Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Genealogy Databases at Your Library

Medina County District Library, as part of the CLEVNET consortia, provides access to a number of genealogical databases: Ancestry Library Edition (ALE), Heritage Quest Online and the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are the major ones.

  1. Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) is the library subscription version of the popular commercial database whose TV ads you have probably seen. Lisa blogged a great tutorial on it here

  2. Heritage Quest Online - now owned by the folks at, Heritage Quest feels a lot like Ancestry's little brother. It concentrates on U.S. Census information, The Freedman's Bank Records, PERSI (index to genealogy magazines) and Revolutionary War Pension records. (Subject of a future blog post.)
  3. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - Sanborn was a publisher of historical maps of Ohio cities and towns. Originally created to estimate fire insurance risks, the  maps are frequently used for historical and genealogical research, and for preservation and restoration efforts. As nearly all my ancestors have been farmers, I have not used Sanborn.

These databases are found on the library's website ( under the "Online Resources" link and the "History and Genealogy" tab.

Recently, I discovered another genealogical resource that is available through the Medina County District Library's purchase of a separate database: Gale Courses. 

Also found on the "Online Resources" link, Gale Courses offers free online courses on hundreds of topics, including.... GENEALOGY!

The instructor led course does get good reviews from its students, but the only way to really tell... is to take the course myself!  It is free with my library card number and should be fairly easy. The course lasts for six weeks and has 2 classes each week. I'll let you know. Or better yet,take the class with me!

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