PPLD Special Collections offers access to physical and online resources, free genealogy classes, and knowledgeable staff to help with your genealogical research. If you’re just getting started, sign up for one of our virtual classes or review the class handouts listed below. Our Genealogy Basics handout is a great place to begin! PPLD Special Collections also offers free access to several genealogical databases and, if you’re looking for even more resources, take a look at our staff-selected website list. We encourage you to visit our physical location in the historic 1905 Carnegie library, located at Penrose Library, to view our genealogy reference collection. Our knowledgeable staff looks forward to assisting you!
Genealogy Classes and Handouts
The handouts below accompany PPLD’s free virtual genealogy classes. To register for a live class, visit our calendar.
- Genealogy Basics
- Ancestry Basics
- Census Records
- FamilySearch Basics
- Google for Genealogy Research
- Military Records: A Beginner’s Guide
- Military Records: By Conflict
- PPLD Genealogy Resources
- Pre-1850s Research
- Researching African American Ancestors
- Researching El Paso County, CO
- Researching Female Ancestors
- Sharing Your Family History
- Top Free Genealogy Websites
- Vital Records
Genealogy Databases and Web Sources
Databases available at PPLD facilities
Ancestry Library Edition – This database is only available inside PPLD facilities. Ancestry Library Edition brings the world’s most popular consumer online genealogy resources to the library. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more.
Find My Past – Accessible at the Penrose and 1905 Carnegie Libraries. With more than 8 billion records to search, this is one of the world's best websites for British and Irish family history research.
Fold3 – Accessible at the Penrose and 1905 Carnegie Libraries. Features premier collections of original military records. These records include the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served in the military. Many of the records come from the U.S. National archives, The National Archives of the U.K. and other international records.
Databases available remotely
19th Century Newspapers – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN). Provides access to approximately 1.8 million pages (over 28 million articles) of primary source newspaper content from the nineteenth century, featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S.
AtoZ Maps Online – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN). Offers a comprehensive collection of downloadable maps including more than 100,000 royalty-free maps designed for non-commercial use by students, teachers, and library patrons.
FamilySearch – Accessible remotely. Discover your family history through the vast resources of the world’s largest genealogical library. Search the extensive FamilySearch records database, join their collaborative family tree, or learn more about genealogical research, locations, and records using the Research Wiki. Special Collections at Penrose Library is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. Affiliate library locations have access to certain collections that are unavailable remotely.
HeritageHub – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN). Discover the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for genealogical research, 1704 - today.
HeritageQuest – Accessible remotely. HeritageQuest is a comprehensive treasury of American and international genealogical records—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, convenient research guides, interactive census maps, and more. With remote, at-home access and billions of records, it delivers an essential collection of genealogical and historical sources (with coverage dating back to the 1700s).
MyHeritage – Accessible remotely. Provides access to billions of historical documents from 48 countries, millions of historical photos, public records, indexes and additional resources that span the past five centuries.
Newspaper Archive – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN). The largest historical newspaper database online, containing tens of millions of newspaper pages from 1607 to present. Every newspaper is fully searchable by keyword and date, making it easy for you to quickly explore historical content.
Genealogy Reference Collection
While our online databases contain a wealth of genealogical information, PPLD’s physical reference collection, available at Special Collections, includes many materials that have never been digitized or may not be available elsewhere. The genealogy collection contains extensive family history research materials, covering the entire United States from Colonial times to the present, including books and periodicals. You can search the Library’s Catalog for Special Collections reference materials by limiting the search to “Carnegie-Special Collections” in the “Everything” field.