Dig Into Heritage Quest Online
August 26, 2014
How many of you enjoy using HeritageQuest Online? Am I the first to raise my hand? I find this website very neat. It is one of the Research Databases that you may access at any Mid-Continent Public Library branch for free, and even browse it remotely from the comfort of your home as long as you have a MCPL card.
Why is HeritageQuest Online worth exploring? It contains many primary sources and employs an approach to census research that differs from the other big websites. After entering a surname in the search field, the search results will display people bearing the surname alphabetized by first name. It makes the results very convenient to comb through and helps if you are not sure of the spelling of the first name. If you are uncertain in regards to the spelling of the surname, you may have to type in multiple variations. Due to this approach, I find it to be more precise, and you don't have to scan through a long list of every possible variation of the last name. The minimalist interface of this website is its strong point, as the search results are presented in a very simple and convenient table format. You may also try an advanced search, such as searching only by age or birthplace.
Another reason why I am attracted to this specific database is the browsing option. By choosing a place, you can browse through images of a census from a particular location or community. It makes for an interesting journey, seeing the images one after another and reading through the names of all the people who lived in the same community as your ancestor. You can see them all together, almost as one big family. Some of those people could be your relatives or neighbors/friends who shared their lives with your ancestor. Perhaps they moved to the community at the same time or even immigrated to America together. Maybe their parents were from the same town in the old country. Who knows?
HeritageQuest Online offers other valuable records, as well. The digitized books section allows you to find and read online family genealogy and local history books as well as city directories. Another great section is PERSI, or the Periodical Source Index Archive. Explore this link to find information about ancestors, towns, or regions in various periodical articles.
An additional section is The Freedman’s Bank Records Collection. This is a great source for researching African American records. It contains almost 500,000 names and information from depositor accounts. The Freedman’s Bank was a banking institution established to help freed slaves after the Civil War. The database’s About section contains a detailed list of all the information one may find there. It is a true treasure trove for African American research.
The Revolutionary War section is waiting to be explored, as well. It contains selected original images of pension records and bounty land warrant application files. Here you may find the widows’ pensions and disability pensions of your Revolutionary War ancestor.
The final section is the US Serial Set Index, which documents American legislative and executive history. You can search for people and places in the Memorials, Petitions, and Private Relief Actions of the US Congress. Genealogists may be especially interested in the pension disputes and land disputes. For help, the How-To videos presented under the Learning Center link provides useful hints and lessons.
Let us know if this database helped you learn or discover anything new. Hopefully, the stories presented in this database will add a new and colorful dimension to your perspective of the era in which your ancestors lived.
Midwest Genealogy Center