08 June 2011

Using Ancestry.com: Library Edition

     Being short on funds, I'm currently without a subscription to Ancestry.com. I've been making use of my other subscriptions to Footnote.com and Genealogy Bank, as well as free sites such as Internet Archive and Family Search and non-internet sources. However, there are just some records that I can only easily access online at Ancestry.com. Luckily, I don't need to pay for Ancestry.com to use it; my local library system has an account. Here's a recap of my library adventure.

     1. I had Wednesday off from work, so I got up early to go to the Library (hey, 9am is early when you work til midnight). But then I checked the Gwinnett County Public Library website and realized they open at 1pm on Wednesdays... Oops!

     2. I got to the Lawrenceville Branch at 1:40pm and the parking lot was packed. Oops again. I forgot that school was out for the summer. If I'd remembered that I'd have gone to another branch - any other branch! Too late now.

     3. The computers require you to sign up for a spot before you can use one. Being so busy, I had a 30 minute wait and then I would be signed up to use computer #11... for 30 minutes. Honestly, I almost went home. 30 minutes is nothing. However, I had one specific document that I knew I needed a higher resolution copy of than I had, so I stuck around.

     4. Browsed books... History, Science Fiction... check the time... Romance, History again... check the time... Young Adult, General Fiction...

     5. Finally, it was time to get on the computer. I was able to plug in my flash drive and save information to it, which was a plus (and if I'd forgotten mine, I could buy one for $9.99). Access to ancestry.com was easy and pre-assiged to the Gwinnett Library Account. I quickly realized that the Library Edition is very different from a paid subscription:

  • New Search Only, no Old Search :( 
  • US Records only
  • Not all records collections were available
  • No access to Public Member Trees, Photos or Documents
     6. The computer kept interrupting me (10 minutes have gone by! 10 minutes left! 5 minutes left!). Combined with the differences between the Library edition and what I'm used to, I wasted time trying to find databases that weren't available in this edition. I feel like I wasted a lot of time. This is also partly due to the 30 minute time limit.

     7. Though I was disappointed, this really should be a happy post. Through my local library, I have free access to an amazing website. I can access all of the census records, as well a numerous birth, marriage, death and military records. I'll likely visit the library again before I start paying for my own subscription again - I'll just plan better.

1 comment:

Leah said...

I'd be happy to do an Ancestry.com look-up for you if you'd like. Just give me the details (who, what, when, where) on what you're after.


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