Beyond casual hobbying, genealogy databases are being used for a wide variety of purposes, according to ProQuest genealogy expert and Senior Product Manager, William J. Forsyth.
- Locating missing heirs
- Tracing property history
- Understanding demographic trends
- Investigating primary source military history
- Studying genetic medical risks
- And more…
The popularity of genealogy-specific TV programs—such as Who Do You Think You Are, Finding Your Roots, and Genealogy Roadshow—is driving novice genealogists to libraries to explore their own family histories.
With this popularity, there is a greater demand for tools, resources, and expertise in the field. As these trends continue, the role of librarians as community mentors is emphasized.
Patrons and researchers increasingly look to their libraries for guidance on basic genealogical research methodologies and standards.
Recent survey data also demonstrates rising interest in family history research among diverse ethnic groups, calling for expanded inclusion of relevant historical records. As a result, millions of pages of Jewish, African-American, and Native American genealogical records and historical newspapers have been digitized by ProQuest, Ancestry, and others.
“As researchers rely on libraries to provide access to new and unique primary source materials, as well as mentorship, ProQuest is dedicated to making historical and genealogical information more widely available to these scholars and patrons,” says Mr. Forsyth.
“In addition to databases and archives,” Mr. Forsyth adds, “we are committed to offering training and support to librarians to help them develop expertise in the field, and keep on top of trends and technology related to genealogy to better serve their patrons and communities.”
Since 2001, ProQuest has sponsored full-day genealogy workshops 4-5 times per year in various cities across the U.S. and Canada. These workshops have trained more than 4,000 librarians and archivists.
This month, ProQuest is sponsoring a full-day program at the upcoming American Library Association Annual Meeting in Orlando to help libraries leverage their holdings and services for genealogical research.
The company also sponsors a variety of awards that honor librarians for their significant contributions to family history research, including the annual NGS William P. Filby Award and the RUSA Genealogy/History Achievement Award.
For more than 15 years, ProQuest has provided many of the best genealogical databases to libraries around the world, including Ancestry Library Edition (named as “Best Genealogy” Reference Database by Library Journal for 2015), HeritageQuest Online, Fold3 Library Edition, ProQuest Obituaries, African American Heritage, Digital Sanborn Maps, Historic Mapworks Library Edition, and multiple historical newspaper products.