Tuesday’s Tip: Houstonians Research Your Family Roots for Free!

I don’t know a genealogist (beginner or seasoned professional) alive who doesn’t love the word FREE when it comes to having access to some of today’s top ‘pay-for-use’ genealogy websites and databases. But what I do know is that Houstonians may conduct family research absolutely FREE from their home, or office, computers as long as they have the — Power Card — from the Houston Public Library!

With the Power Card, you will have 24/7 access to:

19th Century U. S. Newspapers Digital Archive
Digital facsimile images for hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers. Includes The Galveston Daily News from 1874 until 1897 (see listing under Houston, Texas)

African American Heritage
A groundbreaking digital resource exclusively devoted to African American family history research. This collection was created in partnership with leading African American genealogists to develop a comprehensive mix of resources, records, and tools specifically pertaining to African Americans.

American Civil War Research Database
Online resource for researching the soldiers, regiments, and battles of the American Civil War contains indexed, searchable information on over four million soldiers and thousands of battles, together with fifteen thousand photographs.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Index to millions of biographical sketches in thousands of reference books.

Clayton Genealogical Library
Houston Public Library’s Genealogical Collection.

Harris County Archives
Documents the history of the government and the citizens of Harris County as revealed through the county records and donated materials.

HeritageQuest Online
(Provided by the Texas State Library’s TEXSHARE program.)
U. S. Federal census records and other research materials for tracing family lineages.

Scholarly journal archive covering information in the arts, science, business, history, education and much more.

ProQuest Obituaries
Offers more than 10.5 million obituaries and death notices in full-image format from uninterrupted historical archives of top newspapers.

Texas Digital Sanborn Maps
(Provided by the Texas State Library’s TEXSHARE program.)
Sanborn maps are historical large scale plans of a city drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch. These maps are used to trace the history and development of cities and are also helpful in genealogical and historical research.

But that’s not all . . .

Houston’s very own — Clayton Library — is one of the top ten best genealogy resources in this country (Family Tree Magazine named it, “one of the 9 genealogy libraries you need to visit before you die  in its July 2008 issue)!

When you’re in the library, you have FREE access to:

Access NewspaperARCHIVE (In library use only)
The largest historic newspaper source online containing tens of millions of searchable newspaper pages, dating as far back as the 1700s.

American Ancestors (In Library Use Only)
Genealogical data from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Ancestry Library Edition (In Library Use Only)
One of the largest collections of family history data online. Ancestry Library Edition is the Ancestry.com database with a interface from Proquest.

Fold3 (In library use only)
Previously known as Footnote, this database contains almost 40 million images of primary source materials. Many are available here for the first time.

If you have a HPL Power Card, you can begin your research online right now by going to:
1) http://www.houstonlibrary.org/home
2) Under the “E-Library” section click the arrow and a drop-down menu appears
3) Scroll the drop-down menu and click “Databases”
4) Scroll down all the available databases and click “Genealogy” . . . then it’s happy ancestor hunting to you!!
Just keep in mind that databases marked with an asterisk (*) require a HPL Power Card for access from your home or office.

So if you don’t have a clue as to what kind of FREE genealogy resources are available at your city or county library, then I recommend you call them and find out today. You just may be missing out on an affordable way to gain access to some incredible resources FREE of charge that could help you take your family research to a whole new level!



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