Many people who visit The Genealogy Center are pleased to learn that they can have free access to Ancestry.com and other subscription-based genealogy databases while they are onsite at the library.
However, if you have a personal subscription to Ancestry.com, you should be aware that while at The Genealogy Center, you will not be able to access your own Ancestry account using the library’s computers or wifi connection. Because of the way the library’s network is configured, when someone opens Ancestry at one of The Genealogy Center’s public access computers, or on a laptop using ACPL wifi, the network automatically recognizes that ACPL has an Ancestry subscription and logs the user into that subscription. This is convenient in that you don’t have to type in a user name and password, but not so convenient if you have material in your own Ancestry account that you would like to see!
If you use your Ancestry account to store your genealogical data, images of documents and other family history material that you will want to access during your visit, you may want to make printouts of this information and bring them along for reference.
There are two ways that some patrons have found successful to use their own Ancestry accounts from a laptop computer at The Genealogy Center: Logging in elsewhere, or using an aircard (portable wireless broadband modem). If you are staying at a local hotel in the downtown area that has wireless Internet, you may be able to log into your own Ancestry account at the hotel and remain logged in as you bring your computer into the library. (You could also go to a nearby Starbucks, McDonald’s or other location with Internet access to try this if you are here on a day trip.) Also, if you have an aircard that allows you to bypass the library’s wifi to access the Internet, you should be able to log into your own Ancestry account by using your aircard.
You may not “have to know what you are looking for,” but it’s nice to be able to access it once you have found it!