—some records exist only at the DC Archives).
  • National Archives Immigration Information:
  • Footnote
    This is a commercial website that requires a subscription for total access, but they do have a large number of free records, as well.  Footnote includes a large variety of records such as military, local newspapers, naturalization records, and more.
  • Family Search
    This is a free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  They have a huge number of genealogical records, including a great deal of microfilmed information.  You are free to search their index which will tell you the location of the records you are interested in; if they are not located nearby, many items can be loaned out to Family History Centers near you.  They are also in the process of digitizing some records.