An Introduction to Genealogy Resources
What one librarian found useful in her search for her family history:
- Family Search
- Illinois State Archives
- RootsWeb Boards
- Cook County Genealogy
- National Archives
- Cindi’s List
Early on, I assumed everyone came through Ellis Island, but that’s far from true. Only one of my relatives came through Ellis Island. It took forever to find my Swedish grandfather because he came through Canada, and took the train into the USA.
I found the following very helpful:
- German - English Genealogical Dictionary by Ernest Thode Foreign Language dictionaries are valuable (my background is Germanic -German, Dutch, Swedish)
- Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginners Guide To Family History In The City Of Chicago by Grace DuMelle
- The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood
- Your Guide to Cemetery Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmak
- Heritage Quest in invaluable for its census records, but that’s just the beginning. You may find great-great - great grandpa’s will, and a list of the children he left behind. You may find Revolutionary War records in the original handwriting. You can check Persi for articles that may lead you to new clues. I’ve found records that go back to the mid 1700’s! One clue leads to the next.
- Ancestry is another database that is an absolute must. It’s thrilling to find your ancestors in old documents. Someone else might have done a family history, and you may find it here. Looking for birth or death records? Check Ancestry. And don’t forget to check the message boards. They can be one of your most interesting resources. Put your message out there and someone from Germany may have had access old church records dating from hundreds of years ago – records that you would never see otherwise. Note: Ancestry can only be used in the Library.
Just remember a few things: in the scheme of things, spelling names correctly or consistently was not overly important to our ancestors. Think of every possible way that a name could be spelled, and check them all.
And remember that borders changed frequently. Think great -great grandpa was born in Germany? Some areas of Germany changed hands with Poland and back again a number of times.
Genealogy is an adventure!
A Girl Scout troop used some of the resources we outlined above when working on their "My Family Story"
badge. They have found an additional web resource that they found helpful that they wanted to share: