Free Access to Databases

Would you like free access to databases of genealogy records?

The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society recently announced a substantial expansion of available New York records. Remote access to a collection of New York Roman Catholic vital records is available with a membership to the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society. Members get free access to all North American records on, including the marriages and baptisms, and U.S. newspapers (not available in the Library Edition). The membership fee is $70. UK records are not included. A universal subscription through the findmypast site includes British and Irish records, but is about double that cost.

Why not trundle down to your local city or county library or Family History Research Center and utilize this database and most of the major subscription genealogy databases for free? Take your external hard drive or computer and view and copy records. There are two dozen Family History Research Centers just in the northern California San Francisco Bay Area. Those research centers also stock books and microfilmed records that are not available through electronic sources. Preview the free online and onsite databases.

City and County libraries subscribe to more restricted versions of the popular genealogy databases, but those may have all the collections you need. For example, the Santa Clara City Library subscribes to the findmypast library edition. This doesn’t include newspapers, but other UK and US collections are available. Do you want to view newspapers on microfilm that are in the repository at the California State Library? Request them through inter-library loan at your local library. Just because a city or county is populous, does not mean that they are the most nearby library with the greatest array of resources. The Carlsbad, California City Library claims to have “one of the largest genealogy collections in Southern California.” Call, email or view the online catalog for information on specific resources.

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