If you are a cardholder of the Schaumburg Township District Library and have an interest in genealogical research, then you know you can access genealogical electronic database products both from within the library and from home via your library card identification.
Did you know that the local Family History Centers in our area also offer access to electronic database products? And that some of their accessible products are different from the ones our library uses?
Which means that you should consider visiting your local Family History Center (FHC) to try out some of the databases they offer that we do not offer or cannot offer. If you do not visit them then you are not taking advantage of an opportunity to tap into a resource that is available to you.
When we subscribe to databases at our library, we need the availability of the product to be offered to as a “commercial” product. What does that mean? It means we have to have the ability to have the product available to our users in the library across a broad spectrum of computers as well as being available in a manner that does not require a log-in or password process. Our library is the subscriber, not the individual user. Our computers need to talk to the providers’ computers via IP addresses and not log-ins or passwords.
Consequently, there may be great genealogical database products that exist which we cannot add to our collection because the producer of the data does not offer a “commercial” product allowing us to connect to the data over multiple computers using IP address information.
However, it may very well be possible for a FHC to subscribe to such a service because they have a few computers on site making it easier to obtain a standard subscription offered by the producer.
In fact, in my discussions with some local FHCs, I have learned that the local FHCs offer what is known as a Family History Center Portal. This Portal is provided by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints to the local FHCs. In the Portal are a series of databases that can be accessed by the researcher at the FHC. Some of the components of the database are familiar to genealogical researchers such as Ancestry.com Library Edition or Heritage Quest. These two are available to users at our library.
You may also discover databases in the Family History Center Portal that we do not have such as 19th Century British Library Newspaper Archive or Godfrey Memorial Library.
It is also possible for a local FHC to add an electronic resource to their on-site collection that is over and above what is offered in the Family History Center Portal. This may not happen too often because this added database expense is then picked up by the local FHC whereas the Portal is provided to them at no cost to them directly.
Here are the names of the databases contained within the Family History Center Portal that are available at a local Family History Center in our suburban area:
- 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive
- NewspaperArchive.com (our library has this product)
- Alexander Street Press – The American Civil War
- Ancestry.com The Library Edition (our library has this product)
- ArkivDigital (Swedish Church Records)
- FindMyPast (British Records)
- Fold3 (Many Military Records) (our library has this product)
- Heritage Quest Online (our library has this product)
- Historic Map Works Library Edition
- Paper Trail (19th Century westward American migration records)
Local Family History Centers (FHC) that are closest to our library and the approximate mileage distance between us and them:
- Buffalo Grove, IL (16 miles from our library)
- Crystal Lake, IL (22 miles from our library)
- Naperville, IL (30 miles from our library)
- Schaumburg, IL (2 miles from our library)
- Wilmette, IL (27 miles from our library)
Your local Family History Center is more than just a location to view any microfilms you may order. Granted, you are excited at what might be discovered on those films. You just do not pay any attention to the computers sitting nearby that provide you access to databases you were not even aware of that might help your research.
Maybe you want to make a field trip to your local FHC just to check out the Portal of databases the FHC has on their computers that we do not have at our library.
Take a little time off from viewing microfilms and divert your attention momentarily to learn about the great resource that your local Family History Center has to help your research efforts.
Schaumburg Township District Library