Top 10 Public Libraries Worthy of a Genealogy Road Trip

By Rick Crume Premium

Family history probably wasn’t on Andrew Carnegie’s mind when he championed the creation of public libraries. Neither were road trips, probably. But today, the local library system he helped create provides the means for millions of people to trace their family trees. Here are the top 10 worthy of a genealogy road trip.


1. Allen County Public Library

    2. Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

      3. Birmingham Public Library 

        5. Denver Public Library 

          6. Detroit Public Library

                  4. Dallas Public Library

                          7. Los Angeles Public Library

                            8. Mid-Continent Public Library

                              9. The New York Public Library

                                10. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

                                  Many public libraries now have dedicated genealogy or local history collections, making them an essential destination for every roots researcher. There you’ll find not only books, but also rare manuscripts, genealogical journals, census records all full of valuable information you won’t find on the Internet.

                                  Some of those local libraries have gone above and beyond to develop incredible family history collections that draw genealogists from well outside their neighborhoods. The Allen County Public Library’s genealogy collection has garnered a national reputation and attracts more than 100,000 researchers from across the country each year.

                                  But which other public libraries should you try hardest to work into your travel plans? In an effort to identify the 10 best public libraries for genealogists, we weighed factors such as collection size, census records, special collections, accessibility, geographic coverage, special collections and services.

                                  A version of this article appeared in the October 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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