Aberdeenshire Council is offering library members the chance to research their family tree with Ancestry Library Edition.
This will give them the chance to track back through centuries of public records, tracing family lines, military service records and family certificates.
A home subscription to the service usually costs over £100, but the database can be used for free at any library in Aberdeenshire using facilities in the branch. Ellon Academy library assistant and ancestry enthusiast Moira Spencer has found the additional service – which has access to over 4000 information collections – a great help in tracing her family tree back over almost five centuries.
Moira said: “I have been an avid researcher for many years and have managed to go back to the 18th century with my own family tree, and back to the 1600s with my husband’s. Ancestry Library Edition is a great resource for researching family history. It provides military records as well as Scottish censuses from 1841 to 1901 and is especially good for researching ancestors who may have immigrated to America, Canada or Australia.
“In England and Wales, it provides all birth, marriage and death records up to 2005 as well as censuses from 1841 to 1911. You can also view ancestors’ wills and probates which can provide details of benefactors. This can be extremely useful for verification and expanding your family tree.
“This service can also be used in conjunction with other websites such as Scotland’s People providing copies of statutory birth, marriage and death certificates and censuses and overall is incredibly useful for anyone looking to trace their family tree.”
Moira explained that she has used the service to help friends to trace their family tree too and added: “If you are lucky you may find that other ancestry members are researching the same lines as you and this way you can glean a lot of information and possibly even photographs of ancestors in a very short time. As I have expanded my own family tree on Ancestry I am amazed at the people I’ve come across researching the same branches – the great thing is that you can connect with these people and upload the information and photographs they have provided to expand your own research.
“Ancestry allows you to continue the line, and to have this service at the touch of a fingertip is really helpful.”
The library service also offers discounted access to Scotland’s People, which contains birth, marriage and death certificates not included in Ancestry. Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “Family history research is a popular pastime with many people already using library services.
“The library service has a popular range of online resources available and the addition of the Ancestry service will allow researchers to get better quality historical information. Many of these tools are very expensive to purchase, but it all comes as part of being a library member. We hope that other people interested in tracing their family tree will consider doing it through their local library.”