By Diana Gabriel

What an incredible amount of information libraries offer that I use to think came only from books. Boy was I wrong! My name is Diana and I started working at the AJPL a year ago as a Library Computer Assistant. My primary focus is to assist patrons in utilizing the library’s computers. This could be as simple as assisting in logging on to read e-mails or as complex as hunting down a family’s heritage.

The library offers several resources to assist in researching many aspects of life and community. Most are offered on the AJPL’s website under the heading Resources then Research and Databases. My purpose today is to share information offered through our resource database on genealogy. Genealogy! What an amazing time we are living in when we cannot only search for relatives in towns, cities, and states, but also worldwide! How amazing is that?

AJPL offers three major genealogy tools for public use free of charge. Yes, you read right. Free of charge! All you need is a free no charge AJPL Library Card to access the following databases: Ancestry, Family Search and The Arizona Republic.

Ancestry is a research tool with over 4 billion records in census data, vital records, directories, and photos. Ancestry offers International coverage. Information acquired through this service may be saved to a USB drive, or printed from the library printer. Ancestry is currently available from home while the library building is closed!

Family Search is a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations. Search their record collections, genealogies, books and catalog. Their collections include digitized birth, marriage, death, probate, land, military records and more. This service is only accessible in the library with an AJPL library card and available on library computers. As with Ancestry your collected data may be saved to a USB drive, or printed from the library printer.

The Arizona Republic offers the ability to search Arizona Republic obituaries from 2002 on.

Most people start out researching their family histories wanting to know where they came from and how they got where they are today. That too was one of my reasons for becoming involved with genealogy; however, I have always been so much different from my immediate family. For instance, I was the only member of my family that believed in God. This belief was a part of me from a very young age. As I grew older I became very interested in business. Again, no one in my family had any interest except going to work and coming home. As I searched out my family background I found some very interesting information.

My father was an only child and my mother had a half-brother who never fathered children. With only two sisters and no cousins life tended to be pretty basic. My father told us we were Irish, but my paternal grandmother told us a different story. When asking my mother about her family background she replied, “I don’t know.” My best efforts didn’t give me much to start out with. Even so, I decided to give Ancestry a try.  Doing so turned up some interesting and successful people in my family line. It also answered some of those questions I was asking about myself.

Captain William Bartlett 111, born 1741, died 1794, served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War which took place from 1775-1783. My niece and Captain William Bartlett, her 6th Great Grandfather, share an uncanny resemblance! She looks like she could be his daughter with identical facial features! How crazy is that?

Captain Bartlett’s life also answered the question about my strong religious beliefs. At his passing, Captain Bartlett left a will stating how God and his belief in God had been his primary focus in life. He stated that his belief in God was the reason for his successes and achievements. After his showing of dedication to God in his primary statement in his will, he went on to name how he wished his property be dispersed.

I must say that after my initial introduction into the world of genealogy I was hooked! The amount of information available to us is quite amazing. If you’re not already hooked on genealogy I suggest you give it a try. You may just be the next convert!

Additional online resources:

Arizona Historical Digital Newspapers

Chronicling America

GENEALOGY USERS GROUP (Currently on hiatus while the library building is closed – check back soon!)
Meets in the Apache Junction Library, every other Thursday, 1 PM