Posted February 9, 2017 | 3:29 PM

Discover Hidden Gems at the Library

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Tracing your family history can be challenging. But one resource that can help you with your research is the library. At the Florida History & Genealogy Library located at the John F. Germany Public Library, visitors (remove will) have free access to one of the largest genealogy collections in the State which includes over 35,000 books, a vast collection of newspapers dating back to 1855, over 40,000 rolls of microfilm, online databases including Ancestry Library Edition, 15,000 images from the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection documenting Tampa's history from the late 1800s to the early 1960s, and more.

In addition, your public library offers monthly classes to help you learn how to begin your genealogical research and ways to make it easier. If you are new to researching your family history, you may want to attend one of these classes before you begin your research.

Here are some tips to help trace your family tree:

1. Develop an idea of what genealogical information you need.

2. Find out the types of records available at the library.


3. Be accurate and include source information in your family tree.

4. Take advantage of the free services offered at the library.

While visiting the library, you'll also discover other hidden gems in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection, such as the historic home of Solomon Maas, Platt Street Bridge, and Kennedy Street Bridge.

Slide the arrows on the picture to see before and after shots.

Maas Brothers' Home

Photo Information: Solomon Maas was the son of Abraham Maas, whose family started the Maas Brothers Store Chain. Maas Brothers was a leading Tampa department store founded by Abe and Isaac Maas in 1887. It grew from a small dry goods store to a chain of 39 stores across the state of Florida.

The Platt Street Bridge

Photo Information: Built in 1926, the Platt Street Bridge is the southernmost of the mechanically operated bridges spanning the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. Owned by Hillsborough County, the bridge is 518 feet long and consists of 10 arched concrete spans joined to a main span 103 feet in length.

Lafayette Street (Kennedy Boulevard) Bridge

Photo Information: Lafayette Street, along with portions of Grand Central Avenue and Memorial Highway, was renamed Kennedy Boulevard in December 1963, honoring President John F. Kennedy, who had visited Tampa just a few days before his death.

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