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A brief guide to genealogical resources in the University of Virginia Library.


Please note
This guide is a much abridged version of Jean Cooper's Virginia Genealogy: a Guide to Resources in the University of Virginia Library

  • Suggestions on how to begin
    Beginning Genealogy (Slide Show by Jean Cooper) and How To Begin Tracing Your Family Tree
  • Basic Resources (by subscription)
    The University Library does not have a subscription to, but some of the pages in are free. In particular, there are free copies of charts and forms used in doing genealogical research which may be found here:
 is a subscription service that offers many useful resources for the budding genealogist. Personal subscriptions are available for a month, for six months, and for a year.
    In addition, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in central Virginia currently has a subscription to Ancestry Library Edition, which may be used only at one of their library branches.

    Cyndi's List (free)
    ( Created by Cyndi Howells, Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites on the Internet is the original and most comprehensive index to websites pertaining to genealogy. It is updated daily. 

    HeritageQuest Online (by subscription)
    Available only from U.Va. locations. ( This database is available to patrons of many public libraries across the state of Virginia. The database contains searchable access to the complete 1790-1940 U.S. Census, Periodicals Source Index (PERSI), Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Freedman's Bank Records, and ProQuest's Genealogy & Local History Collection of 25,000+ family and local history books. (Online guide to using HeritageQuestOnline:

  • Tips

    Plan your research ahead of time. What are the questions you wish to answer in this research session? What resources have you identified in the University Library that are important to your research on this visit? Have a plan to make the most of your time in the library.

    Create a "research log" whenever you are in a library doing research. In that log, write down what you are looking for, what sources you have used, and what you have found in them. Include a map of the U.S., and a picture of each state your ancestors lived in, with each county designated. Carry other necessary materials in your research notebook, such as what information was recorded in each census year, how to apply Soundex codes, ahnentafel charts, lists of alternate spellings of your ancestor's names, and copies of forms.