Explore Your Family History with Ancestry

It’s about that time of year again when many American families gather together for Thanksgiving. As you linger over turkey and pumpkin pie, your time together may get you thinking about your family history. Lucky for you, the Library’s got you covered! In addition to the many books we offer on genealogy, your Lafayette Library card gives you free access to genealogy websites, including Ancestry and MyHeritage.

This post will focus on Ancestry in particular. It’s the most robust genealogy website out there, with somewhere around 19 billion records! These records include birth, death, and marriage certificates as well as census, immigration, and military records.

Ancestry is only accessible at the Library. In order to access the library edition of Ancestry, navigate to the Library’s research web page and choose Ancestry from the list of popular resources. On Ancestry’s homepage, choose the green “Begin Searching” button.

To begin, Ancestry’s search page has several options:

  • Search by name
  • Explore by location
  • Browse the card catalog, which sorts historical records into categories, such as “Census and Voter Lists” or “Immigration and Travel”

If you choose to search by name, there are a few helpful options to narrow your search, including:

  • a place your ancestor may have lived
  • your ancestor’s date of birth, marriage, or death
  • the name of your ancestor’s spouse, children, or parents

For more help, check out Ancestry Anne’s Top 10 Search Tips, or navigate to the Library’s genealogy web page and find the tutorials link under Ancestry Library Edition.

Good luck, and have fun!

-Contributed by Cailín, Adult Services Librarian