PPLD Special Collections offers access to research guides, physical and online resources, and knowledgeable staff to help with your genealogical research. If you’re just getting started, below are research guides created by PPLD staff. Click on a guide's title to discover a comprehensive overview on that topic. Our Genealogy Basics: A Beginner’s Guide is a great place to get started! PPLD Special Collections also offers 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!
Use these guides, created by PPLD staff, to begin researching your family history. Check back as we add new guides!
- Genealogy Basics: A Beginner’s Guide
- AncestryLibrary: A Beginner’s Guide
- FamilySearch: A Beginner’s Guide
- The Federal Census: A Beginner’s Guide
- Vital Records: A Beginner’s Guide
- Military Records: A Beginner’s Guide
- Military Records: By Conflict
- Female Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide
- Genealogy Web Resources
Genealogy Databases and Web Sources
Ancestry Library Edition – Temporarily accessible remotely (ordinarily accessible at any PPLD Library) Includes most Ancestry.com records and is one of the most important genealogical collections available with unparalleled coverage of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Find My Past – Accessible at the Penrose and 1905 Carnegie Libraries Spans 2 billion historical records from around the world including US censuses, Revolutionary War through World War II US Military records, and extensive records from the British Isles and Ireland.
Fold3 – Accessible at the Penrose and 1905 Carnegie Libraries Provides access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of those who served from millions of records from world-class archives.
19th Century Newspapers – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN) Provides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary source newspaper content from the 19th century, featuring full-text content and images from a range of urban and rural regions in the US.
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.
Newspaper Archive – Accessible remotely (requires library card number and PIN) Contains tens of millions of historical newspaper pages from 1759 to present. Every newspaper in the archive is fully searchable by keyword and date.
FamilySearch – Accessible remotely Offers vast records and resources from the world’s largest genealogical library, the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
HeritageQuest – Accessible remotely Includes collections of federal census records, city directories, local histories, full sets of Revolutionary War pension records, Freedman's Bank records, PERSI, and the US Serial Set.
MyHeritage – Accessible remotely Offers billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos, and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past five centuries.
PPLD Selected Genealogy Websites – Accessible remotely Covers a range of genealogy topics. PPLD staff organized and selected this list of online resources.
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.