Reference Blog Entries

Genealogy 101

Megan's picture

Old books with spines labeled "my memories," "family photos," and "documents."

Ever wondered about your great-great-grandparents? Genealogists enjoy studying their family trees to learn the often fascinating stories of their family members. If you’re new to genealogy, the Reference Department recommends several helpful resources:

There are two helpful search strategies for beginners - first, you can enter information about your ancestor in search boxes. In the above resources, you might be asked to enter a name, birth year, and location information. You might find some resources immediately with this method, but if you need to find a specific document, try checking the card catalog.

In FamilySearch and Ancestry, you can choose “Search” from the menu bar, and then choose either “Catalog” or “Card Catalog.” The catalog contains a listing of all of the resources that are being searched when you use the search boxes. Unfortunately, not everything has been digitized (and some records, like most of the 1890 census, have been lost to fire), so the information you’re looking for might not be available in one or both of these resources. You can tell for sure by checking the catalog.

If you can’t find a Pennsylvania marriage license from 1800 in Ancestry with the search boxes, go to the the catalog and do a title search for “Pennsylvania marriage.” From here, you can look at each of the collections that exist on marriage for Pennsylvania, and discover whether or not the county you need is included. If it is, you can search it directly, and if it isn’t, you can see if another resource has that information.

Good luck!

Time for a New Car?

Megan's picture

Old red car with plants growing in itThinking about buying a new car? The Reference Department has many resources to help you out. Whether you want to learn more about a new car, find safety ratings, or locate reliable reviews, these should get you started:

  • - Find the latest reviews on each make and model, new or used. All you need to access this resource is your library card number and PIN.
  • - How did the car you like do in crash test ratings? Learn more about safety here.
  • The Car Book - This annual guide will fill you in on all the details of any car you’re interested in - from repair costs and warranty ratings to safety features and insurance costs.

If you aren’t sure what your old car is worth, and want to know what to trade it in for, check out these resources, or contact the Reference Department, and we’ll check for you: