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Genealogy Databases

Ancestry Library Edition Information on more than 1 billion names from public records (Access is available at your branch library.)

Biography & Genealogy Master Index Index to over 10,000 biographies

Detroit Free Press Historical (1831-1922) Full-text access to articles and full-page images from over 90 years of Detroit newspapers. Articles cover Detroit and Michigan as well as national news from 1831-1922.

MyHeritage Family history resource including more than 6 billion historical ​records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other regions. Includes the full USA federal census (1790-1940); census of England and Wales (1841-1901); U.S. World War II Army Enlistment as well as records of Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers. Over 2 billion family trees.

New York Times Historical (1851-2007) Full-text, article and page images provide the historical context for major events throughout American history.

Additional genealogical resources are available through the websites listed under AADL Select Sites Genealogy. You can also find more information about local history in the many image and text collections on our Local History page and our AADL Select Sites page on Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County history.

Looking for a local obituary?

Access to obituaries and death notices in the Ann Arbor News is available online through our Ann Arbor News database, which includes obituaries from 2003 to July 23, 2009. The mlive website provides access to death notices from annarbor.com and provides additional information through guestbooks and tributes.

All obituaries and death notices published on annarbor.com remain archived on that site. All editions of the Ann Arbor News until it ceased publication are available on microfilm. 19th century editions of Ann Arbor newspapers are also available on microfilm at the Downtown Library.

For obituaries prior to 2003, please contact the Ann Arbor District Library Archives at oldnews@aadl.org.

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HeritageQuest Database Upgrade

Sat, 03/07/2015 - 10:03am by SaraP

Attention family history buffs and genealogy sleuths! The HeritageQuest database got a makeover on March 4th!

Now powered by Ancestry, HeritageQuest's new look and feel is more streamlined, functions similarly to Ancestry, and has powerful new search options that allow for greater specificity and control. In addition to the cosmetic and functional upgrades, they've also added a wealth of new content. For example, the 1790-1940 federal census now includes complete every-name indexes, 20,000 titles have been added to the family and local history books collection (almost doubling its content), and the revolutionary war collection has also been expanded.

With so many new, user-friendly features, you don't want to miss out on exploring it for yourself. Best of all, you can still access HeritageQuest remotely with your valid online library account login.

For more details about new content/changes, and for great tips, take a peek at HeritageQuest's helpful LibGuide. Happy sleuthing!

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Attention Genealogists! Your Ancestry Library Edition Has New Resources!

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 1:56pm by darla

While new content is added, and updated regularly, in your Ancestry Library Edition database, the following new resources are especially noteworthy for 2013:

1. Public Member Trees
Public Member Trees have become the bridge between individual researchers and original records/sources to tell the family story. Many clues about family history can be found in these trees, which include photos, personal stories, etc. Nearly 40 million trees have been contributed by more than two million Ancestry.com members. Until now these trees were visible only to paying members of Ancestry.com (These members have indicated that their tree(s) can be viewed by all Ancestry members). The trees can change over time as users edit, remove, or otherwise modify the data.

The Fine Print: The trees in the Library Edition are read-only. Library patrons cannot edit the existing trees or add new trees. Information about living people is not shown. Each Public Member Tree is owned by the individual who put it on Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com does not verify that any tree or fact is correct, nor will they correct or edit a tree. Library patrons will not have the ability to contact the owner of the tree. Library patrons can submit anonymous comments about any tree.

2. U.S. City Directories
This new feature is a collection of directories for U.S. cities and counties in various years. The database currently contains directories for all states except Alaska. Coverage is 1821-1989. Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.The Gale City Directories Collection is included. Searching locally? The Ancestry Library Edition has Ann Arbor Directories from 1886 to 1960!
TIP: Use the Ancestry Card Catalog feature to go directly to U.S. City Directories.

Interested in more information? Join us for our upcoming Genealogy Online Research Class: Thursday March 14, 2013: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch or check out our collection of Genealogy materials.

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Attention Genealogists and Historians: The 1940 Census Records are fully indexed!

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 2:03pm by darla

Back in April we celebrated as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the 1940 census records for the "Greatest Generation" to the public. Every ten years since 1790, the federal census has provided a snapshot of the American people. The 1940 census recorded that critical period in American history as the country was still recovering from the Great Depression and before its entry into World War II. After 5 months of intensive indexing, the census is now completely searchable on the two most popular genealogy websites, Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org. This includes ALL of the 48 states, as well as territorial censuses for Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Puerto Rico, and American Virgin Islands. Hooray! One important detail to keep in mind is these two websites were indexed by different groups of people, meaning the results may vary - if you don't find who you are looking for on one site, try the other!

To access the Ancestry Library Edition, visit our Research Database collection at any library location and select Ancestry Library Edition from the Genealogy category. Ancestry.com is currently offering free access to the 1940 Census records online, and Familysearch.org is always free to the public. Clueless about how to start your family tree? Check out some of the genealogy books in our collection.

