©2022 Donald R. Snow -- This page last updated 2022-01-23

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ABSTRACT:  HeritageQuest Online (HQO) is a website that is free through libraries by using your public library card bar code.  It has many family history resources and you can use it at home
or at Family History Centers for free.  This class is Part 4 of a series and deals with their city directories and death records.  City directories are like telephone books without the phone numbers.  The death records on HQO include the Social Security Death Index and a link to FinaAGrace.  There are many miscellaneous death record collections and a few newspapers with obituaries.  Other classes in this series have dealt with family history books, U.S. Revolutionary War records, and U.S. and Canada censuses.  The notes for the class, with active links and related articles, are posted on my website  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( snowd@math.byu.edu ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes for this class with active URLs, as well as additional information in other notes and articles, are posted at http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  What city directories and death records does HQO have and how do you use them?

  6. HeritageQuest Online is a website that libraries can subscribe to for their patrons to use at home through their public library card bar codes. 
  7. The notes for Part 1 of this series on my website (link above) have links for Utah state-wide public library card holders to use HQO  https://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/heritagequest-online/ . This site now uses OpenAthens to store your library card bar code and password to get you in.
  8. HQO is also available in Family History Centers via the Portal.


  9. City directories are like telephone books without the phone numbers; they list the surnames and spouse of the resident at each address and usually something about them; businesses, churches, cemeteries, and more also listed.
  10. The HQO City Directories collection contains directories from 1821-1989; other websites contain many other city directories.
  11. To get to the HQO collection click the link "City Directories" in the middle of the HQO home page, then the City Directories words on the Books page; or go there directly from the Search icon (upper left corner) and the Search City Directories icon,
  12. As usually helps in searches, start with minimal information and add more to narrow down the search - we will illustrate this in class with examples
  13. To save a copy of a page you want, do a screenshot or click Print and print the page to pdf or hardcopy.
  14. It helps to write the full title of the file so you know what it is and it sorts where it belongs, e.g. my system: SnowEldonStafford(1891-1954)-1924-00-00-BOOK-CITYDIRECTORY-LosAngelesCalifornia-Page2091-HeritageQuestOnline-2022-01-22.pdf

  16. HQO has a few newspapers with obituaries, but very few
  17. The newspapers are in the Books section; search there for "newspaper".

  19. HQO is one of the few websites that still has the Social Security Death Index.
  20. Many politicians think the SSDI makes identity theft easier, so they won't allow it online; actually, the reverse is true; with it online people can check that a SS number belongs to someone who is dead, so they know it's a scam.
  21. Remember that to be listed on the SSDI, the person had to have had a SS number, be deceased, and someone must have requested their SS benefits; the SSDI on HQO is from 1935-2014.
  22. To get to the SSDI on HQO click on the Search icon (upper left corner) > Search Social Security Death Index.
  23. The SSDI is easy to check, but as uaual, start small and add more data to narrow down the search.

  25. Besides the SSDI discussed above, HQO has many vital records, including death records, from states - click on Search (upper left corner), scroll to the bottom, click "More U.S. Records" and do a CTRL-F search (= Find on most browsers) for the state you wamt, e.g. "California".  I found my Dad's death certificate in the California Physicians Death Records, but I had to search by death date, since they weren't indexed.
  26. HQO has a link to FIND A GRAVE and those searches are helpful - go to Search Cemeteries on the Search page

  28. HQO is free with your public library card bar code and at FHCs and has many helpful databases.
  29. This class has dealt with the HQO City Directories collection and death records, including the Social Security Death Index and many state vital records collections.
  30. Several of these topics could take an entire class, so it's worthwhile to remember that HQO has these records.
  31. Other classes will discuss additional family history databases on HQO.