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Genealogy Connect: Your Resource for Electronic Family History Books

Joy Oria
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Delve into family history with the help of these books on geneaology.

A great activity while staying at home is researching family history. With a wealth of information easily accessible online, people are discovering their genealogy through popular websites like or (available here). But genealogy can also be found in books. Whether or not you’re able to visit a library in person, you can now access many books electronically. 

Genealogy Connect is your resource for electronic family history books. As a free database provided to Houston Public Library MyLink card holders, it gives access to 286 genealogy books on topics like immigration, European genealogy, and standard reference works. 

You can look up the origins of your surname with books like American Surnames, Hispanic Surnames and Family History, German-American Names, and Our Italian Surnames. While some names have obvious meanings, like Gardner as a man who tended gardens, other names have less overt origins. Descent from Ireland’s royal poet, Rioghbhardan, produced the family names Reardon and Riordan.

Those with English immigrant ancestors of yore may wish to browse The Complete Book of Emigrants, which lists those who not only left England in the 17th and 18th centuries for political or religious reasons, but also those who were deported for “vagrancy, roguery, or non-conformity.”

If your family roots include Quaker ancestors, look for them in the seminal Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by William Hinshaw, and rejoice at the Quakers’ meticulous record keeping.

These books and many more are easy to use with features such as a search function, audio accessibility, and font size manipulation. Users can also download and save books, as well as add highlights and make notes to text.

Get your Houston Public Library MyLink card here to access Genealogy Connect,, and other genealogy databases. Contact the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research / Houston Public Library with your questions by phone at 832-393-2600 or by email at [email protected].

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