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Detroit Free Press, Historical Database (1831-1922)

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 9:43am by darla

Explore Detroit's history through the eyes of the major city newspaper:

MT. ELLIOTT CEMETERY. CONSECRATION OF A CATHOLIC BURIAL GROUND. -- Detroit Free Press, Dec. 10, 1865, Page 1.

J. L. Hudson Celebrates the Anniversary of His Establishment in the Clothing Business. -- Detroit Free Press, Mar 31, 1882, Page 6.

VERNOR TO RESCUE: Brings His Ginger Ale to Council Meeting. THIRSTY ALDERMEN REJOICE -- Detroit Free Press, Aug. 22, 1906, Page 6

SEVERE TEST FOR THE NEW FORD MACHINE: Makes 1,357-Mile Tour on 67 Gallons of Gasoline and Not One Adjustment -- Detroit Free Press, Oct 11, 1908, Page 20

What an incredible resource we have in this database. AADL patrons have full-text access to articles and full-page images from over 90 years of Detroit newspapers. These articles cover Detroit and Michigan, as well as national news from 1831-1922, and provide citations for students wishing to use them as primary resources. Genealogists will enjoy the special obituary search option, and historians will love being able to peruse this treasure trove of information.
Access to this and any of our other reference databases and resources is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card. For access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. To access the Detroit Free Press Historical Database, go to the Newspapers page, and select Detroit Free Press Historical (1831-1922).

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Titanic Passenger Records Released Online

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:33am by darla

The genealogy site Ancestry.com has released thousands of records online relating to the passengers and crew of the Titanic. The collection will be available for free until April 15, the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking. More than 2,200 people were aboard when it struck an iceberg, and more than 1,500 killed. The collection includes a massive amount of information relating to those people, including passenger lists, crew lists and lists of deaths at sea. Also included are two databases from Canada, one featuring headstone images of 121 Titanic victims buried at Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The second, from the Nova Scotia Archives, includes 329 coroner inquest files and 330 records of bodies that were recovered by ships, along with the disposition of those bodies. "The sinking of the legendary Titanic was a major moment in the history of both the United States and the United Kingdom," says Dan Jones, VP of global content for Ancestry.com. "As the years have passed, many generations have lost information that would confirm relatives who may have been aboard. We’re very pleased to offer these records free for a limited time and provide a single source to find answers to some long-standing family mysteries." Other Titanic-related databases available on Ancestry.com include the Carpathia Passenger List from 1912, which includes many survivors from the Titanic, as well as a broader collection known as “Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1975”.

The Ancestry.com Titanic Collection can be found here. Visit one of our AADL locations to access the library version of Ancestry.com.

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Ancestry Library Edition: Gold Mine for Genealogists

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 4:07pm by annevm

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Discover more about your family history by accessing the Ancestry Library Edition database. This huge database taps into a wide array of sources, including census reports, birth & death records, and immigration records. Expand on what you already know about your ancestors by locating newspaper articles, yearbook photos, and much more.

Whether your forebears are from North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, or somewhere else, it's worth looking for information here. Current featured data collections are
Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 and United States Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940.

To access Ancestry Library Edition, you must be inside an Ann Arbor District library -- Downtown, West, Pittsfield, Traverwood, or Mallets Creek. Have fun finding information on your ancestors!

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October is National Family History Month!

Fri, 10/07/2011 - 5:45pm by Stewart

We are celebrating Family History Month by offering two classes in genealogy.

Getting the Most Out of FamilySearch.org | Tuesday "> October 11 | 7 pm | Pittsfield Branch

A Genealogist's Best Friend - The Library | Wednesday | October 26 | 3:30 pm | Downtown Library

The classes will be instructed by Bobbie Snow, genealogy lecturer and longtime member of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County. Registration is not required and classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Classrooms will open 15 minutes before the class begins. Click here for the complete class schedule.

If you're interested in genealogy, you may enjoy The Complete Beginner's Guide To Genealogy, The Internet, And Your Genealogy Computer Program by Karen Clifford.

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It's Orange!

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 8:22am by Stewart

The October and November computer class schedule is ready! Review the schedule online, pick up a brochure at any library location, or call 734-327-4555 for more information.


There are a few new classes:
A Genealogist's Best Friend - The Library: Learn from Bobbie Snow, of the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, how to use your local library and online libraries in your genealogy research.
Wednesday, October 26, 3:30 - 5:30 pm Downtown


Getting the Most Out of FamilySearch.org: Bobbie Snow will show you how to use FamilySearch.org to access over 100 years of genealogical records.
Tuesday, October 11, 7 - 9 pm at Pittsfield


Advanced Excel: Practice with drop-down lists, lookup , pivot tables, and more.
Monday, November 28, 7 - 9 pm Downtown


Etsy: Back by popular demand, Kate Kehoe (chicalookate), will talk about the online marketplace where folks buy/sell handmade creations, craft supplies, and vintage items.
Tuesday, October 4, 7 - 9 pm at Traverwood
Wednesday, November 9, 3:30 - 5:30 pm Downtown


Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Classrooms will open 15 minutes before the class start times. Registration is not required.