GenealogyBank and Digital Sanborn Maps – New Additions to Dallas Public Library’s Resources

Dallas Public Library has added these two databases of interest to family history researchers to the Databases collection on its web site.


GenealogyBank, a resource from NewsBank, Inc. is a database comprised of the following collections:

  • Historical Newspapers (1690 – 1999) is a newspaper archive that features over 1000 titles covering 320 years of fully-searchable historical newspapers printed in small towns and big cities throughout the U.S.  Find old newspaper articles, obituaries, birth, and marriage records, sports articles and stats, photographs, advertisements, and more.
  • Historical Books (1749 – 1900) provides the complete text of more than 11,700 books, pamphlets and printed items including: genealogies, biographies, funeral sermons, local histories, cards, charts and more.
  • Historical Documents (1789 – 1994) includes military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants, and other interesting historical documentation. Two of the prominent titles in this collection are the “American State Papers” and the “US Congressional Serial Set”.
  • America’s Obituaries (1977 – Current) often provides ancestor names, dates, birthplaces, marriage info, death records, and other relevant family history information.
  • Social Security Death Index (1937 – Current) contains more than 92 million death records for individuals with US Social Security numbers.

If you live within the city of Dallas and have a DPL library card, you can connect to GenealogyBank from home via their web site:  Click on the Databases tab on the home page, then scroll down to “NewsBank Online Service”, then choose “America’s GenealogyBank” from the list.  If you don’t have a library card, you can still access these databases via the public computers available at all Dallas Public Library locations:



The Dallas Public Library has also expanded its geographic coverage of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  For some time, the digitized maps that provide detailed property and land-use records maps have been available for Texas cities and towns.  Now you can access maps for more than 12,000 U.S. towns and cities.  The maps cover the time period from the mid-1860s to 1970 and depict the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of these towns and cities. From the Library of Congress web site – “the maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers”.

Like GenealogyBank, the Sanborn Maps can be accessed in two ways – from home, if you live within the Dallas city limits and have a DPL Library card, or from the public computers at any DPL physical location.  From the Databases tab on the Library’s home page, scroll down to “Texas Digital Sanborn Maps”.  The title of the database link has not yet been updated to reflect the new geographic coverage.


This entry was posted in News & Views and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.