So what's the big deal with online ancestry websites? Excellent question!
Websites such as Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and FamilySearch.org provide a large amount of records that are KEYWORD SEARCHABLE. That means instead of traveling to different archives and libraries just to drudge through a bunch of indexes that may or may not include your family, you have the opportunity to sit at your local library and have the online resources do the drudge work for you!
American Ancestors Index
The New England Historic Genealogical Society's online collection of over 2,200 family research databases which currently contain access to over 110 million names.
The library offers patrons access to Ancestry.com library edition for free. Use your library card number and PIN to access this database on our computers or bring your device to access it over the library Wi-Fi. Records available through Ancestry include census records, family trees compiled by other users, immigration records and more. This database is not available to at home users.
This website contains military records going back generations and is a valuable tool in tracing your ancestors who served in the military. Records available include Civil War service records, Revolutionary War service records, World War I and World War II service records, and military pension records. This database is available from home with a valid library card and PIN.
This free website is a good resource for additional information regarding marriages, deaths, and births. Some actual certificates are also available here.
This free website allows you to search state and cities where bureau offices where located. Records can list name, vital dates, spouse and children, and possibly the plantation the where a person was enslaved. Details and available online records will vary from state to state.