The Leesburg Public Library maintains a genealogy collection of nearly 6,000 print sources, over 1,000 data CDs, and subscriptions to many genealogical magazines and journals. Resources range from guides for the beginning genealogist to in-depth sources for the experienced genealogy researcher. New items are being purchased for the collection monthly. The Library owns over 900 reels of microfilm including the archival collection of past issues of the Leesburg newspaper – some back to the 1890s. As a Family History Affiliate Library since June 2010, the Library also enables patrons to view microfilm borrowed from the vast collection of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Films may be viewed on the new ScanPro 3000 digital microfilm reader/scanner which enables images to be enhanced, printed, saved to a flash drive, or e-mailed.
A number of outstanding online databases are available to Library users for genealogy research. Within the Library patrons have access to Ancestry Library Edition and American Ancestors (formerly New England Ancestors). Access is available from home or any computer with a Leesburg Public Library card to Fold3 and HeritageQuest.
The Library also receives donations of materials from individuals and from local genealogical and lineage groups, including the Kinseekers of Lake County, the Villages Genealogical Society, the Bertha Hereford Hall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mercy Hurd Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames, the Land of Lakes Chapter of the Daughters of 1812, and the Confederate Gray Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Many of the groups hold their meetings at the library, and a library liaison attends most meetings.
The Genealogy Department includes a file of obituaries which have appeared in local newspapers since the early 1980s. Earlier obituaries may be viewed on the library’s collection of microfilm for the Leesburg Daily Commercial. Another file in the Genealogy Department, Project Collect, indexes public records, cemetery records, and other information on early residents of the Leesburg area. The collection includes sources for all states, all Florida counties, and many foreign countries, as well as Passenger and Immigration Indexes, Patriot Indexes, and local cemetery transcriptions.
A reference librarian is available at all hours the library is open. Appointments may be scheduled with an Adult Services Librarian for genealogy assistance.
Who Uses the Genealogy Department?
Many local residents and winter residents use the resources and support services of the Genealogy Department to further their research into their own family genealogy. Visitors often stop in Leesburg on their travels to gather information about their relatives who have lived in the area. Genealogy groups from other areas schedule visits to use our resources. Spouses, children, grandchildren, and other relatives come to obtain a copy of a published obituary. Beginning genealogy researchers come to get started, to ask for assistance, or to learn what resources we have available to them. Individuals who want to write a family history or create a family scrapbook come for information, suggestions, and support. Many senior citizens have reached the point where they want to learn more about their heritage and how to pass that on to their descendants; they use our Library as a starting point and return frequently to further their research.