March 27, 2020
Colorado announced a Stay-at-Home Order for the entire state yesterday, so if you haven’t already been doing so, now is the time to stay home, except for necessary activities such grocery shopping or picking up a prescription. For those of us who are genealogists, this is an ideal time to spend some time working on our genealogy, and there are some great, free options to help us break down some of our long-standing brick walls.
First, the Poudre Valley Library District, the Loveland Public Library and the Clearview Library District (Windsor) are offering access to the Library Edition of Ancestry from home. Ordinarily, this database is only available in person at the libraries, but for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, anyone will be able to use this great resource remotely. Since Ancestry is one of the largest online repositories of original records in the world, this is an opportunity well worth taking advantage of. The Library Edition of Ancestry contains records from all over the world, and contains nearly all of the features that a personal world subscription does, minus the nearly $300 annual subscription fee. If you’ve always wanted to try Ancestry from the convenience of your home, this is a great time to do it. To access Ancestry, you will need a library card for the Fort Collins, Windsor or Loveland Library, but cards are free, and a temporary card can be applied for online.
The Poudre Valley Public Library District also offers free access to another pay-per-view website, My Heritage Library Edition. My Heritage is also free through the library website and is accessed using your library card. My Heritage is another large database that contains records from all over the world. Recently, My Heritage debuted their new, free feature “My Heritage in Color” which is a simple, click of the button tool to colorize black and white photos. If you haven’t already tried it, this a great way to play away an afternoon turning all of your old black and white photos into colored ones.
Another wonderful free opportunity is at Internet Archive (https://archive.org/account/sign-up ). Internet Archive has launched its National Emergency Library service which is making access to a large library of books available during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these books are academic in nature which means that they will be of special interest to genealogists. Judy Russell wrote about this opportunity on her blog, The Legal Genealogist, at Judy G. Russell, “Hats off to Internet Archive,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 25 Mar 2020).
Finally, Ancestry is also making millions of historical records and Images from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration available for free on a temporary basis. To read more about this program, check the Ancestry blog at https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/: .
While you may be stuck at home for the duration, there is no reason you can’t continue working on your genealogy. Thanks to the generosity of websites and libraries, there are plenty of free resources available to help you do just that.
Researcher/Director at Large