Genealogy Databases You Can Use From Home

The Boston Public Library (BPL) offers access to several databases you can use to research your family history. Below is an overview of the ones you can use from home, including some tips on how to get the most out of them.

How to Access the Databases

You can access these databases from home using your BPL card or eCard number and PIN on the BPL's website. Don't have a BPL card or eCard yet? Find out how to get one here!

American Ancestors

  • The full collection of databases is available only with a paid subscription
  • There are many databases that can be used with a free registration at the site, called a Guest Account
  • Some of the free databases are:
  • Other free resources:
    • Research Guides            
      • Includes guides on basic genealogy practices, different record types, researching a specific heritage, and more
    • Research Templates            
      • Includes blank family charts, research logs, and style sheets
    • Video Library            
      • Includes videos on family history, author talks, American Ancestors resources, and more

MyHeritage Library Edition

  • What Is It?          
    • A searchable collection of genealogy databases containing records
  • What Does It Have?          
    • Digitized historical documents, photos, newspapers, and other resources
  • Tips          
    • You can search all collections at once or one collection at a time
    • Advanced search does not have a single “match exactly” button for all fields, this option must be selected for each field
    • Keyword search does not work, when searching for newspaper articles try splitting keywords into name fields
    • The print option will only print the record transcription, you cannot print the image of the record directly
    • There is no save record button or email option, you must right click on an image to save it to the desktop
    • Once saved to desktop, then you can print or email record image

HeritageQuest Online

  • What Is It?          
    • A searchable database containing millions of records from all over the world
  • What Does It Have?          
    • City directories, family and local history books, U.S. Census records, military records, research aids
  • Tips          
    • Produced by the same company as and so has a similar interface
    • The main differences are:
      • You cannot search multiple collections at once, only one at a time
      • It has fewer collections
      • It emphasizes books & research aids more
      • There are no family trees

More Information

For more information about genealogy resources at the BPL, check out the genealogy page on our website-