Motivation Monday--Free Access

Genealogy can be a very expensive hobby if you aren't thorough in your research. Sometimes the easiest access to records can simply be too expensive to pay for, depending on where you are in your walk of life.

Can't afford to pay for access to a website, or hard copies of records, or to travel to an ancestor's home state or home town? No worries! You don't have to spend money to have success. And a good place to look for genealogy access when you are strapped for cash is on your county library website.

Different libraries will pay for access to different databases. Check your county library's website for the different digital databases they offer. To show you what to look for, here is the Cecil County Public Library website:

To find out what your library has access to in terms of genealogy resources, many times you can simply ask the librarians the next time you visit your local library. They will be able to give you any sort of instructions you need in how to access the records either from their computers there, or from home on your own internet connection. 

In the state of Maryland, we have free access to HeritageQuest. As you can also see above, there are some records from Western Maryland that are also available. I don't really need those, so I've never explored them, but let's look at HeritageQuest.

Anyone with a Maryland library card can access HeritageQuest for free on any internet connection. All you have to have is your library card number, which you type into the box on this page. With that, you can access a really useful archive of census records. I haven't found many of the other repositories there to be useful yet, but everyone can use free census records!

So if you want to make sure you have access to free genealogical records, never throw away your old library cards! They could be your ticket to some amazing finds...

Like this one I had for Bryna Alexander Doyle and her daughter, Sarah. It was the only census record missing from the set for their family.

Bryna Alexander Doyle and Sarah Ann Doyle--1870 Grayson County, VA Census

You don't have to spend a lot of money to solve your family mysteries and find the answers to your questions. You simply have to know where to look.