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HeritageQuest FAQs

HeritageQuest is a free genealogy database available through It can be accessed from any internet-enabled device with a current library card number.
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The resources available in HeritageQuest include the following:

  • Actual images of the 1790 – 1940 population census schedules.
  • Indexes for the censuses:
    • Note:  1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840 – These censuses gave only the names of the heads of households.
    • Note: 1890 – Most of this census was lost in a fire. HeritageQuest indexes every name on the few pages that remain.
  • Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920: view your state to see how counties changed over time.
  • A collection of over 28,000 books of local history, genealogy, and U.S. City Directories with full-page images.
    •         Click “Publications” to look for a specific book.
    •          Click “Search” to look for a name within the Books collection.
  • Revolutionary War pension records from the National Archives.
  • Records of the Freedman’s Bank (1865 – 1874).
  • US Congressional Serial Set, selected Congressional documents, 1789 – 1969: pensions, private relief actions, memorials, and petitions.
  • U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 contains over 94 million records of deceased persons with social security numbers.


Tips for Searching HeritageQuest


  • Searches are NOT case sensitive: you can type names entirely in lowercase (ignoring capitalization) and it will not affect your search results.
  • Each section has its own search screen. Follow the directions and examples for each one.
    • The Census
      • To read the Census frame by frame (just like reading the microfilm), use the Browse form on the right-hand side.
      • To search the census indexes, click Search.
    • Books
      • When searching the Books section for a particular title, don’t use “A”, “An”, or “The” at the beginning of the title.
        • Example: “Hamilton Family” NOT “The Hamilton Family”.
    • Freedman’s Bank
      • Lists account holders of all races, not just African Americans.
      • Indexes include the names of all family members mentioned, not just the account holder.
      • Searches have an option for Soundex (this is the only Soundex index in HeritageQuest).
    • US Serial Set
      • Use a place name or keyword to narrow a search.
      • You can search for a place name or keyword alone, or in combination.
        • Example: “North Carolina” + “textile".


Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: HeritageQuest FAQS
Revised: 3 January 2017

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