Monday, February 19, 2007

Heritage Quest Online Database

Vernon Parish Library has a new resource that uses technology to make tracing family trees easier. HeritageQuest Online™, a Web-based reference tool from ProQuest Information and Learning, will allow you to start exploring your roots by searching a surname. Even more convenient, you don’t have to leave home to do it. Anyone with a Vernon Parish Library card can log on to HeritageQuest Online through the library website and begin instantly searching the database’s millions of records for clues to their past – as far back as the 1700s.

The library is responding to a growing interest in family history that’s captured not only Vernon Parish but America as a whole. A new nationwide survey* shows 73% of Americans want to learn more about their roots, up from 60% in 2000. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed became interested after searching for a family surname online, pointing to the increasing popularity of Internet-based genealogy.

“More and more of our patrons want to explore their past and HeritageQuest Online makes it easy and convenient,” said Howard Coy, Director. “We expect this to be one of our most popular services.”

Coy says before you log on make a list of ancestors to research. “Write down the names of every direct ancestor you can think of,” he advises.

Once connected to HeritageQuest Online, users will find several paths to finding information – the U.S. Federal Census collection, over 20,000 family and local history books, an index to nearly 2 million magazine articles with genealogical information, or a vast database of Revolutionary War era records. Users select a path and enter a name to be searched. HeritageQuest Online instantly looks for matches and returns the results. Click on a name and an image of the matching record appears. For example, when a name is searched in the census collection, the particular page where this name is listed will be displayed on the screen. Patrons can use the information that they find as “clues” that will assist in searching their family history – places where they lived, names of relatives, birth or death dates, etc. Names can be added to form the “tree” or searched to find more clues.

“Genealogy is a wonderful hobby for anyone who wants to know more about where they came from,” says Coy, “and HeritageQuest Online is simple enough for beginners, yet it provides deep and broad content sets that will help veteran genealogists advance their research.”

Patrons with a valid Vernon Parish Library Card can visit the Library’s web page (, click on the Reference Tab, and go to the section labeled Genealogy. Click on the Heritage Quest link, enter your Vernon Parish Library Card number and enjoy the search.

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