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New Tutorials on HeritageQuest

Here are links to two tutorials on the recently redesigned HeritageQuest database.  Remember, all Michigan residents have access to this genealogy resource remotely when they use their library cards, driver's licenses or state issued I.D. cards.

HeritageQuest; the Basics

HeritageQuest; Beyond the Basics

Handouts from Recent Genealogy Classes

I've been asked by several people to make our handouts available to those who were not able to come to the recent genealogy classes.  Here they are:

Introducing the Genealogy Databases

Basic Genealogy Research Using the Library Databases

I hope these will be of help!

National Library of Ireland Makes Catholic Parish Registers Available Online

The following is taken directly from the Library's Website:

Catholic Parish Registers


For most family history researchers, parish registers provide the earliest direct source of family information. Unlike many other records, parish registers provide evidence of direct links between one generation and the next (via baptismal registers) and one family and another (via marriage registers). They are also, for the majority of Irish people who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries, the only record of their existence.

The NLI microfilmed registers from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s. Digital images from these microfilms are now freely available on the website: Catholic Parish Registers at the NLI. (

Interesting Instructions to Census Takers

Take a look at this page from the U.S. Census Bureau -

The full images of the printed instructions for Census Takers are linked to this page and are packed with tidbits of information regarding just how those collecting information from our ancestors were to go about their job.  

For example, did you know that prior to the 1880 Census, U.S. Marshalls were the ones who collected the data?  In the 1870 Census, if a deaf person was able to speak, then he or she was not to be listed as deaf. A person was considered deaf for Census purposes only if unable to speak as well as hear. 

These and many other interesting facts may be found by reading these historic online booklets!

Plymouth City Directories Online through two Databases

The Library currently owns five Plymouth City Directories in print format -1933, 1946, 1953, 1968 and 1979. These are kept in the Reference Michigan Collection.

In addition to these, patrons may also find Plymouth City Directories ONLINE through both (in the Library) or the NEW HeritageQuest database which may be accessed either in library or from home. If you look under "City Directories", you will find Plymouth Directories available in full image for these years: 1938, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1960.

For those tracking local businesses, people or general information regarding the city government, population, number of parks, schools etc, these directories are a gold mine of information. Also keep in mind, the Northville is also included in the vast majority of these directories as well as Plymouth.

More Michigan Death Records Available!

News posted on website:

"Today is Seeking Michigan’s sixth birthday, and the Archives of Michigan is thrilled to announce that images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 are now available for free here at Seeking Michigan. The index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks, with additional certificate images to be released each year as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available here for years, this collection makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million free, publicly-available 20th century death records for your Michigan ancestors."

New Look and Content for HeritageQuest

ProQuest made this announcement today, March 4, 2015:



HeritageQuest Online is now powered by, providing exciting new content, new search pages, and new tools previously unavailable in HeritageQuest Online. 

  • New Content:
    • Now available for searching is the entire U.S. Federal Census collection from including supplements (e.g., 1940 Enumeration District Maps) and several schedules (e.g., non-population schedules) previously not included for searching.
    • 20,000 city directories have been added to the existing city directories in the Book collection, increasing the size of the Books collection to more than 45,000 titles!
    • Expanded content in our Revolutionary War Collection! The entirety of the NARA Series M804 is now included here, providing access not only to the previously available "Selected Records" (Series M805) but now also to the "Non-Selected" records of each file. Learn more in the Content > Revolutionary War section of this guide!
  • New Search & Results Pages: Four of the six collections (Census, Books, Revolutionary War records, and Freedman's Bank records) have brand new search pages with limits, exact matching options, and additional fields for searching.
  • New Tools: We have partnered with not only to upgrade the search interface and add new content, but to bring you additional tools for making the search experience easier. You will now have access to's:
    •'s Interactive Image Viewer when using the Census, Books, Revolutionary War, and Freedman's Bank collections
    • The Research Aids resources for learning opportunities for novice, intermediate, and advanced searchers.
    • Access to's Discoveries Page!

Ancestry to Discontinue 5 Services

The information below was taken from's blog, posted by Eric Shoup on June 4, 2014 in Site:

"We’re proud of the variety of products we’ve created over the years that enable people to discover, preserve and share their family history. We recognize that there are a lot of ways that we, as a company, can make family history easier, more accessible and more fun for people all over the world. And we’re continually innovating to make it a reality. We’re always looking to focus our efforts in a way that provide the most impact, while also delivering the best service and best product experience to users. To that end, we’ve decided to retire some of our services: MyFamily, MyCanvas,, Mundia and the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. We will note that the AncestryDNA (autosomal) test will continue to be available for purchase. Only the y-DNA and mtDNA tests will be retired. Starting September 5, 2014, these services will no longer be available to access. is the exception to the rule, and will continue in a slightly different form. If you are an active member or subscriber to one of these services, you will be contacted directly with details of how to transition the information you’ve created using these services. We know these services have provided value to you. We think they’re pretty cool too, which is why this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. In the end, it came down to priorities and we think our core offerings are a great place to spend our time and resources. So here’s to revolutionizing family history, focusing on providing the best product experience we can offer and to the limitless possibilities that lie before us." -

See more at:

New Genealogy Books

Three new genealogy books have recently been added to the Library's collection.  These are:

 The Genealogist's U.S. History Pocket Reference; Quick Facts & Timelines of American History to Help Understand Your Ancestors by Nancy Hendrickson.  

genealogists ushistory pocket referenceThis small book contains territorial growth maps, lists of important dates within a time frame, information on what is included in a particular census and much more.  It helps to place ancestors within the context of what was happening in America during a particular time in their lives.

Find this book on the Upper Level in the Genealogy Collection under the call number 929 H.


Bad News Regarding the Social Security Death Index

Here is information recently posted on the Legal Genealogist's Blog regarding the SSDI.  For the entire article, please go to:   

"Here’s the big immediate impact, and it’s from the fact that the FOIA exemption took effect the minute the budget bill was signed: genealogists should not — I repeat, we should not — order SS-5 forms (requests for issuance of a Social Security number) for anyone who has died in the last three years.

The FOIA exemption means that all requests for “information on the name, social security account number, date of birth, and date of death of deceased individuals maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security” of people who’ve died in the three calendar years before the request will be denied. So there’s no sense in wasting our time or money sending in tons of requests for SS-5s on recently-deceased relatives.

The second big effect will be to stop reporting new deaths on the SSDI, and while the law says it won’t take effect for 90 days from the signing of the law — or 26 March 2014 — it’s unlikely that any updated version of the SSDI will be available from now on until three calendar years have passed from the date of any individual’s death.

As of today, existing SSDI data that’s online is remaining online. No online service provider has indicated any intention of pulling any information that’s already available. But new information won’t be available for some time."

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