© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Access to millions of genealogical resources is now available for free at libraries throughout Cumberland County. Librarian Denise Corey recently gave patrons a rundown of the ancestry.com website at the Four Fathers Memorial Library in Amherst.
AMHERST – Getting their fix has never been easier for people addicted to researching their family history.
“All they need is a library card,” sad Denise Corey, assistant chief librarian at the Four Fathers Library in Amherst.
The library recently rolled out their subscription to the popular family history research site ancestry.com.
“It’s absolutely free, as long as you have a library card, and it’s at every library in the county,” said Corey
The ancestry.com, Library Edition, will allow people to access ancestry.com’s worldwide database.
Anybody wishing to access the worldwide database themselves would have to dish out about $600 per year.
“It’s expensive,” said Marney Gilroy, treasurer at the Cumberland County Genealogical Society. “So having it at the library promotes the library, it promotes the research and it promotes a tool they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.”
Gilroy says researching family history addictive.
“It’s a disease. You get the bug.”
Linda Letcher, who is also with the CCGS, agrees.
“I spent 16 years researching my family, and a friend of mine thought I was nuts but she got into it and now she’s hooked. She has it really bad,” said Letcher.
She says genealogy is like solving a puzzle.
“It’s like somebody chucked a 5,000 piece puzzle on the floor and you pick up a little piece and say, ‘that goes over there,’ then you find three or four more pieces and your hooked.”
Lethcher also said it can lead to surprises.
She thought her husband’s great grandparents came to Canada together but ancestry.com led to a revision of her family history.
“He came four years prior to Montreal and she came on a different ship four years later through New York,” said Letcher.
Further research at ancestry.com confirmed the time difference because there was a four-year age gap between the ages of their children.
Letcher said anscestry.com is a “wonderful tool for helping with verification if you find a treasure.”
But finding a treasure takes work and persistence.
“People seeing the ancestry.com commercial think they can plug in a name and they should get everything,” said Corey. “But that’s not how it always works.”
Corey says a co-worker found a lot of information during her first time on the website, but Corey said she’s still having a hard time finding information about her family.
“Her family might be one of those families that like’s to document things and mine doesn’t,” said Corey.
People wanting to use ancestry.com need to be at the library to access the site because it only works on their Wi-Fi.
“You have to be on our internet to make it work,” said Corey. “You can bring in your own computer and sit in one of the chairs.”
You can also access their Wi-Fi in the library parking lot.
“If at 3 a.m. if you want to look something up on Ancestry, you can get the Wi-Fi out in our parking lot,” said Corey.
That sounds good to Letcher.
“You’re going to see a new era of seniors parking in the parking lot,” she said.