Monday, May 21, 2007

Genealogy Gems

Fauquier County Public Library has a number of online resources to assist you in your genealogy quest, including Ancestry Library Edition. Ancestry Library Edition provides a wide range of resources for genealogical and historical research. It includes records from the U.S. Census, military records, court, land and probate records, vital and church records, directories, petitions for naturalization; passenger lists and more. Ancestry Library Edition is only available in the library, so make sure to visit your local branch and try it out.

Other databases that can be used outside of the library (only your library card number is needed for access) include Sanborn Digital Maps (discussed in my April 25th post) and HeritageQuest. HeritageQuest allows you to search the complete set of U.S. Federal Census images from 1790-1930, access over 20,000 local and family histories as well as selected records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension & Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. Users can also search for individuals in the Freedman's Bank (1865-1874), a banking institution established in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, for the benefit of freed slaves. The information contained in many of the registers includes the account number, name of depositor, date of entry, place born, place brought up, residence, age, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband, children, father, mother, brothers and sisters, remarks, and signature. The early books sometimes also contain the name of the former master or mistress and the name of the plantation. Copies of death certificates have been pinned to some of the entries.

For information on local residents, the library houses microfilm files of the Fauquier Democrat (1907-present) and the Fauquier Citizen (1989-present). The library does have an online index to the Democrat, which is a work-in-progress. To save yourself some time, you may want to search there first to see if a life event (birth, death, marriage) was indexed yet. No library card or password is needed to access this resource.

Of course, most of the library's genealogical and local history collection is only available in print, so be sure to visit the recently restored Virginiana Room at the Warrenton Library.

Finally, I want to point out a nifty online tool for budding genealogists which has nothing to do with our collection, but seems very cool. It's called Geni and it lets you create a family tree through a very simple, intuitive interface. You can expand your tree (and people to help you) by adding relatives' email addresses. They will be invited to join your tree and can add other relatives (Aunt Sally may think to include information here that she forgot to tell you at the last family reunion). Your tree will continue to grow as relatives invite other relatives. Currently in beta, it's been dubbed a Facebook for families, and it's seems promising.