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Family Research at DPLA

Family Research at DPLA

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a free national digital library that provides access to millions of materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the US.

(That’s right – DPLA is totally free to use and open to all – no library card, subscription, or sign-up required!)

DPLA’s vast and growing collections offer a unique research resource for family historians and genealogists. You may be interested in searching for family names in DPLA, but don’t stop there. DPLA also offers the opportunity to dig deeper and add context to the lives of our ancestors, exploring questions such as:

Explore below for resources on how to get started with family research in DPLA as well as collection highlights such as yearbooks, letters, newspapers, military records, family Bibles and more!

Getting Started

In this hour-long workshop webinar offered in July 2016, DPLA Community Reps and experienced genealogists Tamika Maddox Strong and Amy Johnson Crow introduce DPLA as a resource for family historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in learning about new research skills and cool collections in DPLA. To access slides and supplementary materials for this session, visit the workshops page.

For search tips, visit Searching DPLA or Tutorial Videos.

Collection Highlights

Stay Connected

Join our Genealogy and Family History email list or follow us on social media.

We would love to connect with you about genealogy outreach opportunities! Email us at education@dp.la about getting DPLA swag to distribute to family researchers or working with DPLA staff to plan or present at genealogy events.


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DPLA Workshop: DPLA for Genealogy and Family History, July 26, 2016 at 3:00pm EDT
July 6, 2016

DPLA Workshop: DPLA for Genealogy and Family History, July 26, 2016 at 3:00pm EDT

We’re pleased to invite our extended community to attend a free DPLA workshop webinar — Using DPLA for Genealogy and Family Research, taking place on July 26, 2016 at 3:00pm EST.

DPLA and FamilySearch Partner to Expand Access to Digitized Historical Books Online
June 22, 2016

DPLA and FamilySearch Partner to Expand Access to Digitized Historical Books Online

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, have signed an agreement that will expand access to FamilySearch.org’s growing free digital historical book collection to DPLA’s broad audience of users including genealogists, researchers, family historians, students, and more.

RootsTech Wrap Up
February 16, 2016

RootsTech Wrap Up

We love connecting with new audiences and were thrilled to have the opportunity to touch base with genealogists and family researchers at RootsTech 2016 to chat about their needs, interests, and questions about what DPLA has to offer.

Family Bible records as genealogical resources
February 19, 2015

Family Bible records as genealogical resources

Interested in using DPLA to do family research, but aren’t sure where to start? Consider the family Bible. There are two large family Bible collections in DPLA—over 2,100 (transcribed) from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and another 90 from the South Carolina Digital Library. They’re filled with rich information about family connections and provide insight into how people of the American South lived and died during the—mainly—18th and 19th centuries.

Finding family information through DPLA
July 15, 2014

Finding family information through DPLA

This is the sixth guest post in our Community Reps series which explores individual community reps and the work they are doing with DPLA.

Retired Director of Historical Services  for the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, New York and Community Rep Larry Naukam explains how DPLA offers new opportunities to family researchers as a growing number of small institutions making content available online.