Monday, July 19, 2010

Portals to the past at your library (Part 2)

You’ve seen the commercials on TV. People just like you are using to discover and connect with their family history. Well, did you know you can use the product for free at the Petawawa Public Library?

Our version is called Ancestry Library Edition and all you need to do is visit the library to use one of our Public Access Internet stations. If you bring your own laptop to the library you may also use it to search Ancestry without worrying about the one hour Internet session time limit.

Ancestry Library Edition includes access to historical documents, records, maps and photos from Canada and around the world. There are nearly 60 million records from the Census of Canada; and key vital records, such as the Drouin Collection (1621-1967), which includes nearly 30 million baptism, marriage, and burial records from Quebec.

Find your ancestor’s name on a hand-written ship’s passenger list, along with information such as their age at the time, their occupation and the family members who accompanied them on the journey. Read an obituary that describes your ancestor’s life and discover other relatives to add to your search. The site provides many other options for genealogical research. Information you find may also be printed or emailed so it can be shared with others.

You can link to Ancestry Library Edition by visiting the Online Databases page of our website. Please remember, Ancestry Library Edition is only available for in-library use. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Culture's $15 million investment in public libraries through SOLS in collaboration with OLS-North.

View this 2 minute introduction to Ancestry Library Edition. Then visit the library to begin (or continue) digging around for the roots of your family tree.
(Photo from the Ancestry Library Edition website)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Portals to the Past at Your Library (Part 1).

Whether your interest is in exploring local history or delving into your own family tree, your library is the perfect place to experience how new technology and historical information meet to provide access to the treasures of the past.

The newest addition to the Petawawa Public Library’s roster of online databases is our Digital Heritage Collection. Using any computer with an Internet connection, you can examine documents, view photographs and listen to recorded interviews that bring the history of Petawawa to life!

Find out what it was like to be a young schoolteacher back in the day. Admire the fashions of the young men and women of yesteryear. Browse the assessment rolls to see if you can find your own family name and what kinds of jobs people held once upon a time.

As a Community Digitization Project, the Digital Heritage Collection needs help from the community (that includes you) in order to best reflect the history of Petawawa. Kathryn Schoutsen is coordinating this effort at the Petawawa Public Library. She will scan your historical photos and documents, catalogue them and add them to the publicly accessible collection. A “Digitization Day”, for this purpose, will be held at the library in August. For more information, contact Kathryn at 613-687-2227 or

You can find a link to the Digital Heritage Collection on this blog (see the sidebar on the right of your screen), on our website, on Facebook, or just by clicking here. You might even stumble upon it simply by going online and “googling” something local and historical. You’ll never know until you try!

(The Community Digitization Project is a project of Our Ontario, a service of Knowledge Ontario, in partnership with OLS-North and SOLS. The project is being funded by the Ontario Ministry of Culture's $15 million investment in public libraries through SOLS in collaboration with OLS-North).

The next post will describe the technology available at the library for exploring your family tree.

(In the photo: Mrs. August Gutzman, nee Frederika Heinze).