Rewarding Resources: Online Geneaology

There are a lot of places online that you can use to find genealogy resources, both locally and nationally.  While I am far from a genealogy expert, I have done my best to gather some info.  The following are the best of the resources that I am aware of online:

Local History LibGuide

I created a LibGuide devoted to local history and major genealogy resources available through the library and online.  Many of these resources can also be used for genealogy.  There are lots of links, databases, and eBooks gathered into this one central resource.  I am always open to suggestions if anyone has any as well.

Heritage Quest:

The Library System of Lancaster County has a subscription to HeritageQuest.  HeritageQuest is a database that includes access to the United States census records and hundreds of local history titles.  Federal Census records through 1930 are available on this database, with some gaps in those records.

To access HeritageQuest use the following steps:

1) Visit the following website:

2) Enter your Library Card number in the box at the top

3) Click on the GO TO ONLINE RESOURCES button

4) The select the database you wish to use from the menu by clicking on the icon to the left of each database description

Online Links:

Online Public Access to the National Archives: The prototype central portal of the National Archives and Records Administration, includes searching of several different databases.

PAGenWeb: This site is devoted to Pennsylvania Genealogy.

Family Search: This free service search many different records and  is available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Online Newspapers:These are great places to obituaries and other information.  I wrote extensively about them in a previous Rewarding Resources.

Historical Societies:

The historical societies in the area have a greater array of genealogical resources than a typical public library.  The major local historical societies are the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley,, and the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.  These and others are linked on the Local History LibGuide.

Library Books

We do have some print resources as well, which you can find on the Local History LibGuide or you can search for them at our catalog.  Many of these titles are in our Ephrata Collection, which is reference and do not leave the library.  Other titles can be checked out and used at home.

Keith L Greenawalt, Reference Librarian



The Library uses a lot of different websites to communicate with our patrons. One of our favorites is Pinterest! Pinterest is a virtual pin board that you can stick ANYTHING you find on the internet on. You can have boards for whatever you want.

For example, the library has Pinterest boards for book suggestions, new movies, and other fun things. Privately we have boards to share program ideas with each other.

Besides creating your own pinboards you can follow other boards too. If you have friends with Pinterest accounts you can follow their  boards to see their updates on your home page. You can even repin things onto your own boards.

Setting up a Pinterest is really easy!

You go to the link posted above, and click Request an Invite. After you give Pinterest your e-mail they will send you an invitation to join (this takes a few days).

After you make an account you want to download the “Pin it” button to your toolbar.

This button allows you to pin things easily to your boards from any website.

Be sure to check out the Library’s Pinterest too!