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Competences: 23 Things Reference - Thing #12

Why Genealogy?

Genealogy is the study of one's family ties.  It is all about finding our ancestors and how they tie to us.  Genealogical research can require a lot of resources and effort.  Unfortunately, we do not offer a lot of resources for family history and genealogy.

The best local resources for genealogy are the historical societies.  Each of the following have extensive archives and staff that is trained to use them.

Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley County's Historical Society

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society is the world's largest genealogical orgaization and provides access to many digitized records.  It is free to search for family records, including the US Census.  FamilySearch is created and run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormons).

Local History LibGuide

The Ephrata Public Library Local History LibGuide has sources of newspapers, databases, vital records, and ebooks all gathered into one place.

Heritage Quest

HeritageQuest is our genealogical database.  The primary tools it contains are the US Census (1790-1940) and a searchable collection of local and family history sources.

To Access HeritageQuest:

1) Go directly to or click on the POWER LIbrary link at the bottom of our homepage (

2) Enter your Library Card number in the box at the top and click on the GO TO ONLINE RESOURCES button

3) The select the database you wish to use from the menu by clicking on the icon to the left of each database description.  HeritageQuest is in the middle of this list.

HeritageQuest Search Tutorials


Answer the following questions about genealogical reference.  Your answers should be sent as an email attachment to

1) Use HeritageQuest to find the Census record for any US President at anytime during their lifetime.  Use the URL or web address as your answer.

2) A patron has a question about a deceased relative.  Use Find-A-Grave to find the record for Maria J McEvoy Ranck.  Use her date of death as your answer.

Reference Question for Thing 13

A patron needs repair instructions for his 2000 Ford F-150 pickup (engine type - V6; liters - 4.2).  He is looking for insturctions on how to remove the transmission.  Email the instructions to and include what resource you used to find the information.