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March 30, 2020

HEPL’s Remote Access Genealogy Databases

HEPL’s Remote Access Genealogy Databases

Written by: Nancy Massey, Indiana Room Coordinator

Since the Hamilton East Public Library closed its doors on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic, I have been confined to my home, as most Hoosiers are now by order of the Governor. At first, I spent time watching the news on the TV and watching movies. As I started to clean my closet for something constructive to do, I realized something—this is the perfect time to continue researching my ancestors! So I shut the closet door and sat down at my computer. After all, the library offers remote access to three of the genealogy databases I most often use: Heritage Quest Online, Fold3, and Newspapers.com. On the HEPL home page under the Services menu, click on Genealogy to reveal our Genealogy and Local History page.  Select the genealogy database of choice. You will be asked to enter your HEPL card number and PIN. Once you’re logged in you can start searching to your heart’s content. Although the library may be physically closed, its digital resources are ours to access!

Here’s the best news ever: Ancestry Library Edition is offering access from home for HEPL cardholders for almost a month! (Ancestry is usually only available from within the library building.) This makes four fantastic genealogy databases we can access from home using our HEPL card.

Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) is HEPL’s subscription to Ancestry.com.  Need I say more about this database? It is a great place to start your family history research and to continue filling in the blanks on the branches of your family tree. If you need an ancestral chart or a family group sheet, these can be downloaded from ALE under “Charts and Forms.”

Heritage Quest Online is a subscription database only available to libraries.  Ancestry.com has partnered with ProQuest to make this an invaluable resource that can be accessed by HEPL cardholders. There are census records, city directories, digitized family histories, country histories, and Freedman’s Bank records. You can search full pension files for your Revolutionary War veterans. Ancestry added a variety of other military records like Confederate soldier files. There is also the U.S. Serial Set, which gives new meaning to the phrase “it takes an act of Congress.” You have to check that one out! That database collection is chock full of facts just waiting for you to discover them.

Fold3 Library Edition, now owned by Ancestry.com, offers military records for just about all wars and conflicts since our nation’s beginning, plus a few records from other countries. Originally, Fold3 was Footnote.com. When Ancestry acquired it, they decided it would focus on military records. However, most of the non-military records were retained and are available. They have fantastic Native American and African American collections. To find them, just click on the listing for non-military records.  The browse panel pops up with the various databases and collections. Select the one that interests you. I found my uncle on the Missing Air Crew reports, which is a real find for me as his service records were destroyed in the St. Louis fire in the 1970s.  However, the find that brought me to tears was the World War II draft registration card from my father! It’s an awesome database!

Don’t forget to check out Newspapers.com! From the Genealogy and Local History page, be sure to click on the first link to Newspapers.com. It allows searching through all their available newspapers in other areas of the country as well as the Hamilton County papers (1837-1963). The second link (Newspapers.com Hamilton County Collection) is library only access to Hamilton County Newspapers (1837-2008).

HEPL sent our microfilmed papers from 1837 to 2008 to be digitized for this database. To search the Hamilton County papers (1964-2008), you will need to come to the library whenever it is safe for us to re-open our doors. I have found so many wonderful articles on several of my ancestors that I am almost speechless with delight.

Happy Ancestor Hunting!