Using the library from home

Do you want to use the resources of the American Ancestors and NEHGS Library from home? The Library’s Collection Services team is working hard to bring our collections to you. How are we doing this? We are adding links daily in our library catalog to digital copies of materials, we are enhancing records with more information and subject headings to make searching for your family more effective, and we are preparing digital versions of unique library holdings to add to our Digital Library. There are now close to 15,000 links to digital versions of items that you can access. These links exist thanks to the efforts of the staff and our dedicated volunteers who assist us with this task and help you use the library from home.

To find which books are available online, go to the library catalog and search for your topic (family name, geographic area, etc.) and then look for the books with online links. Or, you can begin your search by selecting only online materials from the main search page by clicking on the box “search for online resources only” under the keyword search box. This will include books and manuscripts in our collection.

If you’re wondering what is included, we add links to books from freely available sources such as the Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, FamilySearch and other sources, as shown in this example:

We add books that we receive from members that were published only in a digital version:

And books that we have scanned from our collection because they are not available elsewhere:

Some of our books have unique annotations and additional materials that you will not find elsewhere, such as the handwritten page shown at the top of this post:

If you have suggestions for books you would like to see online, or you would like to donate an online book that you have written, please send an email to One thing to remember when making suggestions is that digital copies are generally only available for books out of copyright. As of 2020, that means books published in 1924 or earlier, and some books before 1964 where the copyright was not renewed.

American Ancestors also has some free webinars that may be of interest, such as Finding Family History in Library Catalogs and Getting the Most from American Ancestors from Home. You may be at home, but you can still use resources from the American Ancestors and NEHGS Library!

About Anne Meringolo

Anne Meringolo was the Library’s Technical Services Manager until 2020, where she managed the acquisition, cataloging, and preservation of the library’s collection as well as the integrated library system and online catalog. Anne joined the staff in 2013 and was previously a librarian at Simmons College and the State Library of Massachusetts.

2 thoughts on “Using the library from home

  1. Hi Michael, Thanks for your comment, I’m glad it was helpful. Hopefully you’ll find something that helps with your research.

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