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Ancestry Library Edition available free at libraries

by on October 17, 2019 9:11 AM

In the world of genealogical research, Ancestry.com is one of the biggest players in the game, boasting billions of historical records and more than three million paying subscribers. It is undoubtedly a useful resource … and it is one that you can use for free at the local public library.

When you visit any Centre County Library & Historical Museum location or Schlow Centre Region Library, you can use Ancestry Library Edition on a library computer or your own laptop free of charge (access is available onsite only).

What is Ancestry Library Edition? ALE is a search tool that is powered by Ancestry.com and it makes the largest online family history resource in the United States available to library visitors. ALE’s databases contain a wealth of indexed and searchable genealogical records, including everything from immigration and vital records, to the United States Census and family histories, to court records, military records, photographs and more. Moreover, in addition to United States records, ALE provides records from destinations around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Eastern Europe, Russia and beyond.

If you are new to using online resources for genealogy, know that searching ALE’s databases is intuitive and user-friendly for people who are comfortable with computers: searches are simple and results can be quickly narrowed down with “facets” on the results page, allowing users to winnow down results based on location, time period and other parameters.

For users who are already familiar with Ancestry.com through either a free trial or a subscription, using ALE is straightforward: the search features are identical, as is the interface. The primary difference between ALE and Ancestry.com is that the latter is designed for individuals, with a number of options to build your own family tree, connect with relatives and collaborate online. While some records are not available to view in ALE, many of the historic records that our users are most interested in are, making this search tools an invaluable asset to genealogical research.

If you already have experience with ALE or Ancestry. com, but want to explore some more advanced “power user” features, you’re in luck. On Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m., a free, intermediate-level Ancestry Library Edition workshop will be held at Centre County Library in Bellefonte. Space for this hands-on workshop is limited and pre-registration is required.

Visit www.centrecountylibrary.org, and click on “Programs & Events” then “Bellefonte” to get started with your registration, or call (814) 355-1516, ext. 214 for assistance from a staff member.

All considered, trying out ALE is beneficial for both new and experienced genealogists. Whether you are just starting out and looking for “low-hanging fruit,” or you are trying to round out your family history and overcome roadblocks, it is worthwhile to spend a few hours at your local library searching its databases to see if a new or newto-you record is available. Get started at your local public library today.

Robbin Degeratu is the administrative director of the Centre County Library and Historical Museum in Bellefonte.

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