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Technology Review

By virginia spence

Digital Genealogy Resources at Oak Ridge Public Library

Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies. Did you know that the Oak Ridge Public Library has digital genealogy resources? Some of these resources are openly available to anyone, some are available to all Tennessee residents and some are unique holdings to ORPL. If you want to get started on your personal genealogy journey or continue your existing research, we have resources that can help. This is not an exhaustive list for all genealogy resources, but a list of a few resources that are either widely accessible or only available at ORPL. They are all accessible from our website at www.orpl.org or on site at the library.

Tennessee Electronic Library: Tennessee Records, Heritage Quest, & Chronicling America

The Tennessee Electronic Library offers access to genealogy databases and records for all Tennessee residents. Records include historical births, deaths, wills, and tax lists in Tennessee. Don’t have an Ancestry.com account? Create a free guest account to be able to view these records. Heritage Quest, now under the Ancestry.com umbrella, has records that include U.S. and Canadian census records, city directories, mortality schedules, U.S. Indian census rolls, U.S. Freedman’s Bank records, Revolutionary War pensions, obituaries, and books. Many records include images of the original documents that can be saved or printed. Transcriptions provide a helpful tool for any difficult to read historical document. Tennessee residency is the only requirement for Heritage Quest. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers offers a wide variety of digital newspaper access through the endeavors of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to create a searchable and accessible database of historic newspapers. All three of these resources allow you to locate records, vital, census, or newspaper articles of or relating to your genealogical subjects to help build and support your research.

Family Search

Family Search is a nonprofit online genealogy database provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The online database is connected to a network of physical locations for Family History Centers and FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries. Through these physical locations, additional digital content is accessible online and physical resources, like microfilm, are available to be sent and viewed here. Oak Ridge Public Library is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, so you can access additional resources from Family Search though ORPL. Online records include birth, marriage, death, census, military, immigration and more. Search and create family trees. Images of records are available on Family Search and can be printed and saved or added to your family tree.

Find A Grave

FindaGrave.com is an online, openly accessible resource for cemetery records. This crowdsourced database contains millions of records and is searchable by name, date, and location. Cemeteries can also be perused by all internments to aid in locating kinship relationships. Some entries include familial relationships and additional genealogical information including photographs of both the grave marker and of the person.      Do you heed to say where the graves listed are located? TN? Various states?

ORPL Resources: Obituary Index, COROH, & Kingston Demolition Range Photos

The library has several unique resources that can aid in genealogy research, primarily for local interest. Our Obituary Index for The Oak Ridger is an online resource accessible from our website that contains listing of all obituaries in the local newspaper going back to the 1940s. Entries contain name, date of death, publication date and page number. With this you can then locate the obituary in our microfilm archive or for obituaries after 1997, digitally online from NewsBank. Oral histories collected through the endeavors of The Center for Oak Ridge Oral History (COROH) can also provide a deep personal narrative for family members of the interviewees or even for others whose family members may have had similar experiences through pre-Oak Ridge communities, the Manhattan Project years, or even the unique experiences in our scientific community to date. Learn factual happenings and historical events or just colorful daily culture to give insight into the lives of family members in your tree. Similarly, photographs from the Kingston Demolition Range collection and the Department of Energy collection can provide illustrative and informative glimpses into life of pre-Oak Ridge and during the Manhattan Project. The Kingston Demolition Range collection can be viewed and accessed on site at the library. The Department of Energy collection along with COROH and other digital archives can be accessed from our online digital collection site and through physical copies on site.

Jumpstart or expand your genealogy research with some of these highlighted resources. Have fun imagining life for your family during the pre-Oak Ridge era or the Manhattan project era with our photographs and oral histories. If you ever need help accessing or navigating resources, ORPL is happy to help. We are just a chat (online), text (865-324-0400), email (Reference@oakridgetn.gov), or phone call (865-425-3455) away and can arrange one-on-one appointments to provide in-depth assistance. Don’t miss our programs on Solving Mysteries with DNA, Wednesday, April 21st and Digital Genealogy Resources 101, Thursday April 29th.Start filling in the leaves of your family tree with help from the library today!