L.A. Public Library Offers Rich Genealogy Resources, Many Online

The Los Angeles Public Library has upgraded the availability of many of its genealogy resources. All can be accessed at the main library downtown or at local branches and now many are also be available to library users at home with their public library cards. Cards are available free to all residents of California.

The Access Newspaper Archive Database “contains tens of millions of searchable newspaper pages, dating as far back at the 1700s.” This includes digitized reproduction of the Los Angeles Times from its beginning in 1881 to the present, searchable by keywords, author’s names, articles, and dates or browsable by full page or issue, including photos, graphics and advertisements. Also available are the Van Nuys News under its many title changes, as well as Long Beach, Pasadena and other local newspapers.

The Genealogy & Local History Index Database is available to all even without a library card. According to the Genealogy Librarian, “We have been doing all the in depth indexing that used to be typed on cards for our Family History Index and Local History Index here for the last decade. In addition, we have begun transferring the indexing from the two card catalogs to this online database. It has doubled in size in less than two years.”

The Proquest Newsstand Database accessible Online, provides full-text searches of over 300 US. and International news sources, including the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal/Constitution, and the Times of London. The Access Newspaper Archive includes many additional newspapers from around the world.

The City Directories Index should be of particular interest to genealogists researching ancestors in American cities who do not appear in the decennial censuses. This Index lists paper and microform US. city, county, state, and regional directories located in the History & Genealogy Department of the Library. The collection also includes some Canadian Directories.

Heritage Quest Online includes a collection of genealogical research materials for tracing family history and American culture, including the US. Federal Census Records (1790-1930) and over 25,000 family and local histories.

The Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 include digitalized California maps from the Sanborn Map Company, which was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. These include detailed maps of residential as well as commercial buildings in Los Angeles for most of the twentieth century.

Encyclopedia Judaica – Gale Virtual Reference e-Book. Updated edition of Judaism that features more than 21,000 entries on Jewish life, culture, history, and religion, written by Israeli, American and European subject specialists, 22 volumes.

Ancestry, Library Edition is a genealogy resource with over 1.5 billion names, includes records from US. census, military, court, land, probate, church records, and passenger lists. Their new complete Jewish Family History Collection, which can be accessed from home, without charge, directly, is included.

The Genealogy & Local History Index contains local history information, selected history resources, and an index of family names in published genealogies located in the History & Genealogy Department.

The Biography and Genealogy Master Index provides an index to biographical dictionaries and directories. Each record provides name, birth and death dates, and the titles of the books in which a biographical sketch of the individual can be found. There is a Reference Database of over 120 million households around the U.S.

The History Resource Center, a valuable tool for Family Historians, covers all areas of US. history from pre-colonial times to the present day through primary documents, reference sources and newspaper/journal articles; and the Greenwood Daily Life Online describing daily life in the ancient world, medieval world, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, providing detailed descriptions about what it was like.

For those with early New England-arriving ancestors, The New England Historic Genealogical Society database provides access to over 2,000 databases of New England resources, with over 100 million names and their NEHGS Register.

There is also a Genealogy Images Database which emphasizes the history of Los Angeles, Southern California, and California. This Internet-accessible collection is one of the treasures of the Central Library. The collection itself is not available for physical browsing in person and can only be accessed Online.

All together, more than 120 collections of materials relevant to genealogy and family history can be accessed from your home or after identification in their online catalogue, ordered for review at the downtown or local library.

From the library’s home page: http://www.lapI.org/ click on Access the Databases in the center part of the page, which will lead to the database search engine on http://databases.lapl.org/. The databases themselves are in alphabetical order and can be found by scrolling down the page.