Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HeritageQuest Received Redesign and New Features Earlier this Month

HeritageQuest Website
HeritageQuest, the subscription website available to patrons while in Michigan libraries and at home through the Michigan Electronic Library, received a redesign and some new features earlier this month.

Just in case you do not recall, Michigan residents can access HeritageQuest from home through the Michigan Electronic Library [ ] website. The service is free for Michigan residents. Access to the site uses your Michigan Driver License/State Identification Card or participating Michigan Library Card. If you live in another state, check to see if your state has a similar arrangement.  

"The enhancements are a result of the expanded partnership and distribution agreement between ProQuest [the provider of HeritageQuest] and Ancestry announced last June [2014.]," according to a press release earlier this month.

Here is a overview of the changes and additions to the website.

HeritageQuest Website
Before HeritageQuest had limited search capabilities and its own version of the census page images. Now HeritageQuest is utilizing Ancestry's census images and search engine -- that means an every name index with the power of Exact, Soundex, Phonetic and Wildcard search capabilities. The site is also using the images scanned by now.

This is wonderful news for anyone who is a resident of Michigan (or another state with a similar agreement) and does not have a personal subscription to

The Family and Local History Publications collection has been added to and now includes city directories. The search engine for this collection has also been redesigned. The three categories, People, Publications and Directories, each present the user with different search parameters. In addition, users now receive a thumbnail image of the hit and hit terms are highlighted.

We thought we had heard that the US Revolutionary Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files were changing from the digitized images of the selected microfilming of the files to the complete microfilming of the files but this does not seem to be the case after further investigation. Evidence shows that this collection is still the selected files even though the collection description no longer indicates this. Also, the search index is still just an index of soldiers/pensioners with files and not an every name index.

There seems to be more search parameters to utilize for the Freedman's Bank collection on the updated website. The collection description does not clearly state if all surviving records have been added to this collection or if more are to come in the future.

The search engine to the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) collection has not been updated because this is now an archived collection. The information in this collection covers articles from the years 1800 to 2009. Categories to search under remain: People, Places, How To's and Periodicals.

To access PERSI covering the years after 2009 (or the complete PERSI from 1800 to present) you will need to see the subscription website FindMyPast which has the current agreement to host the online version of PERSI. If you don't have a FindMyPast subscription, you can use the portal services to access it (and other premium websites) while visiting a local Family History Center (FamilySearch Center) at a nearby LDS Church. The only cost would be for printouts or bring a USB drive with you to download any finds.

Also unchanged is the U.S. Serial Set which is used to find memorials, petitions and private relief actions of the U.S. Congress. It still uses the old HeritageQuest search engine.
HeritageQuest Website

A Research Aids collection and a Maps collection are the new features on HeritageQuest.

There are a variety of tips and guides in the Research Aids collection covering six major research areas: Getting Started, Census, Beyond the Basics, Immigration, Military and Ethnic. Expand your genealogy researching knowledge by learning something new.

HeritageQuest Website

The complete title of to the Maps collection is actually Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. These maps allow you to see boundary changes for individual states or the entire United States through the decades from 1790 to 1920.

We hope you find some time to investigate this website and make some finds for your research.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

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