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HeritageQuest Online: Serial Set

HeritageQuest Online is now powered by Ancestry.com! This guide will provide insight into the content, features, and functionality of HeritageQuest Online.

You Should Know...

The page images found in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set are PDF documents. We are currently working in partnership with Ancestry.com to transition these documents and the accompanying index records to the NEW HeritageQuest Online search platform. Until this project is complete (don't worry, we'll make announcements...), the "Search Now" link found on the Home page will redirect to the legacy HeritageQuest Online Serial Set search forms and results displays.  

About U.S. Congressional Serial Set records

The Serial Set collection contains unique materials published in “serial” form from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as select committees, commissions, and government bureaus.

  • Over 100,000 hand-selected sources from private relief actions and memorial petitions with genealogical significance.
  • Covers 1789-1969, which includes documents from the predecessor to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, the American State Papers.
  • More information can be found here.

HQO SerialSet

Search Tips

  • Given name and surname are entered into a single search field.
  • Boolean operators are supported in the Keyword field only.
  • Wildcard and truncation symbols are supported.
  • Use "double quotation marks" in the Keywords query box to indicate two or more word phrases (e.g., "civil rights" or "John F. Kennedy").
  • Date Ranges should be entered more broadly than just the date an event occurred or a request was submitted… WHY? Congress is not, and was not, always in session to address issues.

Sample Searches

1. Search on name:  Cobb Nichols. The documents retrieved will describe how Nichols’ land became an island after the Corps of Engineers constructed a canal on nearby property.

2. Search for a Keyword phrase:  “women’s suffrage” to find a variety of documents regarding the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

3. Search on name:  Lewis Armstrong, and select the 16th result ("Memorial on counting vote of people of Louisiana for the appointment of presidential electors, November 7, 1876"; SERIAL-SET-ID: 1723 S.misdoc.14).  This document features multiple authors, many sections, and a variety of tables.  If you click on "1 hits" (to the left of Section 6), you will be taken to page 285 of the Serial Set document that includes a statement given by Mr. Lewis Armstrong regarding whom he voted for and why: "I did this because I had put my money in the Freedmen's Bank in Natchez ($290) which I have never been able to get again…".

Interpreting Serial Set IDs

Each document in the Serial Set is assigned a unique identifier, which is displayed as part of the citation information for each document in the result list.  The identifier is made up of four distinct parts: Volume number, Organization indicator, Document type, and Document type number.

Examples:

1. Keyword search for "Ute Indians" provides this example:

"Removal of Jicarilla Apache and Ute Indians to their reservation"  Serial Set ID:  1648 H.exdoc.138

1648 defines the volume number

- H indicates this is a House of Representatives record

- exdoc defines this as an Executive Document (in this case a document communicated from the Department of the Interior to the House of Representatives)

- 138 indicates that this is the one hundred and thirty-eighth such document for that Congress (in this case the 43rd Congress)

2. Keyword search for "national park" provides the following example:

"Memorial of legislature of Territory of Montana on boundaries of Yellowstone National Park"  Serial Set ID:  2170 S.misdoc.31

- 2170 defines the volume number

- S indicates this is a Senate record

- misdoc defines this as Miscellaneous Document of the Senate

-  31 indicates that this is the thirty-first such document for this Congress

3. A search for Place: Philadelphia  Keyword: 1790 provides the following example:

"In favor of increase of duties on imports, petition of citizens of Alleghany county, Pennsylvania"  Serial Set ID:  ASP013 Fin.814

- ASP defines this as being from the American State Papers collection

- 013 indicates the volume number

- Fin defines this as a Finances document

- 814 indicates that this is the eight hundred and fourteenth such document in the APS series

4. A person name search for Hensley, Samuel J provides the following example:

"Hensley, Samuel J."  Serial Set ID:  1021 CC.rp.189

- 1021 defines the volume number

- CC indicates that this is a Court of Claims record

- rp defines this as a Report

- 189 indicates that this is the one hundred and eighty-ninth such report

5. A search for Place: North Carolina  Keyword: reservation provides the following example:

"Indian lands in North Carolina; claim and petition of land owners in Tennessee"  Serial Set ID:  ASP07 Ind.aff.75

- ASP defines this as an American State Papers document

- 07 indicates the volume number

- Ind.aff defines this as a Bureau of Indian Affairs record

- 75 indicates that this is the seventy-fifth such document in the APS series