Getting Started with Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition logo

Ancestry Library Edition is a database of genealogical records and resources.   It includes vital records (birth, marriage and death), census records, church records, immigration records (birth/death registrations), land and tax records, wills, selected military records, voting lists, and much more.   In addition to the substantial collection of U.S. and Canadian records, it also includes UK and other international records.

The information you will be able to find will vary depending on where and when your ancestors lived, whether or not Ancestry has collected the relevant record collections and if the individual records survived long enough to be preserved. 

How to Access Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is available in library branches only. Access Ancestry Library on a library computer or when signed into the library's wireless network on a personal device.   Access to this online service from outside library branches is not permitted.

Search for Ancestry Library Edition on and select the name or logo to open TPL's Ancestry Library Edition webpage or find Ancestry Library Edition in the A to Z List of Databases

Select the Only available in library branches button. 

image of Ancestry Library Edition on the A to Z list of databases

To perform a general search

You perform a general search on Ancestry when you do not specify any one particular record set to search on. Let’s use a general search to find information about the Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

  • Click on the green button Begin Searching.
  • In the search boxes for First & Middle Name(s) and Last Name, type in “Lucy Maud” “Montgomery.”
  • In the search box for Place your ancestor might have lived, type in “Prince Edward Island”
  • In the search box for Birth Year, type in “1874”
  • Click on the Search button.

Search box

Our search gave us over 200,000 results. Not all of them pertain to the person we are looking for.  There are several census records for Lucy Maud Montgomery on the first results page. 

Record abstract - includes name, gender, racial or tribal origin, nationality, marital status, age, and birth date

  • Hover your mouse over the blue link to each record, you can see an abstract of the information the record contains.
  • To see a record, click on See More on the abstract or click on the blue link and then click on View. A digital copy of an original document will open.
  1. You can use the slider on the right-hand side of the document to control the image size
  2. Show Filmstrip icon will show all the filmstrips for this record
  3. Show Index lists other people in this record
  4. Left arrow gives the details, related records, and Source information
  5. Gear icon allows you to print, download or set the orientation of the image to print.

Navigation Features


To Print

  • Click the Gear icon and click Print to select Print entire image or Print zoomed view . You can select Also print index and source data.


To Save

  • Click the Save button at the top right to Send image home – where you provide your email and access the image when you are at home OR Save to this computer – where you can Save as to a usb. 


To start a new search, click on the Ancestry library logo and then Begin Searching.

Related resources

If you’re interested in genealogical research, you may also want to check out these other online resources:


For more information or for help, visit the Humanities and Social Sciences Department of the Toronto Reference Library or contact our Answerline service.



Updated September 26, 2023