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Research Guides

Genealogy Research


Genealogists create a foundation for documentary research, which involves examining and evaluating historical records for evidence about ancestors and other relatives, their kinship ties, and the events that occurred in their lives. As a rule, genealogists begin with the present and work backward in time. Historical, social, and family context is essential to achieving correct identification of individuals and relationships. Source citation is also important when conducting genealogical research.

Key Resources

Forms - Find over 400 blank forms used for genealogical research.


Checklist - Use this checklist to guide your genealogy research--

□ What information do you already have?

□ Have you verified it?

    1. Names, be flexible with spelling         
    2. Places                                     
    3. Approximate dates
    4. Relationships

□ What do you want to know? 

□ Where can you find it?

□ Handbooks and Printed Materials include genealogy how-to books, general histories and items from a library’s vertical and pamphlet files.

□ Gazetteers, atlases, place name dictionaries provide visual and historical clues to the geographical area, the ‘where’ of your search.  The details also add interest to our family stories. 

□ Maps provide details of areas, roads and physical features. 

□ Compiled state and local histories give more information about historical events and places. Local and regional libraries will have copies of histories that pertain to their areas, and many of the research libraries will have microfilmed copies of the histories.

□ Compiled biographies and family genealogies are the ‘who’ of your roots search, check for both printed and microfiche formats. 

□ Community Directories were printed before telephone books.  These provide a great deal of information about the community, as well as names, address and occupations of the local citizens.  These can be found in local libraries, on microfilm, as well as on and

□ Guides, Indexes and Lists provide access to information, for example: guides to archives and historical societies, inventories of records, the DAR’s Patriot index, Glazier and Filby’s immigrant and passenger lists. 

□ Newspapers provide a look at local happenings, and usually include marriage, birth, death and funeral notices. 

□ Periodicals and Genealogy newsletters are published by local and national genealogical organizations.  Their value is in the immediacy, accuracy and originality of the information, which has been peer reviewed and well documented. 

□ Government Documents (State and Federal) can be a source of how-to information, as well as provide descriptions of collections.  Access them online or at academic libraries.

□ E-Books. Libraries are beginning to subscribe to electronic book services; one advantage to genealogy researchers is immediate full text access.

□ Interlibrary Loan is a great source; materials are available in print or microform.

□ Online Resources and Links include free sources, commercial services, family sponsored websites, library digital collections, historical societies and government databases.