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Log into the St. Louis County Library website,, and click on “Genealogy & Local History”.

Click on “Databases & Websites” in the Genealogy and History section on the far left of the page.

Click on the HeritageQuest Online link. This will take you to a large database that has Revolutionary War pension files, census records, and many books containing family and local histories. This is truly an amazing site. With a bit of luck you might find nearly all of the documentation you need to link yourself with your patriot ancestor. Best of all, it is free to access. All you need is a St. Louis County Library card.

Just enter your last name, card number and PIN. If you don’t have a PIN just use 1234.

Here it is. Census records from 1790-1930 are available with the exception of 1830, 1840, and 1850. You will be viewing the actual handwritten sheet filled out by the census-taker.

Books allows you to search for people and places. You can search for a specific person, a last name, or even search for a specific place. All of the books have been microfilmed so you can view the entire book, not just the page that contains what you were searching for. You can print or save to your computer as a PDF.

PERSI is almost the same thing for magazine and journal articles. The actual article is not available for viewing but a link is provided that allows you to order a copy of the article for a fee.

Revolutionary War contains pension files. The entire file is not available for viewing but the portions of the file that contain information about the soldier’s service and family usually are. These can be printed or downloaded to your computer.

Just entering random information. Looking for a pension for John Smith from Virginia. Enter as much information as you have.

23 results. Just start clicking and see which one is the one you are seeking.

Census works just like pension search. Entire what you know. The more the better your results.

Just click on the one you want to view the actual worksheet completed by the census-taker.

This works just like the others. Click on the one that you want and then enter as much information as you have. Of all the items on HeritageQuest Online, I find this one to be the most useful. You will truly be amazed at everything that you can find.

Another tool of the online genealogist in Cyndi’s List (

Cyndi's List has been a trusted genealogy research site for more than 15 years. Cyndi's List is free for everyone to use and it is meant to be your starting point when researching online. 

 What exactly is Cyndi's List?

  • A categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
  • A list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online.
  • A free jumping-off point for you to use in your online research.
  • A "card catalog" to the genealogical collection in the immense library that is the Internet.
  • Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet.

Whenever you are beginning a search and aren’t quite sure where to begin, this is a great place to start.

Another excellent resource are the Family History Centers operated by the LDS church. Genealogy is like a sacrament for a Mormon. Mormon theology hold that salvation is available to you even after you die through a baptism by proxy. A living member of the LDS church will be baptized in your place, granting you salvation and sealing you for all eternity with your extended family. Because of this belief, all “good” Mormons are genealogists to some degree. Although some shoddy work was accepted many years ago, today the church will not engage in these rituals unless the research meets high standards of proof. The family history centers are open to the public and contain a wide variety of records that vary from location to location. Anyone can request via interlibrary loan materials from the main library in Salt Lake City. There may be additional charges for nonchurch members, but these are nominal.

An often overlooked source of information about your patriot ancestor are re-enactment groups. I am researching an ancestor that served in Lamb’s Artillery. In an effort to learn more about the duties, uniform, and anything else possible about my ancestor, I contacted a group that portrays Lamb’s Artillery. They were very helpful in telling me about the uniform my ancestor may have worn as well as his typical duties. They even found his name on some rosters and were able to tell me some of the places he was stationed.